The state company behind the United Arab Emirates’ first nuclear power plant said Monday it has received a green light for the project from an environmental regulator in the country. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) called the approval Sunday from the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi (EAD) an important step in a multi-year licensing process for the Gulf federation’s first two reactors.
In issuing the No Objection Certificate (NOC), EAD acknowledges the environmental aspects for the construction of Barakah Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 and 2 in Abu Dhabi, based on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and the construction environmental management plan (CEMP).In order to proceed with the construction of Units 1 and 2, ENEC must also receive a construction license from the UAE Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR). ENEC submitted its construction license application for the two units on Dec. 27, 2010. The application includes, among other issues, site selection, technology, safety and quality control, and the construction process for Units 1 and 2. "Nuclear energy is one of the ways in which Abu Dhabi is demonstrating its commitment to the environment, as nuclear energy plants emit almost zero carbon emissions during operations," said Mohamed Al Hammadi, chief executive officer of ENEC. – SGENEC still needs to secure approval from the UAE’s federal nuclear regulator before it can move ahead with construction.
The company plans to build the reactors at a coastal site in the country’s far western region, near the border with Saudi Arabia. A South Korean consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation won the $20 billion contract for the project.
ENEC hopes to have the first reactor running by 2017.