The company which runs the UAE’s first nuclear reactor is not ready to get the operating licence

The country’s regulator said, due to start up this year, the company which runs the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) first nuclear reactor, is not ready to get its operating licence yet.

UAE is urge to build four nuclear reactors in what is one of the world’s largest nuclear newbuild projects and will be the first nuclear reactor in the Gulf, but last year the startup of the first reactor was delayed by a year to 2018 because the operating company had not accepted.

Nawah, Local company, which is a joint venture between Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) – which is building the four APR-1400 reactors – and Emirates Nuclear Energy Company (ENEC), will operate the four reactors.

After ENEC stated in May 2017 that the startup of the first reactor would be delayed by a year because Nawah was not ready to get a licence, the UAE’s energy minister confirmed in September that the reactor would definitely be operational in 2018.

But the director-general of UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), Christer Viktorsson mentioned to the reporters on Tuesday that while the reactor was almost technically ready, the regulator could not yet issue an operating licence to Nawah and not sure when the firm would get its licence.

When asked whether the licence would be issued this year, Viktorsson said, “It is hard to say when they (Nawah) will be ready.”

He even added that, “It is a very complex process. The organizational aspect is more important than the technical aspect.”

Before FANR issues an operating licence, it not only needs to be confident that the reactor meets the highest technical and safety standards, but also that all Nawah’s staff have been properly trained in running the reactor under all circumstances and can handle any emergencies.

The four-reactor Barakah nuclear plant will have total capacity of 5,600 MW and when it is fully operational in 2020, it will supply about a quarter of the UEA’s electricity.

In September, the UAE stated that the second and third reactors were 86 percent and 76 percent complete, while the fourth was 54 percent done.

 

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