Nuclear power from Barakh flows into UAE grid

By Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 20 August 2020: The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), on Wednesday announced that its operations and maintenance subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Transmission and Despatch Company, Transco – a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Energy Company – has safely and successfully connected Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant to the UAE grid, and is despatching its first megawatts of clean electricity to the nation.

During the process, the generator in Unit 1 was integrated and synchronized with the requirements of the UAE’s national electricity transmission grid.

Unit 1 connection, also referred to as ‘grid synchronisation’, marks the first time that clean electricity produced at the plant is delivered to the UAE national grid. This follows the safe and successful start-up of Unit 1 at the end of July 2020 by Nawah. Since then, the operations team has run a series of tests, steadily increasing the power levels to ultimately generate the first megawatts of baseload electricity produced by the Barakah plant, located in the Al Dhafrah Region of Abu Dhabi, said Wam.

With clean electricity from peaceful nuclear energy now being delivered to homes and business across the UAE, this milestone is a significant moment in the continued safe, secure, and quality-led delivery of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme and its cornerstone, the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant.

Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, said, “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. 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.

Transo’s role in this effort is both critical and extensive, having constructed 952 kilometres of 400 kV overhead lines to connect the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant Unit 1 to the Abu Dhabi electricity grid – ensuring the power generated at Barakah is safely, securely and reliably delivered to consumers across the UAE.

With the integration and connection complete, Unit 1’s nuclear operators will begin the process of gradually raising the power levels, known as Power Ascension Testing, PAT. Throughout this process, the Unit 1 systems follow international best practice to safely progress and test the unit as it proceeds towards full electricity production. Once the process is completed, Unit 1 will deliver, at full capacity, abundant baseload electricity to power the growth and prosperity of the UAE for decades to come.

This testing will be conducted under the continued oversight of the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, FANR, which has now conducted more than 280 inspections since the start of Barakah’s development. This is in addition to over 40 missions and assessments by the International Atomic Energy Agency and World Association of Nuclear Operators.

Electricity is the fastest growing form of energy worldwide, as it is increasingly used to power different aspects of our lives and the economy. The Barakah plant is supporting electrification and the decarbonisation of the UAE’s energy sector while also advancing economic diversification by creating thousands of high-value jobs through the establishment of a sustainable local nuclear energy industry and supply chain.

ENEC recently announced the construction completion of Unit 2, with operational readiness preparations now underway by Nawah. Construction of Units 3 and 4 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant are in their final stages, with Unit 3 being at 93 percent completion, Unit 4 at 86 percent completion, and the overall construction completion of the four units now standing at 94 percent.

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