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Regulatory certification granted to first group of operators for UAE’s Barakah nuclear power plant

Certification of the 15 senior reactor operators and reactor operators ensures their competence to operate the nuclear plant

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Nuclear, Christer Viktorsson, Nawah Energy Company

The United Arab Emirates' Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) has officially certified Nawah Energy's first group of operators for the Barakah nuclear power plant. Certification of operators is a key requirement for the issue of the plant's operating licence.

Certification of the 15 senior reactor operators and reactor operators, ensuring their competence to operate the nuclear plant, was described by FANR Director General Christer Viktorsson as a "major milestone" for the UAE nuclear energy programme.

"FANR has played a critical role to certify the reactor operators and verifying their competence and readiness to operate the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in accordance with the highest standards of safety to ensure the protection of the public and the environment," he said.

The group has completed a three-year training programme developed by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) and its operations and maintenance subsidiary Nawah Energy Company according to FANR regulations. The programme, which was verified and inspected throughout by FANR, included hands-on experience as well as a discipline-focused curriculum, with the first group of operators having the opportunity to train in South Africa, South Korea and the USA as well as the UAE.

FANR said it will verify Nawah's refresher training programme every two years, including provision for periodic confirmation of operator competency in line with regulatory requirements.

Nawah CEO Mark Reddemann said: "The training and education that the operators have received is of the highest international standard, and supports our objectives of ensuring a world-class, safety and quality led approach towards operations at Barakah."

Four Korean-designed APR-1400 units are being built for Enec at Barakah, in the Dhafrah region of Abu Dhabi, by a consortium led by the Korean Electric Power Company (Kepco). Construction began on the first unit in July 2012, unit 2 in May 2013, unit 3 in September 2014 and unit 4 in September 2015.

Construction of Barakah 1 was completed in 2018 and the unit is now undergoing commissioning and testing prior to receipt of an operating licence, which is needed before fuel loading can begin. FANR said today it is currently in the "final stages" of reviewing the operating licence application.

Overall construction of the four Barakah units is now over 93% complete.

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