Abu Dhabi: With the completion of connecting Unit 1 of Barakah Nuclear Power Plant to the UAE’s electricity grid, the next step will be to closely monitor the safety of the nuclear plant according to the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), with the body confirming that all inspections and checks had been completed before giving the go ahead.
“FANR confirms that Nawah Energy Company (Nawah), the operator, has met all regulatory requirements to initiate this phase. The milestone follows extensive oversight, including regular inspection, to ensure the safety and security of the nuclear power plant,” the group said in a statement.
“The connection of Unit 1 to the grid follows the successful completion of numerous safety tests conducted after the start-up of the plant, and with the continued oversight of FANR.”
The regulatory body said its extensive oversight to this point has included regular inspections as well as checking the nuclear plant’s emergency preparedness, which it says will continue to carry out as part of this new phase, ensuring all operations at the site go smoothly
“FANR is continuously verifying the emergency preparedness and response system as well as monitoring the environment through independent monitoring stations around the nuclear power plant and its environmental laboratory.
“The phase is another historic milestone for the UAE nuclear energy programme, which will lead to the full commercial operation of Unit 1 planned later this year.
“Following the grid connection phase, FANR will continue conducting its regulatory oversight and inspection during this phase, and subsequent phases including full commercial operation to ensure the safety and security of the nuclear power plant as part of its mission to protect the public, workers and environment,” the regulator said.
Timeline of UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy programme
-2008: UAE issued its nuclear policy in 2008
-2009: Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) established. FANR regulates the nuclear sector in the UAE, while the ENEC owns and deploys nuclear power plants
-2010: ENEC submits construction license application for the country’s first nuclear power plant
-2012: Construction license for Barakah Units 1 and 2 issued. Barakah Nuclear Power Plant is world’s biggest nuclear construction project
-2013: Construction works begin on Unit 2 reactor. Construction license for Barakah Units 3 and 4 issued
-2015: Operating license application for Units 1 and 2 submitted
-2017: Operating license application for Units 3 and 4 submitted
-2018: FANR certifies first and second groups of senior reactors operators
-February 2020: FANR issues operating license for Unit 1
-July 2020: ENEC successfully completes the construction of Unit 2, and hands it over to Nawah Energy Company, ENEC’s operating and maintenance subsidiary.
-August 2020: Nawah successfully connects Unit 1 to the UAE electricity grid, dispatching nuclear plant’s first megawatts of clean electricity.