Nawah Energy Company (Nawah), the operator of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in the Al Dhafra Region of Abu Dhabi, has entered the next phase of preparation for nuclear operations. With construction of Unit 1 recently completed by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and Joint Venture partner, the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), Nawah has completed a comprehensive operational readiness review to generate an updated schedule for the start-up of the first peaceful nuclear energy reactor in the Arab world. The results of Nawah’s review forecast that the loading of nuclear fuel assemblies required to commence nuclear operations at Barakah Unit 1 will occur between the end of 2019 and early 2020.
The schedule review was carried out in strict accordance with the principles of a healthy nuclear safety culture, which requires conservative decision-making to support nuclear safety. Consequently, the resulting projection for the start-up of Unit 1 operations reflects the time required for the Plant’s nuclear operators to complete operational readiness activities and to obtain necessary regulatory approvals, all of which are all designed to ensure safe, sustainable nuclear operations after start-up. The review, which was led by Nawah’s team of nuclear experts, as well as the participation of ENEC, and international nuclear experts, reflects a conservative approach intended to ensure that the highest standards of nuclear quality, safety and security are, firmly established as the foundation for future nuclear operations in the UAE.
Only after all preparations for nuclear operations are successfully completed and Nawah has received an Operating License for Unit 1 from FANR, will operators begin to load nuclear fuel assemblies and initiate operations.
“Nawah’s commitment to meet the highest standards of quality and safety is the main driver for all our work,” said Mark Reddemann, CEO of Nawah. “As a result, our review relied on global nuclear standards to analyse the remaining work required for nuclear operations, and we are confident that this new projection for Fuel Load gives Nawah a nuclear-centric and conservative schedule to deliver nuclear operations in alignment with the highest standards of safety and quality.”
Commenting on the unique nature of the Barakah Plant, Mr Reddemann added: “Unit 1 is the pioneering nuclear energy reactor in the UAE and will set the benchmark for the three remaining Units of the Barakah Plant and, possibly, for other nuclear energy projects in the Arab world. By achieving high standards in Unit 1, Nawah is setting a robust precedent for the subsequent operation of Units 2, 3 and 4, as well as for the regional industry.”
ENEC and KEPCO, as Joint Venture Partners and owners of Nawah and Barakah One Company, the entity managing the commercial and financial interests of the Barakah project, provide support to Nawah’s safety-led and quality-centric approach to preparing for operations in order to ensure that the highest nuclear standards are achieved within the earliest schedule possible.
Per UAE law, all activities related to nuclear energy and technology are under the supervision and regulation of FANR, which has been conducting extensive inspections and reviews of the project since ENEC, on behalf of Nawah, submitted the Operating License Application for Units 1&2 in 2015. Additionally, and as part of its preparations for operations, Nawah is also seeking independent assessments by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) to ensure all aspects of the Plant meet the highest international standards of nuclear quality and safety.