The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has said that the first unit of the Barakah nuclear facility, which is being developed in Abu Dhabi, is more than 57 per cent complete.
Construction on the second unit is also underway with the entire project progressing on time and budget, the UAE’s nuclear agency said in a statement.
The four units will be commercially operational within four successive years with Unit 1 scheduled to enter commercial operations in 2017. The fourth and the final unit will be ready for commercial use in 2020, ENEC added.
Recently, the nuclear agency also received approval from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) to begin construction of Units 3 and 4. The granting of construction license followed a rigourous review by the regulator and a team of other energy experts.
In May 2014, ENEC took the delivery of the first Reactor Vessel (RV), which is one of the largest components in a nuclear energy plant. It also acts as one of the many defense-in-depth barriers to ensure safety of the plant. Controlled nuclear reactions occurring inside the vessel release energy that is then converted into electricity.
ENEC also installed one of the largest condensers in the Middle East in the facility earlier this year, the statement said.
A condenser is a critical component used in all types of power plants and plays an important role in the generation of electricity, cooling steam back into water for the turbine generation process to repeat continuously.
The four reactors being developed by ENEC will provide approximately 25 per cent of the UAE’s electricity needs, saving up to 12 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
The country’s nuclear energy programme is expected to generate electricity at one-third the cost of traditional oil fired power plants, while helping the UAE to save more of its liquefied natural gas production for exports.