The nuclear operators will continue with a process of gradually raising the power levels.
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, ENEC, on Saturday announced that its operating and maintenance subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company, Nawah, has successfully started up Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, located in the Al Dhafrah Region of Abu Dhabi.
This step is the most historic milestone to date in the delivery of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme, as part of the process towards generating clean electricity for the nation for at least the next 60 years.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has commended the success made by Emirati cadres in operating the Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, the Arab world’s first plant for peaceful nuclear energy, as a moment of pride and the most historic achievement in the UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy programme. Sheikh Khalifa said: “This milestone, which comes a few days after the launch of the Hope Probe, confirms that our state — guided by Emirati cadres — is steadily progressing ahead with well-weighed plans towards building a robust knowledge base in all fields.” He congratulated those responsible for the programme which, he said, endows “our scientific research institutions” with a wealth of knowledge and extensive experience.
“We congratulate our people on this breakthrough milestone which will shape our vision for the future. We also congratulate our national cadres who have translated our vision and objectives into reality that the entire world will be proud of.” The President congratulated His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai; His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, and the UAE people on this glorious event during which, he said, “we recall the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the other Founding Fathers who laid the solid foundations for a state that is able to head towards the future.” Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid took to the twitter to announce the start of the Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant.
“Today we announce the UAE’s success in commissioning the first peaceful nuclear reactor in the Arab world at the Barakah nuclear power plants in Abu Dhabi,” tweeted Sheikh Mohammed. “The work teams have succeeded in loading nuclear fuel packages, carrying out comprehensive tests and completing the commissioning successfully. I congratulate my brother Mohamed Bin Zayed for this achievement. “The goal is to commission four nuclear power plants that will supply one quarter of the country’s needs for electricity in a safe, reliable and emission-free way. The UAE has split the atom and seeks to explore the galaxy; a message to the world that Arabs are able to resume their scientific march and compete with the rest of great nations. Nothing is impossible,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
“We proudly witness the start of Barakah nuclear power plant operations, in alignment with the highest international safety standards. Congratulations on realising this historic achievement in the energy sector & marking this milestone in the roadmap for sustainable development,” tweeted Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of Egypt, has congratulated Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed on the successful start of Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant.
Since receipt of the Operating Licence from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulations (FANR), in February 2020, and the completion of fuel assembly loading in March 2020, Nawah, the Joint Venture nuclear operations and maintenance subsidiary of ENEC and the Korea Electric Power Corporation, KEPCO, has been safely progressing through a comprehensive testing programme, prior to successfully completing the start-up of the first nuclear energy reactor of the Barakah plant.
The start-up of Unit 1 marks the first time that the reactor safely produces heat, which is used to create steam, turning a turbine to generate electricity. Nawah’s qualified and licensed team of nuclear operators focus on safely controlling the process and controlling the power output of the reactor. After several weeks and conducting numerous safety tests, Unit 1 will be ready to connect to the UAE’s electricity grid, delivering the first megawatts of clean electricity to the homes and businesses of the nation.
This step is the most historic milestone to date in the delivery of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme.
Testing has been undertaken with the continued oversight of the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, FANR, and follows the World Association of Nuclear Operators, WANO, completion of a Pre Start-up Review , PSUR, in January 2020, prior to receipt of the Operating Licence, which ensures Unit 1 is aligned with international best practice in the nuclear energy industry.
Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, said: "Today is a truly historic moment for the UAE. It is the culmination of more than a decade of vision, strategic planning and robust programme management. Despite the recent global challenges, our team has demonstrated outstanding resilience and commitment to the safe delivery of Unit 1. We are now another step closer to achieving our goal of supplying up to a quarter of our nation’s electricity needs and powering its future growth with safe, reliable, and emissions-free electricity.
"Through the realisation of the vision of our Leadership, the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant has become an engine of growth for the nation. It will deliver 25 per cent of the UAE’s electricity with zero carbon emissions while also supporting economic diversification by creating thousands of high-value jobs through the establishment of a sustainable local nuclear energy industry and supply chain.
We are grateful to the Leadership for their continuous support in making this remarkable achievement happen, along with the support of our UAE stakeholders and Korean partners, and congratulate everyone involved in the Programme on this landmark occasion."
Once the unit is connected to the grid, the nuclear operators will continue with a process of gradually raising the power levels, known as Power Ascension Testing, PAT. Throughout, the systems of Unit 1 are continuously monitored and tested as the unit proceeds towards full electricity production in line with all regulatory requirements and the highest international standards of safety, quality and security. Once the process is completed over the course of a number of months, the plant will deliver abundant baseload electricity at full capacity to power the growth and prosperity of the UAE for decades to come.
Federal Nuclear Supervision confirms the continuation of its oversight duties for the operation of Barakah plants.
Commenting on this key milestone in UAE nuclear energy operations, Eng. Ali Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of Nawah, said: "The start-up of Unit 1 is a significant milestone for Nawah Energy Company as we fulfil our mandate to operate and maintain the plant in accordance with the highest international standards of safety and quality. The dedication of our people as well as our close collaboration with our Korean partners and cooperation with numerous international expert organisations has enabled this accomplishment. This reflects our commitment to upholding the highest safety, quality and operational transparency standards throughout the entire commissioning and startup process by leveraging the expertise of the global nuclear industry.
"I am especially proud of our talented UAE National engineers and nuclear professionals who contributed to the construction of Unit 1, as well as the UAE National Senior Reactor Operators and Reactor Operators who have been certified to safely operate the plant, alongside our international experts, to ensure the safe and sustainable operations of the unit for decades to come," concluded Eng. Ali Al Hammadi.
The UAE is the first country in the Arab World, and the 33rd nation globally, to develop a nuclear energy plant to generate safe, clean, and reliable baseload electricity.
The Barakah plant is significantly contributing to the UAE’s efforts to move towards the electrification of its energy sector, and the decarbonisation of electricity production.
When fully operational, the plant will produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity while preventing the release of more than 21 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year, equivalent to the removal of 3.2 million cars from the nation’s roads annually.
Since the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme commenced in 2009, ENEC has worked closely with international nuclear bodies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, and WANO, in line with the robust regulatory framework of FANR. To date, more than 255 inspections have been undertaken by FANR to ensure the Barakah plant and its people and processes meet the highest standards of nuclear quality and safety. These national reviews have been supported by more than 40 assessments and peer reviews by the IAEA and WANO.
ENEC recently announced the construction completion of Unit 2, with operational readiness preparations now under way by Nawah. Construction of Units 3 and 4 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is in the final stages, with the overall construction completion of the four units now standing at 94 per cent.WAM
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