UAE's nuclear energy: It's safe

Team KT/Abu Dhabi
Filed on April 6, 2021
Courtesy: Twitter

The Barakah plant follows international best practices and uses a defence-in-depth safety approach.

As Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant starts commercial operations, authorities are assuring residents of the high safety parameters being followed at the plant. Here are answers to the safety questions.

Are nuclear energy plants safe?

Yes. The performance records of approximately 450 nuclear energy facilities operating in more than 30 countries have demonstrated that nuclear energy is safe.

The Barakah plant follows international best practices and uses a defence-in-depth safety approach. This includes:

>> Multiple physical barriers that protect against accidental radiation release.

>> Multiples layers of redundant and diverse plant safety systems which ensure that the reactor operates normally and shuts down automatically if necessary.

>> The emergency response plan, which is regulated, tested and exercised with FANR, and has been reviewed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as part of the Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) in 2015 and again in 2019.

What are the chances of an accident like TMI, Chernobyl, Fukushima happening at Barakah?

The Barakah plant has implemented lessons learned from Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Post-Fukushima; the APR1400 design used at Barakah underwent a significant review using the European Stress Test method. This method determined that the plant design was already fairly robust against Fukushima-type events. To ensure this, FANR integrated the lessons learned from Fukushima into the requirements for the construction of the Barakah plant and reported on their implementation to the IAEA in 2017.

Enec still implemented 18 design enhancements to provide further capability to protect the health and safety of the public and prevent release of radioactive material to the environment. These modifications would allow plant operators additional methods to further mitigate a number of scenarios including earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, station blackouts and severe accidents.

For example, we have a number of back-up power options in the event we lose power on site. One of these is the AAC. In our original design the AAC could run for up to 8 hours before needing more fuel. With our revised design, the fuel will last up to 24 hours.

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