The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) said on 6 August that it had completed hot functional testing at unit 2 of the Barakah NPP in the United Arab Emirates. Enec said it worked closely with Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), which is leading the consortium building the four-unit plant. The tests, which were conducted in the presence of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), last several weeks. They consist of some 200 individual and integrated tests performed on major systems to check their performance under normal operational conditions, but without nuclear fuel in the reactor. Enec said it was incorporating “all lessons learned from the same test on unit 1”. The reactor’s systems were submitted to an operational temperature of nearly 300°C, and operational pressure of more than 150kg per cm2. The turbine rotated at its maximum speed of 1,500rpm.

Enec said all four units are “progressing safely and steadily”, with the overall construction rate standing at more than 89% as of June 2018. Construction of unit 1 began in July 2012, unit 2 in May 2013, unit 3 in September 2014 and unit 4 in September 2015. Unit 1 has been handed over to the Nawah Energy Company for preparation for operation, pending regulatory approval. Nawah said in May that start-up is expected between the end of 2019 and early 2020. The UAE Department of Energy issued an electricity generation licence for Barakah in June, but unit 1 needs operating licence from FANR before fuel loading can begin. Four Korean-designed APR-1400 units are being built at the $19bn Barakah project, in the Dhafrah region of Abu Dhabi.