ENEC Completes Installation of Unit 3 Reactor Vessel


Another safe and on-time milestone reached at the UAE’s first nuclear energy plant

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has announced the completion of yet another milestone in the development of the country’s first nuclear energy plant, with the successful installation of its Unit 3 Reactor Vessel (RV) at Barakah. The installation is a critical step in the continued progress and delivery of the country’s third nuclear energy unit and follows the successful installation of the Barakah Unit 2 RV in 2015 and the Unit 1 RV in 2014.

The reactor vessel is one of the most important features and largest components in a nuclear energy plant. Weighing over 400 tonnes and measuring almost 15 metres in height, the RV will eventually contain the controlled nuclear reaction that will generate the safe, clean and reliable nuclear energy that will feed into the UAE grid. It is also one of the many defense-in-depth barriers that ensures the safety of nuclear energy plants.

The installation of the Unit 3 RV was celebrated at an event held at the Barakah Plant hosted by ENEC’s CEO, H.E. Mohamed Al Hammadi, with guests of honour, H.E Saeed Eid Al Ghafli, Chairman of the Executive Office and H.E Awaidha Murshed Ali Al Marar; Chairman of Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport and a member of the Executive Council.

The event was also attended by ENEC senior management, members of the Board of Directors, as well as distinguished guests from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), the Regulation Supervisory Board (RSB), Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA), the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA), Western Region Municipality and the Korean Ambassador to the UAE.

Guests were able to see inside the unit where the RV, which was shipped from South Korea, is positioned and will perform its function, as well as hearing the latest construction updates from senior ENEC engineers.

ENEC’s Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Mohamed Al Hammadi said: “The safe and successful installation of ENEC’s third reactor vessel is the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication. All teams involved have worked to the highest standards of safety and quality and I would like to personally thank the KEPCO and Doosan teams for their commitment to the Barakah project’s development.

"ENEC is committed to delivering a world-class nuclear energy program and as we move from construction through to operations we continue to improve, particularly in the overall project management." added Al Hammadi. "The phased approach to completing each unit with a substantial amount of time between each one, means each unit’s development adopts the efficiencies learned from the previous one.”

"Safe, clean and reliable nuclear energy has an important role to play in the future of our nation. The peaceful nuclear energy programme is instrumental and will bring many benefits, from the creation of high-value job opportunities to the emergence of a new sophisticated industrial sector to support operations in Barakah," concluded Al Hammadi.

Reactor vessels consist of a reactor vessel body and reactor vessel head. The vessel body is the largest component and is designed to contain the fuel assembly, coolant, and fittings to support coolant flow and support structures. The vessel head is attached to the top of the reactor vessel body and contains penetrations, which are driving mechanisms that allow the control rods to lower into the vessel and attach to the fuel assembly, controlling or stopping the nuclear reaction when necessary.

The project at Barakah is progressing steadily. Overall, construction of Units 1 to 4 is now more than 65 percent complete. All four units will deliver safe, clean, reliable and efficient nuclear energy to the UAE grid, pending regulatory reviews and licensing.

When the four reactors are completed, the UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy program will provide approximately 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs and save up to 12 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.