Construction begins on nuclear power plant in the UAE

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. (ENEC) officially started construction of the UAE’s first nuclear energy plant July 18 by pouring the first nuclear safety concrete for Barakah Unit 1.

This milestone follows the receipt of the construction license from the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and a No Objection Certificate from Abu Dhabi’s environmental regulator, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD). According to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) data, the UAE is the first "newcomer" country in 31 years to authorize the construction of its first nuclear power plant since China did so in 1981.

ENEC poured more than 1,500 cubic meters of concrete to form a portion of the foundation slab of the Barakah Unit 1 Reactor Containment Building, which will house a 1,400 MW APR1400 reactor design from the Korea Electric Power Corp.

In preparation for the safety concrete pouring, ENEC had carried out a number of activities on-site under its limited construction license. Excavation for Units 1 & 2, dredging for the intake and outfall channels, construction of the marine breakwaters, wharf construction, excavation and construction of the cooling water ducts and foundations for the safety related concrete were prepared. This included the installation of cathodic protection, layers of lean leveling concrete with waterproofing, structural rebar, embedment’s, piping, conduit, grounding cable and sump liners.

The next phase of construction will include the continued pouring of concrete for the reactor containment building, auxiliary building, turbine building and cooling water structures.

Construction of Barakah Unit 1 will take five years, with the plant expected to become operational in 2017, subject to further regulatory review.

ENEC will apply for an Operating License for Unit 1 in 2015 and will pour concrete for Unit 2 in 2013. ENEC is building a total of four Units at the Barakah site. The first unit will be operational in 2017, with one additional unit becoming operational each year up to 2020.

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