Utilities Middle East - - MARKET FOCUS -

With elec­tric­ity de­mand in the GCC grow­ing by 8 to %10 an­nu­ally, the re­gion is turn­ing to nu­clear to meet a twin chal­lenge - how to diver­sify its elec­tric­ity-gen­er­at­ing mix while re­duc­ing re­liance on fos­sil fu­els

The United Arab Emi­rates is mak­ing progress on the con­struc­tion of the first nu­clear power plant in the GCC re­gion. In July, the Emi­rates Nu­clear En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion (ENEC) an­nounced that the first nu­clear re­ac­tor would come on­line to start gen­er­at­ing elec­tric power in late 2019 or early 2020.

Con­struc­tion of the UAE’s sec­ond nu­clear power re­ac­tor is near­ing com­ple­tion with pre­op­er­a­tional test­ing well un­der­way. Pre-op­er­a­tional test­ing process in­cor­po­rates all lessons learned from the same test on Unit 1.

Con­struc­tion of Unit 2 be­gan in April 2013, one year af­ter Unit 1. Over­all con­struc­tion progress rate for the four Units is now more than 89%.

“Keep­ing con­struc­tion progress ap­prox­i­mately one year apart for each of the Units at Barakah makes it pos­si­ble for us to im­ple­ment all lessons learned from one Unit to the sub­se­quent ones, in line with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tices in the man­age­ment of megapro­jects,” says Mo­hamed Al Ham­madi, CEO of ENEC.

Hot func­tional test­ing takes place over a num­ber of weeks and con­sists of al­most 200 in­di­vid­ual and in­te­grated tests per­formed on ma­jor sys­tems to check their per­for­mance un­der nor­mal op­er­a­tional con­di­tions, with­out the pres­ence of nu­clear fuel in the re­ac­tor.

The test in­cludes the first time that most of the re­ac­tor’s sys­tems ex­pe­ri­ence the op­er­a­tional tem­per­a­ture of nearly 300 de­grees Cel­sius, ENEC said.

“The pre-op­er­a­tional com­mis­sion­ing phase of a nu­clear en­ergy plant is a com­plex and crit­i­cal step to­wards start­ing to op­er­ate the plant. It is es­sen­tial that it is tested un­der op­er­a­tional con­di­tions with­out nu­clear fuel to demon­strate that the high­est stan­dards of safety, se­cu­rity and qual­ity are achieved,” said Al Ham­madi.

All four units are ex­pected will save up to 21 mil­lion tons of car­bon emis­sions each year, equiv­a­lent to re­mov­ing 3.2 mil­lion cars from the roads.

Barakah One, the joint ven­ture be­tween ENEC and the Korea Elec­tric Power Cor­po­ra­tion rep­re­sent­ing the com­mer­cial and fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests of the project, said re­cently that it had re­ceived an elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion li­cence from the UAE’s Depart­ment of En­ergy (DoE).

The li­cence is a key reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ment be­fore the Barakah nu­clear en­ergy plant in Al Dhafra, Abu Dhabi, can start op­er­a­tions. Con­struc­tion of the $25bn project be­gan in 2011.

Nawah En­ergy Com­pany, ENEC and KEPCO’s op­er­at­ing and main­te­nance sub­sidiary, also needs to ob­tain an op­er­at­ing li­cense from the UAE’s Fed­eral Au­thor­ity for Nu­clear Reg­u­la­tion, which reg­u­lates the in­dus­try ac­cord­ing to in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, to get the go-ahead for startup.

“Barakah One Com­pany has demon­strated its com­mit­ment to all re­quire­ments,” says Awaidha Al Marar, the DoE chair­man.

“One of the strate­gic ob­jec­tives of the DoE is to guar­an­tee en­ergy se­cu­rity and suf­fi­cient sup­plies of en­ergy, thus we look for­ward to strength­en­ing our co­op­er­a­tion with ENEC and its sub­sidiaries

….. to meet the eco­nomic as­pi­ra­tions and needs of com­ing gen­er­a­tions.”

The UAE is the first coun­try in the re­gion to have un­der­taken the project of gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity from nu­clear en­ergy -- one of the best so­lu­tions for the pro­duc­tion of clean and ef­fi­cient power to sup­port UAE’s eco­nomic growth and

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