- Reactor Coolant Loop (RCL) pipe welding completed, establishing new quality benchmark for global industry
- Concrete pouring for containment building dome structure successfully completed
Abu Dhabi, UAE – 22 March 2017: The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has successfully completed the welding of Reactor Coolant Loop piping and the Reactor Containment Building (RCB) dome structure for Unit 3 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant.
The completion of pipe welding for the Reactor Coolant Loop has set a new global benchmark for quality in pipe welding, and the RCB dome structure marks the completion of the major construction activities for the building which houses the main components. These achievements mark another set of safe and on-time milestones in the construction of Unit 3, which is now 69 percent complete.
The dome is the final structural component of the vast Reactor Containment Building (RCB), which houses the nuclear reactor and is a critical structure in the nuclear plant’s defence-in-depth barriers. RCBs are extremely robust in design; with thick concrete walls and heavy reinforcing steel, they rank among the strongest structures in the world. One of the next steps in the construction process will be to test the structural integrity of the RCB, including the building’s ability to withstand high internal pressures.
The Reactor Coolant Loop plays a key role in transferring heat from the Reactor Vessel (RV) – through a separate circuit – to the Steam Generators. The Steam Generators use the heat to produce the steam that is required to spin the turbine-generator. This action produces the electricity which will be delivered through the UAE’s electricity grid to power homes and businesses across the country. After passing through the Steam Generators, the water is cooled and returned to the RV through a different set of pipes. The process is driven by the Primary Coolant Pumps.
A large number of heavy wall piping welds were completed with outstanding results, establishing a new industry quality benchmark for similar operations. A narrow groove, automatic welding technique was used by 10 highly experienced welding operators using the latest technology, to assemble and install the RCL piping. After the welding was completed, verification tests demonstrated the high quality of the welds.
ENEC CEO, Mohamed Al Hammadi, said: “These milestones are a result of our extensive collaboration with our Prime Contractor and Joint Venture partner, the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), as well as sub-contractors such as the Hyundai-Samsung Joint Venture (HSJV) and Sam Jin. Working together and benefitting from the experience gained when conducting the same operation of the first two Units at Barakah, the teams continue to implement the highest international standards of safety, security and quality.”
“The development of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program is already bringing many benefits beyond providing the nation with safe, clean and reliable energy. These benefits include the creation of high-value job opportunities and the emergence of a new sophisticated industrial sector to support our operations in Barakah,” concluded Al Hammadi.
“The extremely low – benchmark setting – weld repair rates achieved during the welding of RCL pipes and the successful completion of the RCB dome structure on Unit 3 are a result of the rigorous application of lessons learned during the construction of Units 1 and 2, highlighting the benefits of building 4 identical units at the same time,” said Ahmed Al Rumaithi, ENEC’s Deputy CEO. “I am proud of our teams, whose commitment and dedication is a key factor in the continued successful construction of the world’s largest nuclear new build construction site,' added Al Rumaithi.
Since its inception in 2009, ENEC has focused on the safe delivery of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program. Construction of Unit 3 began in 2014 and it is now 69% complete. All four units are 78% complete. Once the four reactors are online, the facility will deliver up to a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs.