First Barakah unit is connected to grid

August 20, 2020, 9:22AMNuclear News

Nawah Energy Company, in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Transmission and Despatch Company (TRANSCO), has connected Unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear power plant to the United Arab Emirates’ power grid, according to an August 19 announcement from Nawah’s parent company, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).

Barakah, located in the Al Dhafrah Region of Abu Dhabi, houses four 1,345-MWe APR-1400 pressurized water reactors. Unit 1 achieved first criticality earlier this month.

What they’re saying: “The safe and successful connection of Unit 1 to the UAE grid marks the key moment when we begin to deliver on our mission to power the growth of the nation by supplying clean electricity, around the clock,” said Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, chief executive officer of ENEC. “Grid connection of Unit 1 really is the beginning of a new era in our project, which is built upon years of preparation and adherence to the highest international safety and quality standards. We are confident in our people and our technology to continue to progress to reach commercial operations and the completion of the remaining three units, with the goal to power up to 25 percent of the UAE’s electricity needs for at least the next 60 years.”

Al Hammadi also acknowledged ENEC’s prime contractor and partner on the Barakah project, the Korea Electric Power Corporation, for its efforts, as well as TRANSCO, for the construction of 952 kilometers (about 590 miles) of 400kV overhead lines.

“TRANSCO plays an important role in facilitating a more sustainable energy future for the UAE,” said Afif Saif Al Yafei, the company’s CEO. “As the country forges ahead with utility-scale clean energy projects, TRANSCO continues to ensure these projects can effectively integrate with our existing network infrastructure to provide a secure and stable supply of power to the community. The integration of Unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear energy plant is an important step toward increasing clean energy generation capacity to the grid.”

Next: With the completion of grid synchronization, reactor operators will begin the process of gradually raising Unit 1’s power levels, known as power ascension testing. The testing will be conducted under the oversight of the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, which has conducted more than 280 inspections since the start of Barakah’s development, according to ENEC.

ENEC recently announced the completion of construction of Unit 2, with operational readiness preparations now under way by Nawah. Barakah-3 and -4 are in the final stages of construction, ENEC said, with Unit 3 at 93 percent completion and Unit 4 at 86 percent.

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