Preparations on to build N-power plant

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Preparations on to build N-power plant

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) is preparing to start ‘pouring the concrete’ on the landmark nuclear power project, after obtaining a green signal from nation’s atomic power watchdog.

By Haseeb Haider

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Published: Thu 19 Jul 2012, 12:58 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:16 PM

The nuclear power corporation, which obtained the licence from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), did not give a date as to when it will start construction.

However, according to its website, the ‘pouring of safety, related concrete’ is planned for November 1, 2012. Mohammed Al Hammadi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Enec confirmed at a Press conference: “We are now mobilising our team to move ahead with the next phase of activity under our new licence, which starts with pouring the safety concrete for Barakah Unit 1.” Earlier, Hamad Al Kaabi, the FANR Board of Management’s Ambassador who is also UAE Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA, said the Enec has been awarded a licence allowing the construction of the two units at Barakah, in the Western Region.

The licence was approved by the FANR Board of Management, chaired by Dr Ahmed Al Mazrouei, at its meeting on Tuesday. Ambassador Al Kaabi termed the development as a major landmark for the peaceful nuclear power programme.

Dr William Travers, Director-General of the FANR, said that the Licence authorises Enec to construct two Korean-designed advanced pressurised water reactors of the type known as the APR1400, each capable of producing 1,400 megawatts of electricity. It does not allow Enec to operate them. For the other two reactors, the Director-General said that Enec is likely to submit its application later in the year. Operating the plant will require a separate permission.

The director-general said that the authority scrutinised submissions by the Enec covering all required topics including the adequacy of the proposed site, the design of the facility, the safety analysis, management systems and quality assurance for construction, radiation safety measures, physical protection and safeguards. It was designed to ensure that all applicable technical and legal requirements were met, Dr Travers said.

The licence builds upon an additional assessment by the Enec of lessons learned from the March 2011 accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. This assessment, which was requested and reviewed by the FANR as an integral part of the application, demonstrated the robustness of Enec’s proposed plant. It also resulted in a number of design enhancements for added safety, a statement by the authority said.

Over 5,600MW of low-carbon electricity will be supplied to the national grid once the mega energy project is completed in 2020, saving about 12 million tonnes of carbon emissions in a year. The first of four reactors is scheduled to start operating in 2017.

Four reactor units are now under construction in South Korea, with the first of these scheduled to be connected to the grid by 2013, according to the Enec website.

In 2009, Korea Electric Power Corporation was awarded the contract to build the plants. A joint venture between Enec and Korea Electric will operate the plants under that deal.

The UAE Ambassador to the IAEA said that the country has yet to select a uranium supplier and hasn’t decided on how to treat the nuclear waste, as a national waste strategy document is in the advanced stage of discussions. “For the operational licence to be given, a waste strategy should be in place,” he said.

haseeb@khaleejtimes.com



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