ENEC Installs Second Simulator, Completes Major Upgrade At Barakah Simulator Training Center


- State-of-the-art customized modeling data applied to make simulators more Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant specific

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has successfully installed its second full scope APR-1400 training simulator this week at the organization’s Simulator Training Center (STC) Barakah.

The occasion also marked the successful completion of a major upgrade to ENEC’s first full scope simulator, initially delivered in April 2014. The upgrade consists of custom-designed modeling data applied to both simulators to make the technology more specific to the unique environment of Barakah Nuclear Power Plant (Barakah NPP) - allowing the devices to mimic the real conditions and future scenarios of the UAE plants.

ENEC’s simulators are among the most advanced nuclear training devices in the world due to their complex core modeling and ultramodern Instrumentation and Control (I&C) systems. They are used in conjunction with classroom and on-the-job training to teach Reactor Operator (RO) and Senior Reactor Operator (SRO) trainees the knowledge and skills needed to safely and efficiently operate a nuclear energy plant. Simulation training is part of the essential safety culture of the organization and plays a critical role in ENEC’s ongoing operational readiness preparations in the lead up to the completion of Unit 1 in 2017.

Developed in conjunction with ENEC’s Prime Contractor, the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), the simulators replicate the actual environment and conditions that certified ROs and SROs in the Barakah NPP control room would experience in a real time situation. They also provide students with the opportunity to experience unplanned events that they would otherwise not be exposed to in day to day operations.

“ENEC is constructing the UAE’s first nuclear energy plant to the highest standards of safety, quality, and performance. In parallel, we are focused on recruiting, training and mobilizing a team of highly skilled nuclear energy professionals who will be at the very heart of our world-class nuclear operating company,” commented Eng. Ahmed Al Rumaithi, ENEC’s Deputy CEO.

“The safety of our employees, the community and the environment is ENEC’s overriding priority, and our Simulator Training Center plays a critical role in the development of a robust nuclear safety culture. This state-of-the-art facility provides a proven method of training that ensures our reactor operators are well prepared for all scenarios and ready to deliver safe and reliable operations for our plant at all times.”

The STC facility is home to ENEC’s comprehensive training program for RO and SROs which prepares trainees to obtain Initial Certification, a qualification overseen by the UAE Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR). The 28-month Initial Certification curriculum includes a total of 26 weeks of simulator training, in addition to intensive classroom and on-the-job training modules which each trainee must complete before they can sit their Initial Certification examinations. The STC  is also designed to provide ongoing training for ENEC’s working RO and SROs, with ENEC’s Continuing Training Program rotating the organization’s certified operators though a schedule of in-depth classroom and simulator training and testing every six weeks for the remainder of their career with the organization.

The 7000m2 facility houses two fully-functional digital full scope simulators, identical to the Main Control Room (MCR) of Unit 1 at Barakah. It is equipped with classrooms, state-of-the-art training equipment and the latest interactive digital workshop facilities for students to apply the theory, systems and procedure knowledge and skills learnt in class and during on-the-job training.

ENEC currently has seven groups of trainees, consisting of a total of 116 RO and SROs, at various stages of the Initial Certification training, with the first two groups of trainees scheduled to take their Initial Certification examination in February 2016.  More than 98% of ENEC’s RO and SRO trainees are UAE nationals - the talented individuals who will lead safe operations for the organization when its first unit becomes operational in 2017.

ENEC’s second full scope simulator was initially fitted at KEPCO’s facilities in South Korea, where it was subject to a series of rigorous safety, quality and performance tests to ensure it met FANR’s strict standards. The simulator was then dismantled and shipped for installation at Barakah NPP. Upon arrival at Barakah, the 20-ton simulator was then reassembled and subject to a second series of tests at ENEC’s STC facility to validate the performance and operability of the simulator before being declared ready for training.

Construction of the Barakah NPP is now well underway and progressing safely and steadily. The plant will eventually consist of four nuclear power generating units with a combined capacity of approximately 5,600 MW and their associated facilities, with Barakah Unit 1 now more than 74% complete, Unit 2 now 51% complete, and construction of the overall program now more than 48% complete. In 2017, the organization’s first 1,400 MW Unit is scheduled for completion. Additional units will follow at 12 monthly intervals, with the fourth unit set to commence commercial operations in 2020, pending regulatory reviews and licensing.