Once fully commissioned, the $24.4bn Barakah nuclear plant will meet the quarter of the country’s power needs


Operating license issued for Unit 1 of 5.6GW Barakah nuclear power plant in UAE. (Credit: Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation)

UAE’s independent nuclear regulator Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) has issued operating license for unit 1 of 5.6GW Barakah nuclear power plant in the Dhafra Region of Abu Dhabi.

Nawah Energy, a joint venture between Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), is responsible for the construction and operation of the country’s first nuclear power project, Barakah.

Estimated to cost $24.4bn, the Barakah nuclear plant is expected to meet the quarter of the country’s power needs, once fully commissioned.

Each of the four units of the nuclear power plant will have a generation capacity of 1.4GW.

The 60-year operating license for the Barakah Unit 1 has been issued following completion of extensive safety-led assessment and inspection process.

UAE permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Hamad Al Kaabi said: “The decision announced today is the result of intensive work and collaboration with national and international stakeholders such as IAEA, Republic of Korea and other international regulatory bodies.”

Nawah to prepare Barakah Unit 1 for commercial operations

Nawah Energy will now prepare the Unit 1 for commercial operation, and during the commissioning period, FANR will undertake around-the-clock inspections to ensure the fuel load and power accession processes are completed in compliance with the regulatory requirements.

FANR director-general Christer Viktorsson said: “The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation played an indispensable role in regulating the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant since 2009 and especially after we received the Operating License Application for Unit 1 in 2015.

“We conducted extensive reviews and robust inspections to ensure it fulfils our regulatory requirements and thus is ready to operate safely.

“FANR also prepared for the operations phase which include putting all arrangements in place to conduct regulatory oversight and necessary inspections to ensure protection of the community and environment when the unit 1 starts operating.”

In April 2019, ENEC said it has completed the structural integrity test and integrated leak rate test at Unit 2 of the Barakah nuclear project.

The Unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear power plant is more than 93% complete while Unit 2 is 95% complete, Unit 3 is 92% and Unit 4 is 83% complete.