SEOUL // A team from the South Korean company chosen to build the UAE’s nuclear reactors will arrive in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday for a three-day workshop on safety and security.
Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) will discuss measures taken for the first power plant in Barakah, in the Western Region, which is expected to be in operation in 2017.
“Construction of a nuclear power plant is a huge undertaking and a very complex project, with many stakeholders involved on both sides,” said Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE’s Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“Ongoing consultations and dialogue are important to assess progress, address challenges and identify opportunities,” he said.
The Barakah plant will be one of 14 Kepco has designed and built, and the project is running on time and on budget, said Kwon Hae-ryong, the Korean ambassador to the UAE.
“Nuclear energy is an important element for national development. Nuclear energy cooperation between our two countries is the backbone of our relationship,” Mr Kwon said.
“It is going very smoothly, so the first unit will be complete in May 2017 and the plant will generate electricity for the first time in the Middle East.
“Together with renewable energy such as solar power, nuclear is a clean energy and it is a very smart policy for the UAE Government to have such a nuclear power plant project to generate electricity for the preparation of the post-oil period.
“Kepco, together with other companies, are making every effort to make it the safest and the most efficient nuclear power plant in the world.”
Mr Kwon said that this year marked 35 years since the UAE and Korea began diplomatic relations, “and our relationship is excellent”.
In March, Enec filed a 15,000-page application in collaboration with Kepco to the Federal Agency for Nuclear Regulation, for a licence to operate the first two reactors.
“Every country that has nuclear power plants, or is planning to build, has an increased and enhanced focus on safety and safety culture,” said Lady Barbara Judge, the former chairwoman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority.
“All of the reactors have been tested, upgraded and are even more resilient than they were before. They also ensure that the practices within the power plant and the companies have been focused upon and enhanced.”
The global industry knows the importance of an increased safety culture after the Fukushima accident in Japan in 2011.
Lady Judge, who is also a member of the International Advisory Board for the development of nuclear energy in the UAE, said information exchange between countries was crucial.
“The best practices must be shared by all countries and each country that has experience in building and operating nuclear power plants will have some experiences to add to the next,” she said.
“The more international cooperation, the highest best practice you can instil and the best safety culture you can instil in those who are learning in upgrading power plants.
“Nuclear is an international subject and an international field, and all the countries developing nuclear power practices should share them with each other to make sure the safety culture and experience is at the highest level.”