x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Site in west eyed for nuclear plants

Abu Dhabi's first nuclear power plants will be built at Braka on the coast west of Ruwais if the Federal regulator approves the site.

The Abu Dhabi Government's nuclear energy company has picked a desolate stretch of beach west of Ruwais as the site on which to build the country's first four nuclear reactors. The Braka site, more than 300km west of the capital, still needs to be approved by independent federal regulators, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said today. The company said it hoped to receive a licence to begin preliminary work on the site by July 5.

"We have determined that this is an acceptable site, a site we think works, but the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation makes the determination on whether this is the site," said Padraic Riley, a spokesman for ENEC. "The regulator makes the call." The company expects to begin building the first plant - a South Korean design to be constructed by a consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation - by late 2012 and have it in operation by 2017.

ENEC evaluated 10 possible sites but ultimately settled on Braka because of its remote, coastal location and proximity to the electricity grid, ENEC said. One of the emirate's major conventional power generating centres is at Shuweihat, less than 50km away. Braka was chosen after a study of the site's seismic history and an assessment of the impact the reactors would have on the local ecology, ENEC said.