The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) of the United Arab Emirates approved the operation of the first unit of the Barakah nuclear power plant on Feb. 17. The power plant is the first atomic power station South Korea has built outside itself and is the only atomic power station in the Arab region. Fuel loading is around the corner before trial and commercial operations. The approval is effective for 60 years.
In the Barakah project, South Korean companies build four APR1400 reactors in the region located 270 km to the west of Abu Dhabi. Korea Electric Power Corp. won the project in December 2009 and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power signed a five-year repair and maintenance contract in June 2019.
Each of the four reactors has a capacity of 1.4 GW and the trial run of the second unit will be initiated soon. Once put into operation, the four reactors will be capable of handling 25 percent of the total power demand of the United Arab Emirates and reducing the country’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by 21 million tons.
The total value of the project is US$40 billion. Back in 2009, the project became the largest infrastructure export in the history of South Korea. For reference, Phase 2 of the Great Manmade River Project in Libya in the 1980s was led by South Korean companies based on a US$6.3 billion contract.