The submittal follows a year-long process in which ENEC and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), the Prime Contractor for ENEC’s program, documented the safety case for the UAE’s first nuclear power plants, as well as the proposed site, Braka, in the Western Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
“Today’s filing is another important step forward for the ENEC program,” said ENEC Chief Executive Officer, Mohamed Al Hammadi. “We believe this license application demonstrates that the technology for our proposed power plant is safe, that the plant can be built to the highest possible standards, and that the proposed site is appropriate for the power plant. We look forward to responding to FANR as its team reviews the application and the licensing process continues”.
The Construction License Application (CLA) is based substantially on the safety analysis done for, and licenses granted by the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) to KEPCO for Shin Kori 3&4 units in Korea, the “reference plant” for the UAE program. The CLA documents were reviewed, verified and augmented by ENEC to meet FANR requirements. ENEC utilized outside consulting firms as part of its independent safety verification of the license application. Comments and analysis developed by ENEC were incorporated into the CLA prior to the submittal.
The “reference plant” concept is a fundamental part of ENEC’s procurement, construction and operations strategy. It ensures that KEPCO will construct a plant that is essentially the same as the “reference plant,” but supplemented with changes required to adapt to the UAE climatic conditions and any specific requirements of FANR. Among other benefits, this will ensure that the technology used for UAE plant will have already passed a licensing process before undergoing the FANR licensing process.
This “reference plant” philosophy enabled ENEC to prepare and submit the CLA one year following the awarding of the contract to KEPCO.
The submittal starts FANR’s review process, which ENEC expects will involve requests for additional information, and several meetings, which is typical for a nuclear construction license application to a regulator.
Totaling about 9,000 pages, the Construction License Application includes:.
The Preliminary Safety Analysis Report (PSAR), which includes a description of the plant design and a summary of the associated safety analyses.
A Probabilistic Risk Assessment report, which demonstrates the low probability of a severe accident and provides assurance of public health and safety.
An Independent Safety Verification Report, which meets the FANR requirement for an independent review of the PSAR.
A preliminary Safeguards Plan, which provides information on how nuclear fuel and nuclear-related components will be kept secure, and in line with UAE safeguards commitments.
The ENEC Quality Assurance Manual for design and construction, which details the processes ENEC uses to ensure the highest quality work in the program.
The Physical Protection Plan, which lays out how ENEC will secure the facilities during construction.
The CLA takes into consideration necessary design changes to the Shin Kori plant, including those impacted by the high air temperatures in the Western Region; the higher temperature of the Arabian Gulf water as compared to the sea water in Korea; the potential for sandstorms at Braka; and the change in electric grid frequencies from 60 hertz, which is used in Korea, to 50 hertz, which is used in the UAE.
The CLA development process was also examined by ENEC’s Nuclear Safety Review Board, a group of industry experts appointed earlier this year to provide ENEC’s leadership with a review of the safety and effectiveness of the construction, startup and operations of the ENEC program, with a core emphasis on nuclear safety. (The NSRB reviewed ENEC’s Independent Safety Verification Report.) The Board reports to Mr. Al Hammadi. It is chaired by Dr. Dale Klein, a former chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (Please see separate press release.).
Concurrent with submittal of the construction License Application ENEC will submit the Nuclear Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to Environmental Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD) for the construction of the Nuclear Power Plant Structures related to Nuclear Safety. Approval of the Nuclear EIA by EAD will be required, in addition to the FANR Construction License Application, prior to ENEC beginning construction of the Nuclear Safety Related structures.
Earlier this year ENEC received from FANR a Site Preparation License, which, along with a Construction Environmental Permit granted by the EAD, allowed ENEC to conduct works related to the construction of features of the overall facility but not part of the civil Nuclear Power Plant, and works for Nuclear Power Plant structures not related to Nuclear Safety.
A Project Schedule Update said that Unit 1 will begin commercial operations in 2017 while Unit 4 will begin operations in 2010.
The Government of Abu Dhabi established the nuclear power program following an evaluation of the UAE’s future energy needs that determined the country would need to substantially increase its generating capacity to meet expected electricity demand. Figures show demand for electricity nearly doubling in the UAE by 2020.
Nuclear power was determined to be the best way to generate the base load electricity required to fuel the economic and social growth of the nation. Four factors – economics, security of fuel supply, environment and industrial development – supported the decision to begin the program.
The UAE’s comprehensive approach to nuclear energy is detailed in the Policy of the United Arab Emirates on the Evaluation and Potential Development of Peaceful Nuclear Energy, a document released in April 2008. One of the main pillars of the policy is the decision to develop the program with safety and non-proliferation as its foundation, and to forgo domestic enrichment and reprocessing of nuclear fuel, the two parts of the nuclear fuel cycle that can most readily be used for non-peaceful purposes. This policy establishes a new model through which non-nuclear states may explore and potentially deploy nuclear energy with the full support and confidence of the international community. The UAE model has been called the “gold standard” for developing a nuclear energy program.
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