The Arab world’s first nuclear facility in Abu Dhabi has reached another milestone, as Unit 1 of the Barakah power plant is now operating at 50 per cent capacity.
The milestone was achieved as part of the power ascension test of the first reactor, which is an important step towards commercial operations.
Last month, first megawatts of clean electricity were dispatched from the plant to the nation once Unit 1 was connected to the power grid.
Officials made the virtual announcement on the sidelines of the 64th Annual Regular Session of the International Energy Atomic Agency on Tuesday.
“This is a proud moment for everyone involved in the delivery of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant as we mark the continued progress being made at Unit 1,” said Eng Ali Al Hammadi, chief executive of Nawah Energy Company – the nuclear operator.
“We are operating Unit 1 of the Barakah Plant with an absolute commitment to safety and quality as we advance one step further towards commercial operations.”
The station consists of four units that will supply 5,600 megawatts of energy – enough to meet 25 per cent of the country’s electricity needs.
It will help prevent the release of 21 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year, which is equivalent to removing 3.2 million cars from the roads each year.
“Safety and quality-led progress continues to be made across all four Units of the Plant,” said Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, chief executive of Emirates Nuclear Energy Cooperation – the agency overseeing the project.
Testing of Unit 1’s systems is ongoing and, once completed, the reactor will become operational and deliver abundant baseload electricity for up to 18 months prior to refueling.
Construction of Unit 2 has been completed and it will soon undergo operational readiness activities.
Unit 3’s construction is 93 per cent complete and Unit 4 is 86 per cent finished. The overall construction completion rate of the power plant is at 94 per cent.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the IAEA, said the UAE has set a good example to countries that want to establish a peaceful nuclear energy programme.
“The Emirates took the right step to work hand in hand with the agency and by embracing the highest standards of safety and security from the beginning,” he said.
“You chose to follow a model through the IAEA, which was very clearly defined and other countries could follow this journey.
“I think this is a very important issue of ‘so-called newcomers’ and soon UAE will no longer be a newcomer.
“In your case, you have given a gift to the international community with a concrete, successful example of how this model is used.”