UAE Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (Fanr) has issued a 60-year operating licence for the second reactor at Abu Dhabi’s Barakah nuclear energy plant.

Nawah Energy Company (Nawah), the operations and maintenance subsidiary of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec), will now undertake the final commissioning phase to prepare for the commercial operation of the plant’s Unit 2.

The process could take up to one year.

Construction works on Unit 2 were completed in July.

Unit 2 completed hot functional testing (HFT) in August 2018, and structural integrity testing (SIT) and integrated leak rate testing (ILRT) in March 2019.

Enec and Nawah submitted to Fanr the 14,000-page operating licence application for the plant’s first unit in 2015. The 60-year licence was only issued in February 2020.

Unit one full power capacity

The plant’s first reactor achieved 100 per cent power capacity in December, bringing it a step closer to its commercial operations, scheduled this year.

Testing has allowed the plant’s unit one to generate 1,400MW of electricity from a single generator connected to the UAE grid, Abu Dhabi-based Enec said on 7 December.

“The milestone accelerates the decarbonisation of the UAE power sector, while also supporting the diversification of the UAE’s energy portfolio as it transitions to cleaner electricity sources,” Enec said in December.

Construction of Barakah nuclear energy plant began in 2012. Construction of units three and four is in the final stages, with 93% and 87% completion recorded, respectively.

Each of the four reactors has the capacity to generate 1,400MW of electricity.

Once operational, the four reactors will provide 25% of the country’s electricity.

They are expected to prevent the release of up to 21 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually, which is equivalent to taking 3.2 million cars off the roads each year.

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