Tests that expose the reactors at Barakah nuclear power plant to extreme heat have been successfully completed.
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation said the results of hot functional testing on Unit 2 showed it had achieved the highest standards of quality, safety and efficiency.
Enec said it worked closely with the Korea Electric Power Corporation, the joint venture partner and prime contractor, to achieve the milestone in the testing and commissioning of Unit 2.
“We are proud to have maintained our track record of safety and efficiency with the successful completion of Hot Functional Testing on Unit 2. By incorporating the lessons learnt from the same tests on Unit 1, we continue to establish Barakah as the benchmark for new nuclear construction projects worldwide,” said Mohamed Al Hammadi, chief executive of Enec.
“Keeping construction progress approximately one year apart for each of the units at Barakah makes it possible for us to implement all lessons learnt from one unit to the subsequent ones, in line with international best practices in the management of megaprojects.”
Testing takes place over a number of weeks and consists of almost 200 individual and integrated tests on major systems to check their performance under normal operational conditions, without the presence of nuclear fuel in the reactor.
The test was the first time that most of the reactor’s systems experienced the operational temperature of nearly 300 degrees Celsius and operational pressure of more than 150 kilograms per square centimetre, which is the equivalent of the pressure at 1,500 metres underwater.
During the testing, components were checked for thermal expansion, vibration and wear.
In May, the plant's operators said it would not begin generating electricity until the end of next year, or possibly 2020.
Construction of the $25 billion plant began in 2011, with electricity generation originally set for last year.
Al Hammadi said: “This most recent round of testing ensures that Unit 2’s systems and components are on track to reliably and safely perform their intended functions when the plant becomes operational.”
Enec announced in April that the plant was a step closer to being switched on after completion of tests on Unit 1.
The UAE plans to bring a total of four nuclear reactors into operation by 2021 producing a combined 5,600 megawatts of power.
The project has been described as a vital component in the country’s programme to diversify its energy supply and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.