22 March 2021
Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on research & development and technology exchange related to the operation of Korean-designed APR1400 reactors. South Korea’s first APR1400 unit entered commercial operation in December 2015, while four such reactors are due to start up in the UAE by 2023.
The four APR1400 units at the Barakah plant in the UAE (Image: ENEC)
Through the MoU signed today, KHNP and ENEC will cooperate in R&D in nine areas, each with a dedicated working group. They include, for the next three years, nuclear power plant equipment and radiochemistry.
KHNP said the agreement reflected the quality of its nuclear power plant technology and research, and was based on the trust that has built up between the governments of South Korea and the UAE in the development of the nuclear industry.
In a USD20 billion deal announced in December 2009, ENEC selected a consortium led by Kepco to build four APR-1400 reactors at Barakah, which is in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi. Construction began on the first unit in July 2012, unit 2 in May 2013, unit 3 in September 2014 and unit 4 in September 2015.
Barakah unit 1, which received an operating licence in February 2020, has been operating at full power since December. This unit is now in the final stage of the testing phase. Earlier this month, the operating licence was issued for unit 2. The loading of fuel assemblies into the core of the reactor began last week.
Unit 3 is now 94% complete, unit 4 is 87% complete and Barakah as a whole is more than 95% complete.
KHNP said it expected the new MoU to contribute not only to the stable operation of the Barakah plant, but also “to promote technological exchange” on the Korean APR1400 design in the Middle East.
In June 2017, KHNP and ENEC’s operations and maintenance subsidiary Nawah Energy Company agreed to cooperate in the sharing of experience in the operation of APR1400 reactors.
The UAE’s Barakah One Company and Kepco signed an MoU in September 2019 to explore potential collaboration on new nuclear energy projects in third countries. This provides a framework to explore potential opportunities for collaboration between them in developing the ‘Barakah Model’ for new nuclear energy markets. Barakah One, which represents the financial and commercial interests of the UAE’s Barakah nuclear power plant, is a subsidiary of ENEC and is partially owned by Kepco.
Previously known as the Korean Next-Generation Reactor, the APR1400 advanced pressurised water reactor design has evolved from the US System 80+ with enhanced safety and seismic robustness
The first APR1400 – unit 3 at KHNP’s Shin Kori site in South Korea – entered commercial operation in December 2016, with Shin Kori 4 following in August 2019. Two further AP1400s are under construction at Shin Kori and another two at Shin Hanul. Plans for an additional two APR1400 units at Shin Hanul have been suspended.
Researched and written by World Nuclear News
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