The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) of the United Arab Emirates has granted the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) a licence to construct two nuclear power reactor units at its proposed Barakah site in the Western Region of the Abu Dhabi Emirate.
During a press conference held at ‘Intercontinental Abu Dhabi,’ Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE’s permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency said that the Licence for the Construction of Units One and Two of the Barakah Nuclear Facility and Related Regulated Activities was approved by the FANR Board of Management, chaired by Dr Ahmed Al Mazrouei, at its meeting on 17th July.
The Licence authorises ENEC to construct two Korean-design advanced pressurised water reactors of the type known as the APR1400, each capable of producing 1,400 MW of electricity. It does not allow ENEC to operate them. ENEC must apply to FANR for a separate operating licence.
ENEC submitted its Construction License Application (CLA) for Barakah Units 1 and 2 to FANR on December 27, 2010. The CLA includes, among other issues, site selection, technology, safety and quality control, and the construction process for Units 1 & 2.
Mohamed Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said:“We are very pleased to receive the Construction License for Barakah Units 1 & 2 from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR). This marks an important milestone in the UAE’s peaceful, civil nuclear energy programme. This will mark another major achievement for ENEC’s program in our mission to deliver safe, clean, reliable and efficient nuclear energy to the UAE by 2017.”
Earlier on 15th July, ENEC had received a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the environmental regulator, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), for the construction of the units 1 & 2. The NOC acknowledges the environmental aspects of the construction of the UAE’s first two reactors, based on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP), which were submitted by ENEC in 2010.
FANR Director General Dr William D Travers said: “Our comprehensive review of the construction licence application was carried out by more than 200 technical experts over a period of 18 months. The reviewers scrutinised submissions by ENEC covering all required topics including the adequacy of the proposed site, the design of the facility, the safety analysis, management systems and quality assurance for construction, radiation safety measures, physical protection and safeguards. It was designed to ensure that all applicable technical and legal requirements were met.”
The approval is the result of a thorough review by FANR of ENEC’s December 2010 application for a construction licence. It follows licences FANR previously granted to ENEC for selecting and preparing the site. It also builds upon an additional assessment by ENEC of lessons learned from the March 2011 accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. This assessment, which was requested and reviewed by FANR as an integral part of the application, demonstrated the robustness of ENEC’s proposed plant. It also resulted in a number of design enhancements for added safety.
In line with its commitment to operational transparency, FANR has also published on its website the Safety Evaluation Report of Barakah Units 1 and 2, which forms the basis of its decision to issue the construction licence.
During the review FANR posed ENEC almost 2,000 questions, known as Requests for Additional Information (RAIs). Some of these required more data, documentation or meetings on specific technical issues while others were basic text clarifications. The Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) also provided FANR with its Safety Evaluation Report of the Shin Kori Nuclear Power Plant Units 3 and 4, which is the reference plant for Barakah.
The licence authorises ENEC to import to the UAE equipment and technology exclusively for the construction of the nuclear power plant. This includes specially designed or prepared components, equipment or technology directly associated with the APR1400 design. It also authorises ENEC to conduct activities related to construction, namely the manufacture, use, transport, possession, storage, assembling, installation, inspection and testing of structures, systems and components (SSC) and carrying out of civil works comprising the nuclear power plant, including supporting and auxiliary equipment and associated facilities.
During the construction phase, FANR will carry out rigorous inspections to verify that ENEC, the licensee, conducts the activities in accordance with FANR regulations and licence conditions. Inspections will examine work at the site, at the offices of the licensee and its contractors, and at major component vendors located in the Republic of Korea, the US and elsewhere.
Before ENEC can operate the facility, it must obtain a separate licence from FANR. ENEC’s application for an operating licence must describe the final design and safety analysis of the facility including information developed since the issuance of the construction licence. It must give complete information on the operation of the facility including the organisation, procedures and training to ensure safe operation, plans for start-up testing and initial operations, plans for the conduct of normal operations including periodic testing and maintenance, and plans for the management of emergencies.