Barakah Unit 1 achieves 100% power, operations to begin early 2021

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation’s (ENEC) operations and maintenance (O&M) subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company (Nawah) has achieved 100% of the rated reactor power capacity for Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, bringing the plant one step closer to commencing commercial operations, scheduled in early 2021.

Following the milestone, Unit 1 is now generating 1,400MW of electricity from a single generator connected to the UAE grid, making it the largest single source of electricity in the UAE.

The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is the largest source of clean baseload electricity in the country, capable of providing constant and reliable power sustainably. The achievement accelerates the decarbonisation of the UAE power sector, while also supporting the diversification of the country’s energy portfolio as it transitions to cleaner electricity sources.

Commenting on the milestone, CEO of ENEC, Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, said: “Unit 1 marks a new era for the power sector and the future of the clean carbon economy of the nation, with the largest source of electricity now being generated without any emissions.”

Nawah is responsible for operating Unit 1 and has been responsible for safely and steadily raising the power levels since it commenced the start-up process in July 2020, and later connected to the grid in August.

According to ENEC, achieving 100% power is one of the final steps of the Power Ascension Testing (PAT) phase of the start-up process for Unit 1.

In the next set of processes, Nawah’s nuclear operators will carry out a series of tests before the reactor has been safely shut down in preparation for the Check Outage. During this period, the Unit 1 systems will be carefully examined, and any planned or corrective maintenance will be performed to maintain its safety, reliability, and efficiency before the commencement of commercial operations.

Meanwhile, CEO of Nawah, Ali Al Hammadi, said: “This is a key achievement for the UAE, as we safely work through the start-up process for Unit 1 of the Barakah plant. Successfully reaching 100% of the rated power capacity in a safe and controlled manner, undertaken by our highly trained and certified nuclear operators, demonstrates our commitment to safe, secure, and sustainable operations as we now advance towards our final maintenance activities and prepare for commercial operations in 2021.”

The PAT of Unit 1 has been overseen by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), which has conducted 287 inspections since the start of Barakah’s development. These independent reviews have been conducted alongside more than 40 assessments and peer reviews by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO).

Located in the Al Dhafra region, the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is one of the largest nuclear energy new build projects in the world, with four APR-1400 units.

Construction of the plant began in 2012 and has progressed steadily ever since. Currently, construction work on Units 3 and 4 are in the final stages with 93% and 87% complete, respectively. Meanwhile, the construction of the Barakah Plant is now more than 95% complete.

Upon completion of all the four reactors, Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant will deliver clean, efficient, and reliable electricity to the UAE grid, providing around 25% of the country’s electricity and reducing up to 21 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

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