UAE nu­clear plant op­er­a­tor ‘yet to meet li­cense re­quire­ments’

Arab News - - BUSINESS -

ABU DHABI: The com­pany that will run the UAE’s first nu­clear re­ac­tor, due to start up this year, is not ready to get its op­er­at­ing li­cense yet, the coun­try’s reg­u­la­tor said.

UAE is build­ing four nu­clear re­ac­tors in what is one of the world’s largest nu­clear new­build projects and will be the first nu­clear re­ac­tor in the Gulf, but last year the startup of the first re­ac­tor was de­layed by a year to 2018 be­cause the op­er­at­ing com­pany was not ready.

Lo­cal com­pany Nawah, a joint ven­ture be­tween Korea Elec­tric Power Cor­po­ra­tion — which is build­ing the four APR-1400 re­ac­tors — and Emi­rates Nu­clear En­ergy Com­pany (ENEC), will op­er­ate the four re­ac­tors.

Af­ter ENEC said in May 2017 that the startup of the first re­ac­tor would be de­layed by a year be­cause Nawah was not ready to get a li­cense, the UAE’s en­ergy min­is­ter said in Septem­ber that the re­ac­tor would def­i­nitely be op­er­a­tional in 2018.

But Chris­ter Vik­tors­son, director-gen­eral of UAE’s Fed­eral Author­ity for Nu­clear Reg­u­la­tion (FANR), told reporters on Tues­day that while the re­ac­tor was al­most tech­ni­cally ready, the reg­u­la­tor could not yet is­sue an op­er­at­ing li­cense to Nawah and could not say when the firm would get its li­cense.

“It is hard to say when they (Nawah) will be ready,” Vik­tors­son said when asked whether the li­cense would be is­sued this year.

“It is a very com­plex process. The or­ga­ni­za­tional as­pect is more im­por­tant than the tech­ni­cal as­pect,” he said.

Be­fore FANR is­sues an op­er­at­ing li­cense it needs to be con­fi­dent not only that the re­ac­tor meets the high­est tech­ni­cal and safety stan­dards, but also that all Nawah’s staff have been trained in run­ning the re­ac­tor un­der all cir­cum­stances and can han­dle any emer­gen­cies.

The four-re­ac­tor Barakah nu­clear plant will have to­tal ca­pac­ity of 5,600 MW and will sup­ply about a quar­ter of the UAE’s elec­tric­ity when it is fully op­er­a­tional in 2020.

In Septem­ber, the UAE said the sec­ond and third re­ac­tors were 86 per­cent and 76 per­cent com­plete, while the fourth was 54 per­cent done.

The four-re­ac­tor Barakah nu­clear plant will sup­ply about a quar­ter of the UEA’s elec­tric­ity when it is fully op­er­a­tional. (Reuters)

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