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Lacking nuclear expertise, United Arab Emirates postpones start-up pf nuclear reactors

UAE delays launch of first nuclear power reactor, REUTERS By Jane Chung and Geert De Clercq | SEOUL/PARIS, 4 May 17  The commercial start-up of the first of four nuclear reactors that South Korea’s KEPCO is building in United Arab Emirates is set to be delayed because the local operating company is not ready to run the reactors, a nuclear industry source said.

Barakah is one of the world’s few major nuclear newbuild contracts, which Korea Electric Power Corporation(KEPCO) won in 2009, beating a rival consortium led by more established French reactor maker Areva……

a source familiar with the situation said that Nawah – the joint venture between the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and KEPCO that will operate the plant – is struggling to get an operating license, which could delay the start-up of the first plant by several months, possibly to the end of this year……

construction of Shin Kori No.3 reactor [in South Korea] was delayed three years due to a safety scandal in late 2012, and the reactor only became operational in December 2016.

A source with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters that because of the delay on Shin Kori No.3, UAE nuclear regulator FANR was not ready to give Nawah its operating license and wanted to postpone this “regardless of the construction schedule.”…….

Low oil prices are also making the start-up of the plant less urgent from the UAE perspective, the source added.

ENEC and Nawah did not respond to several requests for comment. KEPCO declined to comment.

A second source in the nuclear industry who is not directly involved in the Barakah project, said nuclear fuel had been shipped to UAE but was not being loaded into the reactor as Nawah does not yet have a license.

For years, Nawah has been training staff in power plant operation, but to get an operating license it needs to demonstrate it has the necessary management skills and can master all the systems needed to operate the reactors.

“It is not a simple undertaking. There will be some Korean staff, but they can only be in the back seat, not the front seat. The reactor has to be operated by the licensee’s staff,” the industry source said.

For KEPCO, a delay of the project increases its indirect costs, as it will force it to keep its staff of about 21,000 in the UAE for longer, the first source said……..(Reporting by Jane Chung in Seoul, Geert De Clercq in Paris and Stanley Carvalho in Abu Dhabi; Writing by Geert De Clercq, editing by David Evans) http://www.reuters.com/article/us-kepco-emirates-nuclearpower-exclusive-idUSKBN1801ZD

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May 5, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, employment, United Arab Emirates

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