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Ducab builds cables to last for UAE nuclear plants

Ducab overcomes challenges to make cables that should last 60 years.

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Jon Vail: It took time and effort to develop cables for the UAE's nuclear plants.
Jon Vail: It took time and effort to develop cables for the UAE's nuclear plants.

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Ducab has been discussing the challenges involved in creating its range of 60-year-certified cables to be used at the UAE’s first nuclear energy plant. The UAE has four plants under construction at Barakah in the Western region.

“ENEC [Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation] have increased the specification requirements for their cables. They need cables that can be proven to have a 60 year life expectancy. No one in the world offers 60 year life cables for the nuclear industry, so Ducab has worked with ENEC to develop that specific range,” said Jon Vail, chief executive officer for Ducab HV.

The cables were rigorously tested in Canada before being manufactured here in the UAE.

“It’s taken a huge amount of time and effort with long term ageing testing being done in Canada. This involved the development of materials as well as the development of cable making techniques. We now have a product that is certifiable for 60 year life, which is a world’s first,” he said.

Ducab experienced a number of key challenges in trying to create cables capable of withstanding 60 years wear and tear. 

“The environment here is pretty tough for cabling. You will have difficulty with any cables that are exposed to the atmosphere, particularly UV radiation and heat from the sun, and the Middle East has got those in abundance,” he said. 

Having successfully tested the product, the first containment of cables was delivered to the $20 billion nuclear site at Barakah in March 2014.

Nuclear power is set to play a more prominent role in the energy mix as the UAE looks to diversify its energy portfolio away from oil & gas.

The Barakah plant is to be divided into four separate units. The first unit is scheduled to begin generating power in 2017, with a new unit being opened every year until 2020. Each of the four distinct units is expected to yield 1400 mw of electricity by 2020.

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