The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) has announced that it has received the fuel assemblies required to generate electricity from Unit 1 and successfully stored them at its plant in the Barakah region of the UAE.
These fuel assemblies will be securely stored until the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) approves the operating licence for Units 1 and 2, which will allow the generation of the first megawatts of emission-free electricity to power the growth of the UAE, said statement from Enec.
The fuel assemblies were transported in adherence to the highest standards of quality and safety, in accordance with the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as FANR regulations and the safeguard of the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA), it stated.
According to Enec, the new fuel assemblies were produced by Kepco NF to the exacting standards of the APR-1400 reactor and are transported in highly protected rigid structures to guarantee their integrity.
The transportation does not require extraordinary measures of radiation protection, as new fuel assemblies only emit natural safe levels of radiation, it stated.
The process to fabricate the fuel assemblies for Unit 1 was the result of the close collaboration between Enec and a series of international fuel suppliers contracted in 2012 to provide a series of nuclear fuel services to cover Enec’s requirements for Barakah Units 1 to 4 for a period of 15 years, starting in 2017.
The fuel strategy is founded on the UAE’s commitment to the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation, outlined in the UAE Policy on Nuclear Energy document released in April 2008, it added.
It also guarantees security of supply, quality assurance of fuel-related materials and competitive commercial terms to protect the interests of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program by providing volume flexibilities and the ability to adapt to changing market conditions.
CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi said: "As we move towards the operation of the first nuclear energy reactor in the UAE, the successful transportation of the first fuel assemblies to the Barakah plant is a major success for Enec and the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program."
"The transportation was made possible thanks to the cooperation of numerous teams at Enec and its joint venture partner, the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), alongside Nawah, FANR, CICPA, and other government and international stakeholders," he noted.
The fact that all fuel assemblies were transported safely and protecting their integrity reflects the commitment of all these entities to the highest standards of quality, safety, and security, he added.
Dr Mohamed Abdalla Chookah, the executive director for Fuel Procurement & Analysis, said: "We are glad to announce that all the received fuel assemblies have cleared quality inspections at site and that they are ready to be used to produce electricity for the Nation, pending regulatory approval."
“New fuel assemblies, meaning fuel assemblies that have not yet completed a fuel cycle inside a reactor, contain fresh fuel pellets which emit natural amounts of radiation that are well below international safe limits. Enec’s number one priority is the safety of the community, the environment, its staff and its technology and we are glad to report that the fuel assemblies are securely stored within the Barakah plant,” he added.
Since its inception in 2009, Enec said it has focused on the safe delivery of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program.
Construction of Unit 1 began in 2012 and is now nearing completion. All four units are now 80 per cent ready. Once the four reactors are online, the facility will deliver up to a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs, it added.