UAE’s Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has completed hot functional testing (HFT) on unit 2 of the $32bn Barakah nuclear energy plant.


Image: The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant. Photo: courtesy of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation.

For the HFT, ENEC has worked closely with the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), which is the joint venture (JV) partner as well as the prime contractor for the nuclear project.

ENEC CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi said: “Keeping construction progress approximately one year apart for each of the Units at Barakah makes it possible for us to implement all lessons learned from one Unit to the subsequent ones, in line with international best practices in the management of megaprojects.”

In order to achieve the highest international standards of quality, safety and efficiency, the pre-operational testing process for the unit 2 has incorporated all lessons learned from the same test on Unit 1, ENEC said.

Conducted under the observation of the UAE’s independent nuclear regulatory body Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), the hot functional tests involved validation of components for thermal expansion, vibration and wear at the facility.

ENEC said that the results demonstrated that all systems performed in accordance with the quality and safety standards under normal operating conditions.

Hammadi added: “This most recent round of testing ensures that Unit 2’s systems and components are on track to reliably and safely perform their intended functions when the plant becomes operational.

“The pre-operational commissioning phase of a nuclear energy plant is a complex and critical step towards starting to operate the plant.

“It is essential that it is tested under operational conditions without nuclear fuel to demonstrate that the highest standards of safety, security and quality are achieved.”

Construction work on unit 2 of the Barakah plant began in April 2013, one year after unit 1.

As of end of June 2018, the construction of the units at the Barakah plant is more than 89%. The plant is expected to generate clean, efficient and reliable electricity required to power up to a quarter of the nation’s electricity needs.