|17 February, 2020

UAE's nuclear regulator issues operating licence for Barakah plant

Barakah is the first nuclear power plant in the Gulf region, and when completed will have four reactors with total capacity of 5,600 megawatts

Image used for illustrative purpose. The train with 11 containers of reprocessed nuclear waste arrives at the station on November 9, 2008 in Dannenberg, Germany.

Image used for illustrative purpose. The train with 11 containers of reprocessed nuclear waste arrives at the station on November 9, 2008 in Dannenberg, Germany.

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ABU DHABI - The United Arab Emirates has issued an operating licence for the first reactor at the Arab world's first nuclear power plant, a senior official at the nuclear regulator said on Monday, paving the way for it to start production later this year.

The Barakah nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi, which is being built by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), was originally due to open in 2017, but the start-up of its first reactor has been delayed several times.

The licence granted to the plant's operator Nawah Energy Company will be for 60 years, Hamad al-Kaabi, deputy chairman of Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) told a news conference.

Nawah can now start preparing for commercial operations as trials will last for a few months, Kaabi said.

When completed Barakah will have four reactors with a total capacity of 5,600 megawatts (MW).

"Today marks a new chapter in our journey for the development of peaceful nuclear energy with the issuing of the operating license for the first (unit of) Barakah plant," Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed wrote on his official twitter account.

Kaabi said that construction of the second reactor was "95% finished" and that FANR has started looking into an operating license for it.

Last month, state news agency WAM reported that an operational readiness assessment performed by the Atlanta Center of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) concluded that the first of the four planned reactors was fit for its start-up phase. 

(Reporting by Dahlia Nehme and Nafisa Eltahir; writing by Rania El Gamal; editing by David Evans and Susan Fenton) ((rania.elgamal@thomsonreuters.com; +971 562 160 434; Reuters Messaging: rania.elgamal.reuters.com@reuters.net ;))

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