The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) has received the fuel assemblies for unit 1 of the Barakah NPP, in the United Arab Emirates on the Persian Gulf coast. The assemblies are being securely stored in Barakah until the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), approves the operating licence for units 1 and 2, Enec said on 29 May.
The fuel assemblies were produced by Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), which is constructing the four APR-1400 units at Barakah.
Construction began in 2012, and Barakah 1 is now more than 95% complete. All four units are 80% complete and will eventually provide up to a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs. On 5 May 2017, Enec said commercial operation of Barakah 1 had been postponed from 2017 to 2018 to ensure sufficient time for international assessments and adherence to nuclear industry safety standards, and “as a reinforcement of operational proficiency for plant personnel”. The plant is scheduled to be fully operational by 2020.
On 26 May, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards inspectors verified the correctness and completeness of the UAE’s initial inventory of nuclear material. The inventory was prepared by FANR based on the UAE's State System of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material, a register of all nuclear material, its possessors and users within the territory of the UAE.
As part of the verification process, IAEA safeguards inspectors visited the Barakah site and other locations in the UAE where small amounts of nuclear material are used.
Under the UAE's agreement with the IAEA on the application of safeguards in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and its additional protocol, as well as under the UAE's own federal nuclear law and FANR obligations, any possession, use or handling of nuclear materials within the UAE must be licensed by FANR. The IAEA is authorised to carry out inspections within the country to verify that safeguards are being applied correctly.