Start of the third Barakah unit

Third Barakah unit | According to Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), the 1400 MWe unit is now generating heat from nuclear fission and will be linked to the UAE’s power grid in the upcoming weeks. In the Al Dhafra Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, two units at the location are already in use for commercial purposes.

After the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) of the UAE authorised the unit’s operational licence in June, fuel loading at Barakah 3 started.

Under the supervision of FANR, the fuel loading process has advanced through a thorough testing programme. Now that it is linked to the grid, it will go through the Power Ascension Testing (PAT) procedure.

This implies that until maximum electricity output is attained, the unit’s operators will progressively boost its power while continuously testing and monitoring it.

Throughout the fuel loading and testing procedures leading up to first criticality, FANR has conducted routine inspections and determined that Nawah Energy Company, a joint nuclear operations and maintenance subsidiary of ENEC and reactor vendor Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), has complied with all legal requirements.

The regulator said that it regularly checks the emergency preparedness and response system as well as the environment near the nuclear power plant and its environmental laboratory using independent monitoring stations.

As we go forward with the provision of strategically important clean energy for the UAE, we have today achieved another critical milestone in the implementation of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program, said Mohamed Al Hammadi, CEO and Managing Director of ENEC.

“The Barakah plant, which sustainably produces an abundance of energy to satisfy rising demand and power expansion, is leading the decarbonization of the power industry. The Barakah plant has become a case study for the world on how to deliver a new nuclear project thanks to the UAE’s development of a top-tier nuclear programme that builds on past success and consistently shares its lessons with global industry peers.”

The first of the four APR-1400 units at Barakah, which were designed in Korea, was put into operation in 2012. Work on unit 3 began in 2014. The UAE‘s grid is now receiving 2800 MW from Units 1 and 2, which started commercial service in April 2021 and March of this year, respectively. Unit 4 is currently undergoing final commissioning before construction is complete.

Barakah is a crucial part of the UAE’s Net Zero 2050 Strategy, according to ENEC, and it serves as a bridge to other clean fuels like hydrogen as well as a driver for innovation in the clean energy transition, including the development of SMR and next-generation reactors. “The commissioning of the facility is just the beginning,” Al Hammadi remarked. Innovation and R&D are now crucial in assuring the realisation of the entire breadth of the programme.

Barakah is KEPCO’s first overseas nuclear power plant project.

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