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UAE's first nuclear power plant hits key milestone

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation completes construction of the concrete dome capping the Reactor Containment Building

The construction site in Barakah, as seen by Google Maps.
The construction site in Barakah, as seen by Google Maps.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has completed construction of the concrete dome for the UAE's first nuclear energy plant. 

The completion of the dome marks the achievement of another milestone in the construction of the Unit 1 Reactor Containment Building in Abu Dhabi's Western region's Barakah area bordering Saudi Arabia.

The dome is the final structural component of the vast Reactor Containment Building (RCB), which now measures more than 70 metres in height.

The RCB houses the nuclear reactor and is a critical structure in the nuclear plant’s defence-in-depth barriers. They are designed to confine and contain radiation, even in the most extreme circumstances.

“We are proud to maintain our track record of achieving key construction milestones safely and on time,” said Mohamed Al Hammadi, chief executive officer of ENEC.

“The RCB is a critical structure in the plant’s safety and security. The construction of this structure has involved thousands of people who have all shown their commitment to the highest standards of quality and safety at all times.”

“We remain confident and committed to successfully delivering our mission of safe, clean, reliable and efficient nuclear energy to the UAE in 2017,” he added.

The next phase of work on the RCB will involve the installation of the containment post tensioning system, which is used for pre-stressing the concrete structure, followed by a three-month structural integrity test.

Overall, Unit 1 is now more than 60% complete and on track to start commercial operations in 2017, pending further regulatory approvals.

The indicative timeline for the other nuclear energy plants is for Unit 2 to begin operations in 2018, Unit 3 in 2019 and the final Unit 4 in 2020. Conncrete pouring on the third unit started last September, and the construction of the fourth unit is expected to start this year.

When the four reactors are completed in 2020, the UAE’s nuclear program will provide approximately 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs, saving up to 12 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.


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Construction Week - Issue 742
May 23, 2019