Originally published at https://www.thenational.ae/uae
Second reactor vessel at Barakah plant is giant step in energy self-sufficiency plan, delivered safely and on schedule.
ABU DHABI // The UAE completed another milestone on Wednesday in its groundbreaking nuclear power programme.
Enec, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation,has installed the plant’s second reactor vessel, which is where energy production takes place, in Barakah in the Western Region.
The installation ceremony was attended by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region, who said the UAE attached great importance to transparency in the development and operation of its nuclear programme.
“That principle is one of the main elements of national policy and I am proud to be here in Barakah today to witness the delivery of yet another safe and on-time milestone in the UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy programme,” Sheikh Hamdan said.
“Safe, clean and reliable nuclear energy has an important role to play in the future of our nation and in the Western Region in particular.
“The role of the peaceful nuclear energy programme in the Western Region is instrumental and will bring many benefits, from the creation of high-value job opportunities to the emergence of a sophisticated new industrial sector to support operations in Barakah.”
Hamad Alkaabi, UAE Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the event demonstrated that the project was on track.
“The vessel is the main component in the nuclear reactor,” he said. “It is designed to contain the fuel assembly and coolant where the nuclear reaction takes place to produce energy. Installation of the pressure vessel indicates the advanced stage of construction.”
Experts say it the most important part of a reactor.
“The installation is very significant,” said Lady Barbara Judge, former head of the UK Atomic Energy Agency. “The reactor vessel houses all the technological parts of the reactor.
“This shows that the lessons that have been learnt around the world, especially at Barakah 1, have been well-integrated into the construction of Barakah 2, which is why the Abu Dhabi nuclear power project can be considered one of the best in the world.
“The technology, construction and the safety culture are of the highest standards.”
Mohammed Al Hammadi, chief executive of Enec, said: “It is the culmination of many months of hard work and dedication from our team.
“In 2017, these reactors will begin producing the vital electricity needed to meet the country’s rapidly growing energy demands and support our continued social and economic growth.”
During the event, Sheikh Hamdan was updated on the developments since his visit last July. This included reports on Enec’s progress in construction and industrial development that supports local companies.
Sheikh Hamdan signed the base of the reactor vessel before it was lifted inside the Unit 2 reactor containment building. He also met Emirati nuclear engineers. “The UAE puts its hopes and aspirations in generations like yours, who are equipped with modern scientific knowledge,” he said.
“Imparting this knowledge to the people of the UAE is the first and chief pillar of these plans, and therefore developing a workforce of scientifically and culturally qualified Emiratis is the primary concern of the UAE leadership.”
Unit 1 is now more than 73 per cent complete and expected to enter commercial operations in 2017. Unit 2 is 50 per cent complete and expected to follow in 2018, pending regulatory approval from the Federal Authority on Nuclear Regulation.
The event was also attended by Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, and Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority.