Barakah Unit 2 Back Online After Scheduled Maintenance Outage

Barakah Unit 2 Back Online After Scheduled Maintenance Outage

/ Renewables / Monday, 24 April 2023 13:02

Following 324 days of continuous commercial operations since March 2022, the teams at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant have successfully completed the refueling and maintenance outage for Unit 2 on time — a scheduled activity that takes place every 12–24 months or so, depending on the plant.

Unit 2 has now restarted and powered back up to run at full power, 24/7, for another year with zero carbon emissions. Units 1 and 3 continued to operate normally throughout this time, delivering clean electricity to the nation, according to state news agency WAM.

Since beginning commercial operations a little over a year ago, Unit 2 of the Barakah Plant has generated 10,402 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of clean electricity and prevented more than 5,000 kilotons of carbon emissions.

The plant has significantly contributed to the growing electricity needs of both Abu Dhabi, where the plant is located, and the nation, enabling the decarbonization of the wider power sector and facilitating the UAE’s goal of Net Zero emissions by 2050.

The refueling and maintenance process involves shutting down the reactor, implementing more than 8,000 planned maintenance activities, and replacing about a third of the fuel assemblies in the reactor core, with the remaining fuel reconfigured for optimal operations.

The plant’s operation team leveraged the experience gained from the refueling and maintenance of Unit 1 last year to streamline the process for Unit 2, according to the news report. The Emirati-led teams at Barakah continue to learn and build on the experience from conducting these scheduled outages, enabling enhanced outage delivery to bring each reactor back online safely, smoothly and as efficiently as possible.

Once commercially operational, the four units at Barakah are expected to generate up to 5,600 megawatts (MW) of clean electricity around the clock, equivalent to almost 40% of the UAE’s peak demand of about 15,000 MW during the hot summer months.

With three units operating at maximum capacity, Barakah already generates more than 80% of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s clean electricity. Barakah’s capabilities showcase that nuclear energy has already made significant headway in meeting peak demand with reliable, clean and abundant electricity.

The entire Plant is set to meet up to 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs, generating enough clean electricity to power up to 574,000 homes. In addition, it will support the UAE’s strategy for becoming a net exporter of LNG (liquefied natural gas) by 2030 by replacing local gas consumption with clean electricity from nuclear. Barakah will divert up to US$4 billion worth of natural gas annually, which can be used for other energy needs or for international export.

With COP28 set to be held in Dubai this November, Barakah is a proven modern case study for climate change solutions. The Plant is a significant part of a long-term, data-driven strategy that is today paying dividends for the nation.

According to climate action watchers, despite their 2015 pledge to limit global warming by slashing carbon emissions, big countries' commitments so far still fall short of meeting the targets of the Paris Agreement to be less than two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels — a target since tightened to 1.5C.

Conversely, while many other countries are revamping their nuclear power, Germany recently shut its last three nuclear reactors, exiting atomic power even as it seeks to wean itself off fossil fuels and manage an energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

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