Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, has confirmed that the major infrastructure projects currently being implemented the Western Region are fully suited to meet the economic and social needs of the community, and will support the rapid pace of development in the region.
Sheikh Hamdan emphasised the necessity of advancing towards the goals of the Al Gharbia 2030 Plan, which aims to achieve sustainable development in the Western Region. This development will be reflected in the community's quality of life and will reaffirm the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on the need to improve infrastructure and services in the Western Region to ensure the continued prosperity of its residents.
Sheikh Hamdan's comments came at a ceremony organised by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) to mark the installation of its second Reactor Vessel (RV) at Barakah, in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, where the UAE's first nuclear energy plant is currently under construction.
The installation is a critical milestone in the continued progress and delivery of the country's second nuclear energy unit and follows the successful completion of the Barakah Unit 1 RV in May 2014.
"I am proud to be here in Barakah today to witness the delivery of yet another safe and on-time milestone in the UAE's peaceful nuclear energy programme," said Sheikh Hamdan.
"Safe, clean and reliable nuclear energy has an important role to play in the future of our nation and in the Western Region in particular. The role of the peaceful nuclear energy programme in the Western Region is instrumental and will bring many benefits, from the creation of high-value job opportunities to the emergence of a sophisticated new industrial sector to support operations in Barakah," He explained.
He added, "The UAE attaches the highest priority to the principle of total transparency in the development and operation of our nuclear program. That principle is one of the main elements of national policy in the development of nuclear energy programs."
Sheikh Hamdan arrived at the Barakah site accompanied by Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD), Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority Chairman of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Energy Authority, Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi, Saeed Eid Al Ghafli, Chairman of Department of Municipal Affairs, Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Abu Dhabi Police, Mohamed Hamad bin Azzan Al Mazrouei, Undersecretary of the Ruler's Representative Court in the Western Region, Staff Major General Pilot Faris Khalaf Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority, and Sultan bin Khalfan Al Rumaithi, Deputy Undersecretary Director of the Office of Ruler's Representative in Western Region of the Court of the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, Engineer Atiq Khamis Hamad Al Mazrouei, Acting Director General of Western Region Municipality, Salem Issa Al Mazrouei, Chief Executive Officer of Al Gharbia Hospitals Director of the Western Region Hospitals, Colonel Ajil Al Junaibi, Director of the Western Region Police, Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, CEO of UAE Operations at Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA)., Awaidha Murshed Al Murar, Acting CEO of the Abu Dhabi General Services Company (Musanada), and a number of members of the board of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Company.
During the event, Sheikh Hamdan was given a project update from ENEC on the latest developments at Barakah since his last visit to site in July 2014. This included reports on ENEC's progress in key program areas such as construction, preparing for operations, human capacity development, and the organisation's latest progress in industrial development supporting local UAE companies to contribute to the project in support of the UAE's first peaceful nuclear energy plant.
Sheikh Hamdan also signed the base of the RV in the presence of ENEC's Board and local authorities, ahead of it being lifted inside the Unit 2 Reactor Containment Building (RCB) over the coming days. His Highness also met with Emirati nuclear engineers and officials responsible for preparing for operations of the UAE's peaceful nuclear energy plant, where he conveyed the best wishes of the UAE's leadership and the leadership's pride in the scientific and practical achievements of the group, in addition to praising the positive developments accomplished by the UAE's peaceful nuclear programme.
"The UAE puts its hopes and aspirations in generations like yours, who are equipped with modern scientific knowledge. Imparting this knowledge to the people of the UAE is the first and chief pillar of these plans, and therefore developing a workforce of scientifically and culturally qualified Emiratis is the primary concern of the UAE leadership," He added.
Sheikh Hamdan also commended the role of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation in supporting the development of the human capital necessary to safely run the UAE's nuclear program to provide safe, clean, efficient, and sustainable nuclear energy for the UAE.
Mohamed Al Hammadi, ENEC's Chief Executive Officer, expressed his delight at having the honour to welcome Sheikh Hamdan to the Barakah site to witness the installation of the reactor vessel for the country's second nuclear energy unit - a key achievement in the delivery of the UAE's peaceful nuclear energy programme.
"The safe and successful installation of ENEC's second Reactor Vessel is the culmination of many months of hard work and dedication to the highest standards of safety and quality from our team. It represents an important element of the vast construction program underway here at Barakah as we work towards the start of commercial operations in 2017 – the time when these reactors will begin producing the vital electricity needed to meet the country's rapidly growing energy demands and support our continued social and economic growth," Al Hammadi said.
"ENEC is committed to delivering a world-class nuclear energy program from construction through to operations, and as our project builds in pace and complexity I am proud of our dedication to carrying out work with safety and quality top of mind at all times," added Al Hammadi. "As with the safe and on-schedule installation of our first reactor in 2014, our Unit 2 RV has been delivered to the same high standards of safely, quality and performance.".
ENEC, together with its Prime Contractor, the Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), has made significant progress in the construction of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant (Barakah NPP) in recent months, with Barakah Unit 1 now more than 73 per cent complete and Unit 2 now 50 per cent complete.
The organisation's first unit is scheduled to enter commercial operations in 2017, with Unit 2 following in 2018 pending regulatory approval from the country's regulator, the Federal Authority on Nuclear Regulation (FANR).
The reactor vessel is one of the most important features and largest components in a nuclear energy plant. Inside the reactor vessel, controlled nuclear reactions occur that release energy that will be transformed into safe, clean and reliable electricity that will power the UAE. It is also one of the many defence-in-depth barriers that ensure the safety of nuclear energy plants.
ENEC filed the Operating License Application (OLA) for Barakah Units 1 & 2 with FANR in March this year, documenting the safety of the planned operations and maintenance of the Barakah plant and its adherence to the highest standards of safety, quality and security. ENEC is aiming to receive an Operating License for Barakah Unit 1 in 2016, in time for the scheduled start of commercial operations in 2017. Approval for the Barakah Unit 2 Operating License is anticipated to follow in 2017.
The Barakah NPP will eventually consist of four nuclear power generating units with a combined capacity of approximately 5,600 MW and their associated facilities, with construction of the overall program now more than 47 per cent complete.
In 2017, the organisation'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.