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United Arab Emirates: Last nuclear reactor at Barakah power plant obtains operating license – News

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Published: Friday, November 17, 2023, 2:56 p.m.

Last update: Friday, November 17, 2023, 3:00 p.m.

The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) granted the operating license for the fourth and final reactor of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, which is located in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi.

FANR, the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, granted the operating license for Unit 4 to Nawah Energy Company (Nawah), which is responsible for the operation of the plant.

The license, with a duration of 60 years, authorizes Nawah to start up and operate the unit.

“Today marks a historic moment for the United Arab Emirates, where it realized its vision that began 15 years ago by developing the first peaceful nuclear energy program in the region,” said Hamad Al Kaabi, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the International Atomic Energy Commission. Agency (IAEA) and vice president of the FANR Administration Council.

In February 2020, March 2021 and June 2022, FANR issued the operating licenses for Unit 1, Unit 2 and Unit 3 respectively, and will continue to maintain its regulatory supervision throughout the operation period of the 4 units. The third unit officially began commercial operations in February this year.

“The UAE Nuclear Program will play a key role in providing 25 percent clean energy; Therefore, we support the UAE government’s efforts to achieve its net zero goals by 2050,” Al Kaabi said during a press conference.

Today’s announcement is the culmination of efforts made by FANR since receiving Nawah’s operating license application in 2017.

The regulator has carried out a thorough assessment of the application documentation, conducting robust regulatory oversight and inspections in the areas of safety, security and safeguards.

“The success of the UAE Nuclear Energy Program and the ability to execute it in a record period of time, adhering to the best international standards of nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation, made the country a role model for many nations that They are embarking on developing nuclear energy programs,” Al Kaabi said.

What happens next?

Following the issuance of the operating license for Unit 4, Nawah will undertake a commissioning period to prepare for commercial operation.

FANR will then conduct round-the-clock inspections, led by its resident inspectors located at the plant, in addition to deploying other inspectors, to ensure that fuel loading and power access processes are completed in accordance with regulatory requirements. .

90% Emirati nuclear experts

“The review of the operating license application for Unit 4 was carried out by a team made up of 90 percent Emirati nuclear experts.

“This indicates the success of FANR’s strategy in developing the capabilities and skills of Emiratis to regulate the nuclear sector and ensure its safe operation,” said Christer Viktorsson, Director General of FANR.

“The lengthy evaluation process required reviewing the 14,000-page application for Units 3 and 4, conducting more than 170 inspections in the area of ​​nuclear and radiation safety, security and safeguards, and requesting additional information for Unit 4 on various related matters. with reactor design and safety. , security to ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements.”

To ensure the implementation of the highest international standards of nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation, the UAE has hosted 12 major IAEA peer review missions over the past decade to review and evaluate various aspects of nuclear infrastructure, the legal and regulatory system. , nuclear security, nuclear security, emergency preparedness and non-proliferation. IAEA mission reports are publicly available.

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