Barakah nuclear plant reaches 50% power capacity
The reactor was successfully connected to the country's power grid a month ago.
The Unit 1 reactor of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant has achieved 50 per cent of its electricity production capacity and it is expected to enter commercial operations next year, top officials from the energy sector said on Tuesday during a virtual conference.
Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, CEO of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec), noted that the UAE is now producing clean, baseload electricity through Unit 1. The reactor was successfully connected to the country's power grid a month ago, starting the delivery of emission-free electricity to homes and businesses across the nation.
"I am very happy that we have safely reached, as of today, the 50 per cent reactor power of Unit 1. We also joined a group of 30 nations around the world that has successfully acquired the intellect, as well as the system and technology, to use nuclear energy to generate safe, clean and reliable baseload electricity," Al Hammadi said on the sidelines of the 64th Annual Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference in Vienna.
The Enec chief said that reaching the 50 per cent capacity is an important step in power ascension testing, the process of gradually raising the power levels of Unit 1 and a procedure carried out by Nawah Energy Company (Nawah).
In his address at the event called 'UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme: The Journey', he added that nuclear energy is a key contributor to the nation's sustainable growth and prosperity.
"The plant will operate for the next 60 years, benefitting our children and grandchildren. We have a great opportunity to create a more sustainable world using peaceful nuclear energy. As the UAE has started to do so by generating clean electricity at its plant in Barakah."
Step towards commercial operations
Ali Al Hammadi, CEO of Nawah, noted as they continue to gradually raise Unit 1's power towards commercial operations, comprehensive safety and performance tests are carried out.
"We aim to achieve commercial operations for Unit 1 next year when it is safe to do so," Al Hammadi said.
Overall, the Nawah CEO noted that the construction of the power plant is 94 per cent complete.
"Unit 2 construction is complete, and we are conducting operational readiness activities. Unit 3 and Unit 4 stand at 93 per cent and 86 per cent completion, respectively. In the coming years, we will conduct the same operational readiness processes for these units."
'UAE's journey is exemplary'
Rafael Mariano Grossi, director-general of the IAEA, praised the country's milestone as an "impressive achievement".
"The UAE's journey is exemplary. Your example is now being looked up to with admiration in many parts of the world. There will be others who will be following in your footsteps," Grossi said.
Officials, including Hamad Alkaabi, the UAE's Permanent Representative to the IAEA, lauded the role of local and international experts in the nation's achievement.
Christer Viktorsson, director-general of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulations (FANR), highlighted that the FANR team has evolved from a handful of international experts in 2010 to a team of 250 today, with majority of them being Emiratis.
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