First UAE nuclear plant on track for 2017 start

ENEC boss al-Hammadi says first 1,400MW reactor at Barakah is now 61% complete.

The first rector at Barakah
The first rector at Barakah

The first of four reactors being built at the UAE’s Barakah nuclear power plant is 61% complete and on track to start up in 2017, Reuters reports.

The $20bn project is expected to provide 24% of the UAE's energy by 2020, when all four reactors come onstream, ENEC's chief executive Mohamed al-Hammadi told a conference on Monday.

In December 2009, the UAE awarded a group led by Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) a contract to build four 1,400 megawatt nuclear reactors to meet surging demand for electricity.

The plant's second reactor, which was approved by the UAE regulator in 2012 alongside the first one, is over 50% complete, Hammadi said.

Approvals for reactors 3 and 4 were given in October this year, with concrete pouring already started for unit 3 and expected for unit 4 by next year.

The UAE is the first Gulf Arab state to start building a nuclear power plant to generate energy. It awarded $3bn in contracts to six foreign firms in 2012 to supply fuel for the project for the first 15 years of operations.

Hammadi said ENEC was still considering options for the safe storage of spent fuel. "Different options are being weighed - short-term, medium- term and long-term, as well as a fuel lease option," he said without giving details.


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