The 5,600MW Barakah nuclear power plant (NPP) in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is the first nuclear power project being developed in United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is being constructed approximately 53km west-southwest of the city of Ruwais, by Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
The groundbreaking ceremony for the $32bn project, which will consist of four units of 1,400MW each, was held in March 2011. Construction of unit 1 started in July 2012 following receipt of construction license from the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and environmental approval from the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.
It is expected that the first unit will come online in 2017, while all the four units are predicted to be operational by 2020. The project is expected to deliver up to a quarter of the nation’s electricity needs and save approximately 12 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year, when fully-commissioned.
Barakah nuclear power plant background
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ENEC submitted the site preparation license for the four units at Barakah and limited construction license application to FANR in April 2010. The construction licence application for units 1 and 2 was submitted in December 2010 and was approved by FANR in July 2012.
ENEC submitted the construction license application for units 3 and 4 to FANR in February 2013 and the same was approved in September 2014.
The operating license application (OLA) for the first two units was filed with FANR in March 2015.
Barakah NPP reactors
The nuclear power plant will be equipped with APR1400 nuclear reactor technology, which was developed by the Korean nuclear industry under the leadership of KEPCO. Reactor design is based on the System 80+ design, which is certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in the US.
The reactor is licensed by the Korean nuclear safety regulator, the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS), and is expected to have a lifespan of 60 years.
The Advanced Power Reactor 1400 MW (APR-1400) is an advanced pressurised water nuclear reactor designed by the Korea Electric Power company. It is an upgraded version of OPR1000, the Optimum Power Reactor 1000MW, the first standard pressurised water reactor (PWR) plant in Korea.
The APR1400 reactor consists of advanced features such as direct vessel injection from the safety injection system, passive flow regulation device in the safety injection tank, in-containment refuelling water supply system, and systems for severe accident mitigation and management.
The reactor features two steam generators, which will transfer the heat of 4,000MW from the reactor coolant system to the secondary system. This secondary system will produce steam that will drive the turbine-generator, which in turn will produce a net electrical power of 1,400MW.
The plant is designed to withstand earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or higher on the Richter scale.
Construction of Barakah nuclear power plant
Construction works started with the laying of first nuclear safety concrete for the unit 1 in July 2012. As of March 2015, the unit 1 construction was more than 69% completed. Fabrication and installation of the containment liner plate (CLP) of the reactor containment building was completed in November 2013.
ENEC installed the condenser in February 2014 and the first reactor vessel (RV) in May 2014. Construction of the reactor containment building (RCB) began in July 2012 with the fabrication of the basemat, and the construction of concrete dome for RCB was completed in January 2015.
Construction of the unit 2 began in May 2013 and is expected to be completed in 2018, while that of unit 3 started in September 2014 and is expected to be completed in 2019. The unit 4 is expected to witness first concrete pouring in September 2015 and come online in 2020.
Fuel supply for UAE’s first nuclear power plant
ENEC signed supply contracts with France’s Areva and Russia’s Techsnabexport (Tenex) for the supply of uranium concentrates along with providing conversion and enrichment services.
Uranium One and Rio Tinto were contracted for the supply of natural uranium for the plant. Converdyn will provide conversion services, while Urenco will provide enrichment services.
The enriched uranium will be supplied to Kepco Nuclear Fuels for manufacturing the fuel assemblies for use at the Barakah nuclear plant.
Barakah plant financing
The US Export-Import Bank approved $2bn in financing for the plant in September 2012.
-Contractors involved with Barakah nuclear power plant
ENEC awarded a $20.4bn contract to the consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) for the design, construction and operation of four APR1400 nuclear power units at the Barakah NPP in December 2009.
The consortium comprises Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), Hyundai, Samsung, Doosan, Korea Power Engineering Company (KOPEC), Korea Nuclear Fuel (KNF), and Korea Plant Service and Engineering (KPS).
“It is expected that the first unit will come online in 2017.”
KHNP is in charge of the operating support services and cooperative businesses, while KEPCO Engineering & Construction (KEPCO E&C) was awarded the subcontract for providing plant design, architecture and engineering works.
Doosan was entrusted with the construction and management of the nuclear steam supply system (NSSS), steam generator, and other related components. Hyundai and Samsung are responsible for the civil engineering works, while Westinghouse was engaged for providing technical assistance and license-related works. KNF will supply the nuclear fuel, which will be maintained by KPS.
Hilal Bil Badi and Partners Contracting (HILALCO), a local company, was contracted for developing critical water intake structures for the project. The reinforced concrete structures will provide cooling water for the turbine condensers and heat exchangers in the turbine generator building.
Bechtel is providing design and project management support services to KEPCO E&C, a subsidiary of KEPCO.
United Arab Emirates is developing its first nuclear power project at Barakah site in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Licence to construct two nuclear power reactor units at the Barakah site was granted by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) of UAE in July 2012.
Units 1 and 2 of the Barakah NPP are expected to come online in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano visited the under-construction Barakah nuclear power plant on 29 January 2013.
Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction is the manufacturer and supplier of nuclear steam supply system and turbine assemblies for the project.
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