Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has successfully completed a significant pre-operational testing process on Unit 2 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, it was announced on Monday.
The Hot Functional Testing (HFT) incorporated all lessons learnt from the same test on Unit 1 in order to achieve the highest international standards of quality, safety and efficiency.
ENEC worked closely with the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), the joint venture partner and prime contractor for the Barakah project, and under the observation of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), the UAE’s independent nuclear regulatory body, to achieve this major milestone in the testing and commissioning of Unit 2.
“We are proud to have maintained our track record of safety and efficiency with the successful completion of Hot Functional Testing on Unit 2. By incorporating the lessons learnt from the same tests on Unit 1, we continue to establish Barakah as the benchmark for new nuclear construction projects worldwide,” said Engineer Mohammad Al Hammadi, CEO of ENEC.
HFT 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 and operational pressure of more than 150 kilograms per square centimetre, which is the equivalent of 1,500 metres below water. It is also the first time that the turbine is spun at its maximum speed of 1,500 revolutions per minute (RPM), demonstrating its readiness to operate once the reactor starts up for normal operations.
“This most recent round of testing ensures that Unit 2’s systems and components are on track to reliably and safely perform their intended functions when the plant becomes operational. 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,” added Al Hammadi.
Construction of Unit 2 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant began in April 2013, one year after Unit 1. All four units at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant are progressing safely and steadily, with Unit 1 construction completed and turned over to Nawah for preparation to operate, pending regulatory approval.
As of end of June 2018, the construction progress rate of Unit 2 of the Barakah Plant is 93 per cent and overall construction progress rate for the four units now more than 89 per cent. All four units will deliver safe, clean, reliable and efficient electricity to the UAE grid, and prevent the release of more than 21 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emission every year.