Barakah nuclear plant reaches construction milestone
ABU DHABI // The Barakah nuclear power plant programme has become the first to build four identical reactors simultaneously at one site.
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) has started work on Unit 4, making it the fourth reactor to be built using international atomic energy contruction standards, said Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy.
The construction milestone means that Barakah surpasses nuclear construction sites in China, the US, the UK, Russia and other countries to become the largest project with simultaneous construction of identical nuclear technology.
An Enec spokeswoman said project organisers have called it the “world’s leading nuclear construction site” because of its scope and high standards.
To commemorate the construction, Mr Al Mazrouei and Enec’s board of directors visited the site, located in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi about 50 kilometres west of Ruwais.
The minister said he was “extremely proud” to witness the occasion. “Nuclear energy will play a critical role in the provision of sustainable energy to power the future of the UAE,” said Mr Al Mazrouei.
“While the pace and sophistication of this historic programme continues to grow, I am consistently impressed to see Enec deliver its project to the highest international standards of safety, quality and performance.”
Mohammed Al Hammadi, chief executive of Enec, said the programme was set to deliver safe, clean and reliable nuclear electricity in 2017. The project has more than 18,000 staff working on the four units that comprise Barakah.
“As our programme gains momentum, this is a role we take on with great pride and responsibility, and as always, safety remains our overriding priority,” said Mr Al Hammadi.
Enec’s first unit is scheduled for completion in 2017, with the other three planned to be finished in year-long intervals afterwards. Unit 4 is expected to start commercial operations in 2020 after regulatory reviews and licensing.
The Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation approved the building licences for the third and fourth units in September last year. Unit 1 is now 75 per cent complete and all four units are more than 50 per cent complete. The plant is expected to provide up to a quarter of the nation’s electricity needs by 2020, and save up to 12 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year.