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UAE nuclear programme reaches new heights

Milestones include the completion of the 2,000 tonne containment liner plate for the Reactor Containment Building (RCB) including placement of the upper dome, lifting the pressuriser into place and lifting the roof frame for the Unit 2 main control room

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The iconic upper dome is the most recognisable portion of the reactor containment building
The iconic upper dome is the most recognisable portion of the reactor containment building

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has announced the completion of several major construction milestones on Unit 2 of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant (Barakah NPP), part of the UAE nuclear programme.

Major accomplishments include the completion of the 2,000 tonne containment liner plate for the Reactor Containment Building (RCB) including placement of the upper dome, lifting the pressuriser into place and lifting the roof frame for the Unit 2 main control room.

The successful completion of these milestones continues ENEC’s progress toward the safe and quality-driven delivery of the project to build four nuclear energy units in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi by 2020.

“Progress of Unit 2 at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant continues to proceed safely and in adherence to the highest quality standards,” said Mohamed Al Hammadi, ENEC CEO. “Each unit’s progression remains scheduled at approximately 12 months apart.

This allows our highly skilled workforce to move efficiently and deliberately through their tasks to ensure the safe and timely delivery of the entire project.”

“These milestones for Unit 2 are part of the defence-in-depth safety features in the design. The ongoing collaboration and commitment to safety and quality, seen in all our employees and contractors, is one of the great achievements of our programme. I am pleased with how this progress shows how effectively we are driving the commitments of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme through all levels of the organisation,” said Mr. Al Hammadi.

The containment liner plate is a cylindrical steel shell that forms the inner wall, ceiling and floor lining of the reinforced concrete reactor containment building. The cylindrical liner plate structure measures nearly 60 metres in height (77 metres including dome) and 45 metres in diameter. The component has to be constructed in multiple stages and parts, including 19 separate liner rings – each 3 metres in height – to complete the 2,000 tonne structure.

The process took approximately 15 months to complete with a team of more than 240 construction workers and supervisors.
The containment building and associated liner plate houses the reactor vessel itself. Over the coming months, ENEC’s construction team will continue to cover the containment liner plate in concrete to complete the reactor containment building structure.

The iconic upper dome is the most recognisable portion of the reactor containment building. The steel-reinforced concrete structure goes through a pre-stressed post-tensioned construction process to function as the third radiological protective barrier, in addition to the fuel rods and reactor coolant system.

The pressuriser weighs nearly 140 tonnes and is 2.6 metres wide and more than 16 metres in length. It has been lifted into position and represents one of the last major Reactor Coolant System (RCS) components placed inside the RCB for assembly over the coming months. The pressuriser maintains the pressure within the RCS -- a major function within a Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) such as the APR-1400 design being constructed at Barakah.

When completed, the four reactors at Barakah will have a combined generating capacity of approximately 5,600 MW and will supply nearly one-quarter of electricity demand in the UAE.

Barakah Unit 1 is more than 81% complete and Unit 2 is almost 60% complete. ENEC is currently working to obtain the approval of the Operating License from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) for Units 1 and 2 and is responding to Requests for Additional Information (RAI) from the regulator to proceed to operate the first two Units.

The UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme is scheduled to be complete by 2020, when Unit 4 is connected to the grid and provide the UAE with emissions-free electricity to power the future growth of the nation.

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