Under the patronage of Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, ENEC, yesterday celebrated a key milestone for the UAE's peaceful nuclear energy programme, as Barakah becomes the world's leading nuclear energy construction site with four identical reactors being safely constructed simultaneously in one site.
The milestone was achieved following the commencement of nuclear-related construction (regulated construction activity related directly to the reactor, containment building and supporting structures) for Unit 4, the UAE's fourth nuclear energy reactor. ENEC's Construction License for Units 3 and 4 was approved by the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation, FANR, in September 2014.
With the construction of four identical nuclear energy reactors now underway, Barakah surpasses nuclear construction sites in China, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Russia and other countries to become the largest project with simultaneous construction of identical nuclear technology in the world.
During the event, the Minister, along with ENEC's Board of Directors and key Government officials, performed a site visit to receive an update given by ENEC CEO, Mohamed Al Hammadi, on the company's programme to deliver safe, clean and reliable nuclear electricity in 2017. The visit included an exclusive tour of the four Barakah units, as well as an update on ENEC's Culture of Safety and specific demonstrations on how the organisation prioritises the safety and quality of all work performed at the site.
Following this, the delegation attended an official ceremony to mark Barakah as the world's leading nuclear energy construction site. The ceremony was headed by Al Mazrouei, who unveiled a plaque to commemorate the significant milestone. The delegation then met with the ENEC Chief Programme Office team, which manages the sophisticated construction project.
"I am extremely proud to be here today at Barakah to witness this momentous occasion as ENEC enters a new phase of development by delivering the only nuclear energy construction site in the world to have four identical nuclear reactors underway simultaneously," said Suhail Al Mazrouei. "Nuclear energy will play a critical role in the provision of sustainable energy to power the future of the UAE and, while the pace and sophistication of this historic programme continues to grow, I am consistently impressed to see ENEC deliver its project to the highest international standards of safety, quality and performance. This approach ensures the long-term sustainability of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme."
Since its inception in 2009, ENEC has focused on the safe delivery of the UAE's peaceful nuclear energy programme, expertly managing the complexity of the site development to ensure that all construction work meets the highest standards of safety and quality.
"With the commencement of nuclear-related construction for Unit 4, ENEC becomes project manager for the world's leading nuclear construction site," said Al Hammadi. "We now have more than 18,000 staff at Barakah working diligently to safely deliver on our mission to connect safe, clean, reliable and efficient nuclear energy to the UAE in 2017. As our programme continues to gain momentum, this is a role we take on with great pride and responsibility, and as always, safety remains our overriding priority."
The complex and extensive construction programme underway at Barakah is the key focus of ENEC's Culture of Safety efforts. The organisation is committed to ensuring all activities are performed with safety top of mind at all times, to be certain the site remains a safe workplace for thousands of employees every day. Earlier this year, ENEC received the top award in the "Building Risk Management Capability" category at the Institute of Risk Management's 2015 Global Risk Awards. This award showed ENEC's commitment to the highest international standards for safety, quality and risk management.
As part of the organisation's commitment to safety, ENEC has also established a rigorous independent Quality Assurance, QA, programme to ensure that the UAE's first nuclear power plants are constructed, commissioned and operated in line with the best industry practices, governing codes and standards, regulations and license requirements. To date, ENEC has dedicated more than 41,000 man-hours to quality audits for all aspects of its programme.
ENEC's QA programme is applied to all aspects of its work and regular training sessions, assessments and audits are conducted to ensure the organisation's high standards are being met and continually improved upon. Importantly, the QA programme applies not just to ENEC, but to every contractor and subcontractor involved in the programme, the entire supply chain. The programme is documented in ENEC's QA Manual, which outlines the quality requirements and responsibilities for all activities conducted by or on behalf of ENEC, including oversight of its prime contractor, Korea Electric Power Corporation, KEPCO, as well as subcontractors and suppliers.
Ahead of the start of official construction for Unit 4, preparation works for ENEC's fourth reactor were carried out under a separate license over the previous seven months. The extensive preparation included lean-concrete to provide a mud-mat, waterproofing, cathodic protection and reinforcing steel installation. Construction of the Reactor Containment Building, RCB, will be completed over the next 36 months, with Unit 4 on track to enter commercial operations in 2020 following the completion of ENEC's first three reactors. ENEC must apply for a separate operating license before plant operations can begin.
Since the beginning of its programme, ENEC has illustrated its ability and commitment to meeting the ambitious milestones of the UAE's policy on the development of nuclear energy. To date, 13 key project contract milestones have been delivered safely and on time, and the organisation remains focused on the safe and on-schedule achievement of its next major programme milestone, the first fuel load for Unit 1 in 2016. This critical programme milestone will see the alignment of the organisation to ensure that construction, operations and all necessary support functions are coordinated and running efficiently in order to safely receive the UAE's first batch of nuclear fuel.
The UAE's first nuclear energy plant is located at Barakah in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, about 50 kilometres west of Ruwais. Unit 1 is now 75% percent complete and all four units are more than 50% percent complete. By 2020, ENEC's team will be responsible for the operations of four nuclear energy units that are expected to provide up to a quarter of the nation's electricity needs and to save up to 12 million tons of carbon emissions every year. In 2017, ENEC's first unit is scheduled for completion, with additional units following at 12-month intervals. Unit 4 is set to commence commercial operations in 2020, pending regulatory reviews and licensing. –End-
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