Third Barakah unit receives operating licence

17 June 2022

Nawah Energy Company has received an operating licence for the third unit at Barakah from the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), clearing the way for commissioning to begin.

Viktorsson (on the left) and Al Kaabi announced FANR's approval of the licence at a livestreamed press conference (Image: FANR)

FANR Deputy Chairman Hamad Al Kaabi and Director General  Christer Viktorsson announced that its board had approved the operating licence in a press conference held at its Abu Dhabi headquarters.

The regulator has received all the necessary verifications to ensure the plant is ready to operate, Viktorsson said: "The operating licence - as it was for units 1 and 2 - is for a duration of sixty years and authorises the Nawah energy company to commission and operate the unit."

FANR received the application for unit 3's operating licence in 2017 and since then has conducted a thorough review of the documentation, regulatory oversight, and inspections, Vitkorsson said. Assessments have included the reactor design, cooling systems, security systems, emergency preparedness, radioactive waste management, and other technical aspects. The regulator has also assessed Nawah's operational and manpower readiness to ensure the safe and secure operation of the nuclear power plant. The review process for the 14,000-page application included more than120 inspections as well as requests for additional information.

"We have credible assurance that the operator - Nawah Energy Company - is ready to operate unit 3 of the Barakah nuclear plant," Viktorsson said. Nawah will now undertake a period of commissioning, during which FANR's resident inspectors will perform around-the-clock inspections to ensure fuel loading and testing are carried out according to regulatory requirements, ahead of commercial operation.

Construction of unit 3 - one of four Korean-designed APR-1400 units at Barakah, in the Al Dhafra region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi - began in 2014 and was declared complete in November 2021. Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC)'s first two units, which began commercial operation in April 2021 (unit 1) and March of this year (unit 2) are now supplying 2800 MW to the UAE's grid and the company has committed to supply up to a quarter of the country's electricity needs. Unit 4 is now more than 92% complete.

Nawah is a joint nuclear operations and maintenance subsidiary of the ENEC and the Korea Electric Power Corporation.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News