(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The construction of the ambitious nuclear power project in Abu Dhabi on the coast of Baraka is on time and on budget, says a top official.
Construction work on the first of the four units of the UAE nuclear power plant is progressing fast as 61 per cent of work is complete, said Mohammed Al Hammadi, the chief executive officer of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, while speaking at the two-day the Abu Dhabi Conference 2014, which is discussing opportunities and progress in the spheres of energy, industry, infrastructure in Abu Dhabi.
The UAE is building four units of 1,400 megawatt each to produce nuclear power plants, in Abu Dhabi's Western region's Baraka area bordering Saudi Arabia. The units will start coming up online one by one from 2017 through 2020, adding 1,400 megawatt of electric power to the Abu Dhabi power grid.
Construction work on the second unit is 37 per cent complete, an official, Fahad Al Qahtani, official spokesperson for ENEC said. The Federal Nuclear Regulatory Authority earlier in the year approved the construction of third and fourth units as well. The concrete pouring on the third unit will began this year while work on the fourth unit will commence next year, said Fahad Al Qahtani.
Away from oil fuel, Abu Dhabi plans to diversify its energy mix and in doing so has ventured into renewable energy in a big way. Last year, it inaugurated the Al Shams Power Company which generates 100 megawatts of electricity from solar power. An 11 megawatt small solar power plant is already working in the capital city.
The development of carbon capture and storage is already underway to utilise carbon dioxide, which will free up to one billion cubic feet daily of natural gas for generating energy. The nuclear power, Al Hammadi said would contribute 25 per cent to Abu Dhabi power generation. The $20 billion plant being funded by Abu Dhabi itself is built by Korean Electric Power Company or Kepco, which according to Al Qahtani, will soon start awarding subcontracts.
Abu Dhabi will procure nuclear fuel from six international suppliers including ConverDyn from the US, which will provide conversion services; Canada's Uranium One, will provide natural uranium; Urenco will provide enrichment services; and Rio Tinto will provide natural uranium. Russia's Tenex will supply uranium concentrates, conversion services and enrichment services. French firm Areva will provide uranium concentrates, conversion services and enrichment services.
The enriched uranium will be supplied to Kepco Nuclear Fuels, which will manufacture the fuel assemblies for use in the four planned UAE units. The UAE is still working on its policy on how to dispose of spent fuel or safe storage. There are several options including short term and medium term. The construction of nuclear power plant has boosted local businesses, which have got $1.7 billion construction related business so far, the chief executive officer of Enec said.