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ENEC seeks operating license for nuclear plant

Company files application with FANR for Barakah units 1 and 2.

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Mohamed Al Hammadi, delivers the OLA to FANR Director General, William Travers
Mohamed Al Hammadi, delivers the OLA to FANR Director General, William Travers

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has filed the Operating License Application (OLA) for Barakah Units 1 & 2 with the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).

The submittal follows a five year-long process in which ENEC and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), the Prime Contractor of ENEC’s program, documented the safety of the planned operations and maintenance of the Barakah plant and its adherence to the highest standards of safety, quality and security.

“This is a very important stage in the development of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program,” said Mohamed Al Hammadi, ENEC’s CEO.

“The successful and on-time submission of this OLA is a crucial milestone in our journey to becoming fully operational in 2017, and delivering on our mission to connect safe, clean and reliable nuclear energy to fuel the country’s continued growth.”

ENEC’s submission, on behalf of its operating entity, seeks a FANR license to safely operate and maintain the UAE’s first two nuclear energy plants, which are currently under construction at Barakah, in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi.

The OLA, which is approximately 15,000 pages in length, took an extensive team of ENEC and KEPCO employees, in addition to a number of international experts approximately five years to complete - with preparations beginning following the organization’s successful Construction License Application (CLA) to FANR for Units 1 & 2 in 2010.

“The submission is the culmination of many years of work by ENEC and KEPCO,” said Al Hammadi. “It is proof of the organization’s successful transformation into a world-class nuclear operating company, capable of reliably operating and maintaining the country’s first nuclear fleet to the highest international standards.”

The application has now been submitted for evaluation by FANR and its team of international nuclear energy experts who will commence an in-depth examination process.

During the comprehensive examination, ENEC will respond to FANR’s requests for additional information on the OLA as its team reviews the application and the licensing process continues.

ENEC is aiming to receive an Operating License for Barakah Unit 1 in 2016, in time for the scheduled start of commercial operations in 2017.

Approval for the Barakah Unit 2 Operating License is anticipated to follow in 2017. ENEC’s application seeks a license to operate both plants for 60 years - the expected operating life of ENEC’s chosen APR1400 plant design.

The OLA submission builds on earlier work done by ENEC in 2010 towards the submission for the Construction License Application (CLA). The final completed OLA submission consists of a collection of key documents including ENEC’s Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR), an independent Safety Verification and Design Review, details of the organization’s Physical Protection Plan (PPP), Facility Safeguards Plan (FSP), Operational Quality Assurance Manual, and Emergency Plan, in addition to a Probabilistic Risk Assessment Summary Report and a Severe Accident Analysis Report (SAAR).

The submission also includes a Safety Assessment Report for Barakah NPP which builds on the comprehensive nine-month safety design review that was submitted to FANR in December 2011 following the event of the event at Fukushima Daiichi.

This review formed part of ENEC’s CLA submission, and while the results of the review found ENEC’s plant to be very robust, additional design enhancements were made to further improve plant safety margins. This report provides updated information and further analyses results, as well as detailed lessons learned from the accident at Fukushima Daiichi.

In addition to the above, in January 2015 ENEC provided FANR with some advance information related to the OLA for the purposes of familiarising itself ahead of the upcoming application. This included details of the organization’s Operational Integrated Management System, in addition to some advanced chapters of the FSAR on Conduct of Operations and Management of Safety and ENEC’s Quality Assurance Program.

In advance of the OLA submission, ENEC has also applied to FANR for two separate licenses related to the import, receipt, and possession of radioactive and nuclear materials, which were submitted to FANR for approval earlier this year. ENEC anticipates receiving these licenses well in advance of the scheduled first fuel load for the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program, which is expected to take place in 2016.

Programme Update

Construction of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant is progressing safely and steadily, with Unit 1 now more than 69 percent complete and scheduled for completion in 2017. Additional units will follow at 12 month intervals, with the fourth unit set to commence commercial operations in 2020, pending regulatory approvals.

Upon completion, the four APR-1400 units will boast a combined capacity of approximately 5,600 MW and will be capable of generating approximately 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs while saving up to 12 million tons of carbon emissions every year.

By 2020, ENEC will need approximately 2,000 highly trained personnel – the operators, engineers, technicians and support staff responsible for leading safe operations at ENEC’s four plants in Barakah. In parallel to its large-scale construction program, ENEC is focused on developing the highly skilled nuclear energy workforce required to meet the needs of this growing industry and ensure the safe and successful operation of its plants.

To date, ENEC has more than 1400 staff and the organization’s comprehensive Energy Pioneers human capacity development program ensures that the organization attracts the best and brightest and continues to invest in its people throughout their careers with world-class training and development opportunities.

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