UAE regulator issues second Barakah operating licence

09 March 2021

The UAE Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) has today issued an operating licence for Barakah unit 2 to the plant's operator, Nawah Energy Company (Nawah). Nawah will now begin the commissioning of the Arab world's second nuclear power reactor.

FANR announced the licence in an online event (L-R: Sara Al Saadi, director of FANR's Nuclear Security Department; Al Kaabi; FANR Director General Christer Viktorsson)

Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE's permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the deputy chairman of FANR, said fuel loading could start as early as today or tomorrow. Speaking during FANR's online announcement this morning, he said a testing programme would follow as the plant gradually increases power and is connected to the grid, before it is formally declared to be in commercial operation around a year from now.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) applied for the operating licence for Barakah units 1 and 2 on behalf of Nawah in 2015. The decision to approve unit 2's licence followed the regulator's systematic review of the 14,000 page licence application, more than 220 inspections and requests for some 59 additional items of information to ensure the plant's complete compliance with all regulatory requirements. The licence has an estimated duration of 60 years.

"This is another historic moment for the UAE, being the first Arab country in the region to operate a nuclear power plant and the culmination of 13 years of effort in building such a programme," Al Kaabi said.

Barakah unit 1, which was awarded an operating licence in February 2020, has been operating at full power since December 2020. This unit is now in the final stage of the testing phase.

A total of four Korean-designed APR1400 units are being built at Barakah which is in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi. Unit 3 is now 94% complete, unit 4 is 87% complete and Barakah as a whole is more than 95% complete.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News