Construction of the UAE's second nuclear power reactor is nearing completion with pre-operational testing well underway.
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said it has successfully completed hot functional testing on Unit 2 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant.
It said this significant pre-operational testing process incorporated all lessons learned from the same test on Unit 1, adding that as of end of June, construction of Unit 2 was 93 percent complete.
ENEC said it worked closely with the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), the joint venture partner for the Barakah project, to achieve the milestone in the testing and commissioning of Unit 2.
Mohamed Al Hammadi, CEO of ENEC, said: “Keeping construction progress approximately one year apart for each of the Units at Barakah makes it possible for us to implement all lessons learned from one Unit to the subsequent ones, in line with international best practices in the management of megaprojects”.
Hot functional testing takes place over a number of weeks and consists of almost 200 individual and integrated tests performed on major systems to check their performance under normal operational conditions, without the presence of nuclear fuel in the reactor.
The test includes the first time that most of the reactor’s systems experience the operational temperature of nearly 300 degrees Celsius, ENEC said.
“The pre-operational commissioning phase of a nuclear energy plant is a complex and critical step towards starting to operate the plant. It is essential that it is tested under operational conditions without nuclear fuel to demonstrate that the highest standards of safety, security and quality are achieved,” said Al Hammadi.
Construction of Unit 2 began in April 2013, one year after Unit 1. Overall construction progress rate for the four Units is now more than 89 percent.
Last month it was announced that its first nuclear reactor would come online in late 2019 or early 2020.
The first of four reactors at the $20 billion Barakah plant had been due to come online last year, but the launch was initially delayed until 2018 to make time for regulatory approvals and complete safety checks.
All four units are expected will save up to 21 million tons of carbon emissions each year, equivalent to removing 3.2 million cars from the roads.