The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has said it has completed important tests at Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, representing another major milestone in the commissioning phase of the UAE's first nuclear power reactor.
The Structural Integrity Test and Integrated Leak Rate Test were performed over a period of several weeks, with the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) providing full oversight, news agency WAM reported.
ENEC said both tests demonstrated the integrity and robustness of the structure in terms of force and leak tightness, and the structure’s ability to perform safely under normal and extraordinary circumstances.
The SIT evaluates the strength of the Reactor Containment Building, the structure at the heart of the plant, which houses the reactor and major components, by pressurising and depressurising the building to simulate regular and extraordinary conditions. The ILRT assesses the leak tightness of the containment building under a variety of conditions.
"We are proud to have maintained our track record of safety and quality with the completion of the Structural Integrity Test and Integrated Leak Rate Test. The commissioning phase of a nuclear energy plant is a critical step towards the first fuel load. Before loading the fuel it is essential that the plant is tested under the highest standards of safety, security and quality," said Mohamed Al Hammadi, CEO of ENEC.
"With the completion of these tests on Unit 1, we are moving closer to achieving our goal of supplying up to a quarter of our nation’s electricity needs with low-carbon, sustainable nuclear energy. Our work at Barakah continues to support the UAE’s energy mix strategy as well as the future social and economic growth of the UAE," added Al Hammadi.
ENEC said the project at Barakah is progressing steadily, Unit 1 is now 88 percent complete, Unit 2 is 72 percent complete, Unit 3 is 50 percent complete and Unit 4 is 31 percent complete.
Overall, construction of Units 1 to 4 is now more than 65 percent complete.
When the four reactors are completed, the UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy programme will provide approximately 25 percent of the UAE’s electricity needs and save up to 12 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.