An overall view of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Unit 1, currently being built by Korea in the United Arab Emirates.
President Chung Jae-hoon of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (Photos: KHNP)
The Barakah Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Unit 1, currently being built by Korea in the United Arab Emirates, is likely to be put into commercial operation in May or June. According to energy business sources and foreign news agencies, Barakah NPP Unit 1 is expected to start power generation in May or June after fuel assemblies are loaded and safety tests are conducted.
Christer Viktorsson, director general at Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) of the UAE was quoted as saying that it would take two or three weeks to have fuel assemblies loaded and it is possible to start power generation in May or June after final safety tests for commercial operations are conducted. Unit 1’s full-fledged power generation would come eight to 12 months later, he added.
The FANR issued the green light on the operation of Unit 1 on Feb. 17. Nawah is a subsidiary of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, and is partially owned by Korea Electric Power Corporation.
“Today’s announcement is another milestone for the UAE, culminating efforts of 12 years towards the development of the UAE Nuclear Energy Program to which the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) played a significant role to turn this vision into a reality,” Hamad al Kaabi, the UAE’s permanent representative to the IAEA, was quoted as saying at a news briefing in Abu Dhabi.
Al Kaabi, who also serves as FANR’s deputy chairman, also said he nuclear energy plan includes the laws and regulations and conforms to standards of the IAEA and international best practices.
The Barakah NPP is Korea’s first overseas export of homegrown technology and the Middle East’s first nuclear power plant.
A Korean consortium is participating in the construction of four units, each with homegrown, next-generation APR 1400 reactor, at a desert area 270 km west of Abu Dhabi.
The Korean consortium comprises Korea Electric Power Corp., Korea Hydro & Electric Power Co, KEPCO KPS, and Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction.
The operator of the first unit of the power plant is Nawah, in which KEPCO has an 18 percent stake. UAE regulator FANR’s issuing of the operation license of Barakah Unit 1 is three years later than planned. Construction of Barakah unit 1 began in 2012 and was completed in 2018.
Construction of units 2, 3 and 4 are under way in a safe and steady fashion, and the overall progress of the Barakah plant is now standing over 93% complete. The four units of the nuclear power plant will be responsible for one-fourth of the UAE’s total power generation.
UAE Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said the Arab country’s first license for the historic operation of the nuclear power plant at Barakah has been issued and it would be operational soon.
KHNP President Chung Jae-hoon conveyed the news on fuel loading of the Barakah Unit 1 over the social network service. KHNP is devoting itself to landing an order on a nuclear power plant from the Czech Republic, and the power company will submit a PTO document to the Czech government in 2020 Q3, President Chung said.
The Barakah NPP will make history in the global nuclear power industry, he added.
KEPCO President Kim Jong-ap said in an interview with a vernacular daily that the operation license of the Barakah Unit 1 is the outcome of efforts by the UAE and Korean government and the project would be done in a prudent way since there are still a few procedures to be passed following the issuance of the operation license.