The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) announced on 27 August that its operating and maintenance subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company (Nawah) had successfully started up unit 2 of the Barakah NPP in the Al Dhafra Region of Abu Dhabi Emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Enec said this milestone “highlights the Barakah Plant’s role as it continues to contribute to the UAE’s success story, which has been achieved one year after the start-up of unit 1, and within five months of commercial operations of unit 1” and “the significant progress being made in bringing the four units of the Barakah Plant online, in a safe and timely manner”.
Enec CEO Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi said: “With the start-up of unit 2, we are now almost halfway to achieving our goal of supplying up to a quarter of our Nation’s electricity needs and enabling sustainable growth and in parallel, achieving UAE climate change targets. We are proud of the leading role that Emirati women have played in achieving continuous progress at Barakah.”
Testing was undertaken with the continued oversight of the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), and follows the World Association of Nuclear Operator’s (WANO) completion of a Pre Start-up Review (PSUR), prior to receipt of the Operating Licence, which ensures unit 2 is aligned with international best practice in the nuclear energy industry, Enec noted.
Nawah, the joint venture nuclear operations and maintenance subsidiary of Enec and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), have been safely progressing through a comprehensive testing programme, prior to successfully completing the start-up of unit 2. Nawah CEO Ali Al Hammadi said: “Preparations will now continue as we work safely and steadily towards grid connection and eventually the start of commercial operations.”
In the coming months, Unit 2 will be connected to the national electricity grid and the nuclear operators will continue with a process of gradually raising the power levels, known as Power Ascension Testing (PAT). The process will be continuously monitored and tested until maximum electricity production is reached, while adhering to all regulatory requirements and the highest international standards of safety, quality and security. When fully operational, the four units of the plant will produce 5.6GWe while preventing the release of more than 21 million tons of carbon emissions every year.
Construction of the $20 billion Barakah NPP began in 2011 after South Korea won a tender for the project in 2009. Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco) led the consortium that is building the plant comprising four APR1400 reactors. 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 3 is now 94% complete, unit 4 is 87% complete and the NPP overall is more than 95% complete. Unit 1 was completed in 2018 and expects to begin commercial operation later this year.
Photo: Barakah unit 2 started operating in August 2021 (Photo credit: ENEC)