An international team of experts from the World Association of Nuclear Operators (Wano) has concluded that Barakah 1 at the UAE’s first nuclear power plant is ready for start-up.

The announcement followed an extensive operational readiness assessment of Barakah 1 performed by experts from Wano’s Atlanta Centre in November 2019, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, and its subsidiary Nawah Energy Company.

Enec and Nawah are both members of Wano, which has a mission to maximise the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants.


Pre-start up review at Barakah nuclear plant

During the pre-start-up review (PSUR) Wano teams examined numerous functional and cross-functional areas that are essential for the safe startup and operation of Barakah 1.

These include operator performance and operations and maintenance, as well as work management and emergency preparedness.

Wano’s PSUR process is a globally-recognised nuclear industry assessment conducted in line with the international industry standards set by Wano.

The PSUR followed a series of assessments carried out by several national and international regulatory organisations in previous years.

“The fact that our first unit and our team of experts successfully completed this international start-up assessment by Wano is a major milestone for the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme,” said ENEC’s CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi.

“It provides international recognition that our plant, people and processes meet international start-up standards and that the Barakah plant fully aligns to the commitments made in 2008,” he added.

Construction at Barakah 1 was officially completed in 2017.


Fuel loading at Barakah 1 expected in Q1

Fuel-loading is scheduled to take place at Barakah 1 in the first quarter of 2020, once Nawah is in receipt of the operating licence from the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).

“We take this achievement with great responsibility while we continue to support Nawah in obtaining regulatory approval from FANR to safely and gradually commence producing clean, safe and reliable electricity to power the growth of the UAE for the next 60 years,” Al Hammadi added.

Nawah is currently completing the final requirements to demonstrate operational readiness in preparation to receive the licence from FANR before beginning fuel-loading.

Once the fuel has been loaded into the reactor, Nawah will begin the start-up sequence for power ascension testing, which will continue for a number of months prior to commercial operation.

Barakah nuclear plant will comprise four Korean-designed APR-1400 reactors. Construction started at Barakah 1 in 2012.

Once all four reactors are online the Barakah nuclear plant is expected to supply around a quarter of UAE’s electricity.