6 stages of refueling for commercial operation at the third station in Barakah

T + T – normal size

The process of charging 241 fuel packages at the third Barakah reactor station takes 14 days, followed by 6 phases until full commercial operation, according to a report released by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and its subsidiary Nawah Energy Company , operators and reactors Barakah. The refueling process and its subsequent stages follow the issuance of the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Authority on June 17, the license to operate the third plant at the Barakah Nuclear Power Reactor for peaceful purposes.

The report showed that after completing the fuel charge, the “thermal performance testing” process begins before the start of the nuclear reaction chain, where the reactor container is placed, the screws tightened, and then the reactor cooling pumps are operated. activate the reactor cooling system, followed by the data collection and test completion process to ensure that the systems operate as designed.

As for the second phase after refueling, it is called the “critical phase” in which the reactor starts and heat is generated inside the reactor container, to start the first stable reactions of the nuclear chain inside the reactor container, followed by a process called the “low energy physical test” to ensure that the nuclear fuel column package design The charging mechanism is performed properly and the reactivity and design requirements of the reactor are verified.

The “upward power test” is the fourth stage after refueling, in which the power of the reactor is gradually and slowly increased during data collection, adjustment of control and safety systems, and performance of tests at certain power levels. With reactor power reaching 20%. The reactor is connected to the electricity distribution network and the first series of electricity is distributed. Efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly for the UAE grid.

The report said that after reaching a level of 100% of power, the power plant is closed, to carry out any maintenance requests or corrective measures planned as needed to guarantee the reliability of operations at the power plant. Upon successful completion of the final performance test at 100% power level, the plant will start operating at full capacity by supplying the grid of sites with 1400 megawatts of electricity, which is the “commercial operation” phase of the nuclear power plant. .

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation stated that Barakah power plants contribute to ensuring the diversification of the energy portfolio, contributing to tackling the phenomenon of climate change, supporting the development and escalation of economic growth, in addition to contributing to the preparation for the development of other forms of environment. energy-friendly, which enables the UAE to reduce its carbon footprint in the energy sector in a big way and achieve its goals of tackling the phenomenon of climate change.

The perfect choice.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation mentioned five reasons that make nuclear energy the best option for the UAE, explaining that nuclear energy is environmentally friendly and offers a solution to the phenomenon of climate change. During its operation, nuclear power plants do not produce any harmful emissions and do not emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

She added that when fully operational, the four Barakah power plants will provide up to 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs without carbon emissions, and by 2025, the Barakah power plants will produce 85% of the environmentally friendly electricity in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi and will be the main contributor to halving carbon emissions.

Barakah plants also offer rewarding job opportunities that require high qualifications for decades. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and its subsidiaries have more than 3,000 employees, 60% of whom are Emirates with experience and qualifications. Thus, Barakah contributes to the development of national science competencies and the master of the new generations to become the future leaders of the energy sector.

The report showed that nuclear energy contributes to economic diversification through a new industrial sector, noting that domestic companies have received contracts worth more than 24.5 billion dirhams ($ 6.7 billion) to supply products and services to the Barakah plant.

The report stressed that nuclear science and technology offer endless opportunities for study and research to develop a large number of sectors, which leads to the stimulation of new generations for innovation, as nuclear technology plays an important role in sectors such as medicine. , agriculture, environmental protection and space exploration. Various applications of nuclear technology offer important opportunities for Emirati minds to find innovative solutions. Nuclear energy also paves the way for the development of new energy sources such as green hydrogen because it produces large amounts of electricity and high quality steam. all the time. .

– Some questions.

The corporation answered a number of questions about nuclear energy, explaining that nuclear fuel is made from uranium, a natural element with moderate radioactivity and used as fuel in many nuclear power plants. Uranium-235 is one of the isotopes or forms of the element that can be subjected to nuclear fission.It is the process of splitting atoms, making uranium an ideal fuel for nuclear reactors.

Regarding the production of nuclear fuel, she noted that uranium is extracted from mines located in about 20 countries of the world and after extraction it is processed and separated from other materials and turned into a usable material in nuclear fuels and in the production of fuel pellets.

Fuel granules are similar in size and shape to the pencil or nail of an adult. Fuel discs are placed in metal tubes called fuel columns and are about 4 feet long. When assembled into a package, the fuel columns form what is called a fuel package.

The nuclear reactor can store more than 200 fuel packs at a time, according to the reactor design. The APR-1400 nuclear reactor used at the Barakah plant operates using 241 fuel packs, each weighing about 650 kilograms.

The refueling process follows the highest safety standards, during which uranium is supplied to the nuclear reactor. Specialized experts from Nawah Energy transport 241 packages of fuel one by one to the plant’s reactor. With safety at the forefront at every stage, it takes 14 days to complete this task according to a carefully thought-out plan.

Each of the fuel packs can last a reactor up to 6 years, and nuclear fuel packs are replaced when they are less able to produce enough heat. About one-third of each reactor’s fuel pack is replaced every 12 to 24 months. Barracks every 18 months.

The report said that engineers in Barakah worked to improve the efficiency of the reactor and the fuel used to achieve a 24-month operational cycle, which ensures the continuity of reliable and environmentally friendly electricity generation.

Regarding possession of nuclear fuel radioactivity, Emirates Nuclear Energy explained that unused nuclear fuel packages have a low level of radioactivity and a person can stay close to fuel packages without any risk to his health, noting that the delivery of fuel packages to the Reactor Site is transported within the transport containers.Made of steel specially designed for this purpose, it is safe and strong to protect the fuel from any damage it may suffer during the transport process.

Fuel wasted.

The report addresses spent fuel, explaining that once the fuel is removed from the reactor, it is stored in stainless steel-coated concrete basins located near the reactor building for a period of 5 years. Cold water flows through these basins to get rid of. the heat generated by the fuel until it has cooled enough to pass into the storage process.Long-term or reprocessing.

Once the spent fuel has cooled, it is transferred to steel-concrete containers called dry batteries. These bins can be safely stored at the Barakah plant site or in a temporary or long-term storage facility. As part of the UAE’s commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the country has decided to refrain from reprocessing nuclear waste within the country since the start of the UAE’s peaceful nuclear program.

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