UAE prepares for Barakah nuclear plant emergency training exercise

Extensive rehearsals held ahead of major test of emergency response capabilities

The UAE carried out extensive preparations this week ahead of a major training exercise assessing its emergency response strategies for the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant.

The robust rehearsals, which ran for 36 hours across Tuesday and Wednesday, featured mock drills simulating nuclear emergency scenarios.

The important work is in line with the exercises to be conducted during ConvEx-3 Barakah UAE, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear emergency exercise, next month.

The activities aim to highlight any potential areas of improvement in safety management of the plant and ensure it meets international standards.

The upcoming training exercise will be held under the supervision of the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, and in accordance with the regulatory framework of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation.

Participants will include Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, Nawah Energy Company, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and a number of other concerned authorities.

More than 170 countries and international organisations will take part in ConvEx-3 Barakah UAE.

It is one of the most complex exercises in the world and takes place every three to five years to test response capabilities and early notification protocols in cases of nuclear or radiological emergencies, in line with international emergency conventions.

Nuclear energy programme takes shape

The second unit of the UAE's nuclear power plant connected successfully to the national grid earlier this month.

The plant's second unit was started up late last month only four months after commercial operations began using the first reactor.

Now the second unit is connected, nuclear operators will begin to gradually raise the reactor's power levels, known as power ascension testing.

Once the process is complete, Unit 2 will deliver thousands of megawatts of clean electricity for decades.

The plant is in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafra region and is one of the largest nuclear energy centres in the world, with four APR-1400 units.

Construction of the plant began in 2012 and Unit 1 produces thousands of megawatts of clean electricity.

Units 3 and 4 are in the final stages of commissioning and are 95 per cent and 91 per cent complete respectively.

The development of the Barakah Plant is now more than 96 per cent complete. When fully operational the plant will produce 5.6 gigawatts of free carbon electricity for more than half a century.

Updated: September 30th 2021, 9:07 AM