Barakah nuclear plant's third reactor being prepared for operation

Process of loading fuel into unit under way after licence was approved last week

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Work has begun to load fuel into Barakah nuclear power plant's third reactor, in the latest step towards it becoming fully operational.

A licence was granted on Friday by the nuclear regulator for the third of four reactors, or units as they are known.

The first two units are already operational and provide clean energy to the national grid for homes and businesses across the country.

In an update on Sunday, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation said its operating and maintenance subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company, has received the operating licence from the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation.

“Receiving the third operating licence for the Barakah plant is the result of over 520 rigorous reviews to date from our independent regulator, Fanr, of which 120 are related specifically to Unit 3," Ali Al Hammadi, chief executive of Nawah, which operates and maintains Barakah, said.

"The reviews cover every aspect of the plant to ensure we are ready to operate in line with national regulatory requirements.

"Successfully passing these reviews is testament to the expertise we have developed and the outstanding operating experience of our teams, made up of highly skilled and qualified UAE nationals and international experts."

Barakah is the only multi-unit nuclear energy plant operating in the Arab world. It generates high-value jobs and stimulates the growth of local industries, Enec says.

It provides significant environmental benefits through rapid decarbonisation of the UAE's energy sector and ensures it is less reliant on gas-fired power stations.

When fully operational, the plant will prevent 22.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

When it begins to operate at full power within the coming months, the third unit will add a further 1,400 megawatts of zero-carbon emission electricity to the national grid. This is similar to each of the other two reactor units, propelling the country towards its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Barakah has four APR-1400 Units. Unit four is in the final stages of commissioning before construction completion, Enec said on Sunday.

"With this achievement, the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme is close to achieving its multiple economic, social and environmental objectives," said Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, the Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region, where Barakah is located.

He said that the plant has become "one of the premier pillars of sustainable development in the country... in addition to its key role in the success of the transformation of the energy sector in the country towards total dependence on energy sources that are free of carbon emissions, by accelerating the reduction of the carbon footprint of this sector."

Updated: June 20, 2022, 5:13 AM