Whilst many European reactors are hampered with delays, construction of four new units in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is on or even ahead of schedule. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced that the Barakah Nuclear Energy plant is now 75% complete and still scheduled to finish in 2020.
The first of four APR – 1400 PWR units is expected to start operation this year, with the others coming online each consecutive year afterwards until the entire plant is generating in 2020. Unit 3 recently passed the milestone of having its reactor containment linear dome installed and Unit 4 is ahead of schedule with the concrete for the containment building now being poured. The plant is being built by a South Korean-led consortium with close consultation from the International Atomic Energy Agency and huge public support.
Surveys conducted by ENEC show that public support has increased with the construction of the plant. In December 2012, 82% of people surveyed were in favour of nuclear energy compared to 66% in 2011. An even greater figure of 89% of those surveyed supported a plant being built in the UAE, up from 67% in 2011, before construction started. The 2012 survey also found that awareness of nuclear energy had increased with a total of 89% believing that peaceful nuclear energy is “extremely important,” “very important,” or “important” for the UAE.
The power plant, which began construction in 2012, will provide when completed up to a quarter of the UAE’s electricity demand (5600MWe) and in doing so, save up to 12 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year.