Barakah Nuclear Plant Unit 3 Start-Up Begins

Barakah Nuclear Plant Unit 3 Start-Up Begins

/ Renewables / Friday, 23 September 2022 13:06

In what comes as a big boost for the UAE’s energy needs as well as tackling climate change, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation’s (ENEC) subsidiary Nawah Energy Company (Nawah) has successfully started up Unit 3 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, located in the Al Dhafra Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in the UAE.

What this remarkable feat highlights is the rapid progress in bringing the four units of the Barakah Plant – the first multi-unit operational nuclear plant in the Arab World – online and accelerating the decarbonization of the UAE’s power sector in line with the 2050 net zero goals.

The start-up of Unit 3 has been achieved a year after the start-up of Unit 2, with the next key milestone being the connection of Unit 3 to the national electricity grid in the coming weeks.

This development is significant in that there has been a global energy crisis as a result of the ongoing geopolitics, and many countries are resorting to nuclear power resources. The UAE added nuclear energy to its energy mix back in 2008 to provide a clean and reliable baseload source of electricity, and the very decision seems to be reaping the benefits now.  Also read: Nuclear Power Makes a Comeback

Once commercially operational, Unit 3 will add another 1,400 megawatts of zero-carbon emission electricity capacity to the national grid. The clean electricity generated at Barakah is sustainably powering homes, businesses and high-tech industries across the UAE, and the successful development of the plant demonstrates the country’s extensive megaproject management capabilities.

His Excellency Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, managing director and chief executive officer of ENEC, said, “We have reached another major milestone in the delivery of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program, as we move forward with the provision of strategically significant clean energy for the UAE. The Barakah Plant is spearheading the decarbonization of the power sector, sustainably generating abundant electricity to meet growing demand and power growth. The UAE has developed a world-class nuclear program that builds on experience and continuously shares its lessons with global industry peers, making the Barakah plant a case study for the world on a new nuclear project delivery.”

Nawah, the joint venture nuclear operations and maintenance subsidiary of ENEC and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), has been safely progressing through a comprehensive testing program prior to successfully completing the start-up of the third nuclear energy reactor of the Barakah Plant. Testing has been undertaken under the continued oversight of the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), and follows the World Association of Nuclear Operators’ (WANO) completion of a Pre-Start-Up Review (PSUR), prior to receipt of the Operating License, which ensures Unit 3 is aligned with international best practice in the nuclear energy industry.

Meanwhile, Eng. Ali Al Hammadi, chief executive officer of Nawah, said, “The start-up of Unit 3 is a clear demonstration that our Emirati talents, working closely with international experts and organizations, have developed the know-how and capability to safely and reliably operate three nuclear units simultaneously. We look forward to the upcoming connection of Unit 3 to the national electricity grid as we work to deliver up to 25% of the UAE’s electricity demand.”

Start-up is the first time Unit 3 has produced heat through nuclear fission. The heat is used to create steam, turning a turbine to generate electricity. Making use of the experience gained in the start-up of Units 1 and 2, the qualified and licensed team of nuclear operators conducted numerous safety tests after safely loading fuel into the reactor earlier this year. Also read: UAE participates in IAEA’s first nuclear law event

In due time, Unit 3 will be connected to the national electricity grid, and the operations team will continue with the process of gradually raising power levels, known as Power Ascension Testing (PAT).

Both Units 1 and 2 of the Barakah Plant are operating commercially, providing an abundant source of clean and reliable electricity 24/7, while Unit 4 is in the final stages of commissioning prior to the completion of construction. When fully operational, the plant will prevent 22.4 million tons of carbon emissions annually.

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