State-of-the-art nuclear plant simulator centre opens in Western Region

The Simulator Training Centre will provide students with the opportunity to experience accident situations they normally would not be exposed to.

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DUBAI // A nuclear energy plant simulator has opened at Barakah in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region.

The Simulator Training Centre is one of the most advanced in the world and the closest reproduction of a working nuclear power plant.

It complements Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation’s (Enec) training programme for scholarship students to attain Reactor Operator (RO) and Senior RO certifications.

It also provides continuous training for Enec’s working Senior ROs.

"Safety is and will remain our main priority and highly trained and prepared reactor operators are critical to the safety of our plants," said Mohammed Al Hammadi, chief executive of Enec.

“Our state-of-the-art simulators are designed to replicate real scenarios and processes that our reactor operators will face every day. This form of training has been proven to be a reliable and successful training method.”

The 7,000-square-metre training centre is home to two simulators identical to the plant’s main control room. Each consist of a large display panel that highlights the most important parameters for operators’ quick reference, and five operator stations from which ROs can consult any system within the plant.

The centre provides students with the opportunity to experience accident situations they normally would not be exposed to.

"Real-time control room simulators have a proven track record of developing user soft skills such as communication, the ability to respond efficiently, solid decision making and working as part of a team," said Mr Al Hammadi. "They play a key role in the development of a nuclear safety culture."

Each student requires more than 800 hours of simulator training to receive the Senior RO certification, which is controlled and issued by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation in the UAE.

This training is part of a preliminary programme Enec runs for its Senior ROs and is in addition to the 2,000 hours of official training.

The first two Barakah plants are now more than 40 per cent complete, and are being constructed safely, on time and within budget.

Unit 1 is scheduled to enter commercial operations in 2017, and Unit 2 in 2018, pending regulatory approvals. Barakah Units 3 and 4 are on schedule to enter commercial operations in 2019 and 2020 respectively.