Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Power Station Goes through Trial Runs and Aims for Commercial Operation by the End of This Year

Jun 05, 2020

It is shown that Unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear power station, which is South Korea’s first nuclear power station exported, is currently going through trial runs after being loaded with nuclear fuel. Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd. (KHNP) is working on necessary processes such as trial run and hiring of short-term workers for inspection on equipment quality in order to operate Unit 1 commercially. It will be interesting to see whether Unit 1 that had timing of operation delayed many times will be on commercial operation by the end of this year.
According to relevant agencies and the South Korean Government, Unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear power station in UAE is going through power ascension tests after being loaded with nuclear fuel.
Power ascension test is a process that checks whether equipment and control systems operate normally with change in output as output increases from 0% to 100%. UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) gave an approval for operation of Unit 1 in February. Unit 1 was then loaded with nuclear fuel in March. Since then the station has been going through trial runs in stages.
KHNP has been hiring temporary workers for trial runs and equipment quality inspection of Unit 1. It recently announced that it is hiring 6 temporary workers who will be working for its branch in Abu Dhabi. Along with vehicle administrator, housing administrator, and OA administrator, they will be hiring quality inspectors for trial runs and equipment quality inspection. Quality inspectors need to have a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering and have at least 5 years of experiences with quality inspection in the nuclear power machinery field. Considering the fact that Units 2,3, and 4 have yet to go through trial runs, it can be seen that KHNP is hiring workers for equipment inspection regarding trial runs of Unit 1.

The Barakah nuclear power station in UAE (Photo: Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy) <The Barakah nuclear power station in UAE (Photo: Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy) >

The Barakah nuclear power station is a station with four APR-1400s that is located 270km west of Abu Dhabi. It is the first nuclear power station to be exported by South Korea and it is also the first commercial nuclear power station in the Middle East.
Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), KHNP, KEPCO KPS, and Doosan Heavy Industries are participating in the Barakah nuclear power station project. Nawah Energy Company, which is a joint company of KEPCO and UAE’s Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) manages the plant. KEPCO owns about 18% of Nawah’s shares.
It will be interesting to see whether Unit 1 will be on commercial operation by the end of this year. Although construction of Units 2,3, and 4 is also taking place, the speed of Unit 1’s construction is the fastest of the four. Once Unit 1 is on normal operation along with other three units, KEPCO will have an upper hand in winning bids for nuclear power plant projects from other countries such as Czech and Saudi Arabia.
It is expected that systems will be connected and a final maintenance process that inspects issues found during trial runs will take place once power ascension tests are completed for Unit 1. Afterwards, KEPCO and ENEC will have discussions and commercial operate Unit 1 in order to produce, supply, and sell power.
Although Unit 1 is going through technological steps to have stable commercial operation, COVID-19 can change when Unit 1 will be in operation. Although four employees including three South Koreans from the Barakah nuclear power station were tested “positive” initially last month, their second and third tests came back as “negative”.
Staff Reporter Byun, Sanggeun | sgbyun@etnews.com

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