Abu Dhabi: The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant will start operating during the first quarter of 2020, making the UAE the first Arab country to have a nuclear energy technology to produce electricity, reported Al Ittihad, the government-owned Arabic-language newspaper, on Tuesday.

Located at Al Dhfrah region, Abu Dhabi, Barakah’s first reactor is currently undergoing operational tests and preparations, and is set to obtain an operating license from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation. The plant will then start loading nuclear fuel, begin generating power, and ramp up to full commercial operation within several months, the newspaper reported.

According to the report, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) is about to move from construction to the testing phase at the second reactor. The second stage will include the turnover of all plant systems to Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) (a subsidiary of KEPCO) for testing and commissioning, in preparation for safety-led nuclear operations.

Work is also underway to complete the thermal performance test at the third reactor, which is one of the most important tests that precede the operational stage. This test comes after successfully completing the Structural Integrity Test (SIT) and Integrated Leak Rate Test (ILRT).

As for the fourth reactor, arrangements are being put in place to complete the main construction work, in preparations for the main tests.