IAEA sees strengthened operational safety at UAE’s Barakah NPP

14 September 2022

An IAEA Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) has concluded a five-day follow up mission to UAE’s Barakah NPP. The mission, which focused on unit 1 of the plant, was carried out at the request of the UAE government to evaluate progress in addressing the findings of the IAEA’s pre-OSART mission that took place in 2017. IAEA said the operator of the Barakah NPP, the first NPP in the Arab region, had strengthened operational safety by fully addressing the findings of the earlier safety review mission. In order to ensure continuous enhancements, the team encouraged the plant to continue to use the IAEA’s nuclear safety review services.

The plant, owned by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec), is located in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi. Two 1,400MWe pressurised water reactors have been operational since 2020 and 2021. The third unit is due to start in coming months, with all four units scheduled to be online by 2025. The operator is Nawah Energy Company, a joint venture between Enec and Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco), the prime contractor for the Barakah plant.

The five-member OSART team comprised experts from Finland, Hungary and the UK, and two IAEA officials.

IAEA Director of the Division of Nuclear Installation Safety, Anna Hajduk Bradford, said “We are glad to witness the improvement that has been made using the OSART mission service. We will encourage the Barakah NPP to continue to take full advantage of the IAEA review service and support in the future.”

Kari Maekelae, mission team leader and Senior Safety Officer at the IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security said: “The plant has completed corrective actions to address all of the findings of the mission in 2017. We are pleased to observe significant improvement. The team encourages the plant to continue to apply the relevant corrective actions to Unit 4, which is currently under construction.”

The team observed that all findings from the 2017 review were resolved including:

  • The plant has enhanced the effectiveness of its management in-field programme.
  • The plant has improved its operating experience programme.
  • The plant has established a comprehensive accident management programme and demonstrated the capability of the mobile equipment under simulated severe accident conditions.

Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Enec Managing Director and CEO said: “We thoroughly analysed the findings of the IAEA’s Pre-OSART Mission in 2017 and developed a comprehensive action plan to address these findings in advance of the start of operations back in 2020. We are pleased that the IAEA OSART team has identified that all of the findings identified back in 2017 have been successfully resolved, moving our operational safety performance to a new level, which we will further build on as part of our commitment to continuous improvement in nuclear safety.”

The team provided a draft report of the mission to the plant management. They will have the opportunity to make factual comments on the draft. These comments will be reviewed by the IAEA and the final report will be submitted to the Government of UAE within three months.

Image: The four units of the Barakah NPP (courtesy of ENEC)

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