DUBAI, Dec 31 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates’ first nuclear power plant will come online in the first quarter of 2020, when one of its four reactors will become operational, the al-Ittihad newspaper said on Tuesday.
Testing on a second reactor is also set to begin soon, the Abu Dhabi government-owned al-Ittihad newspaper reported, quoting information from the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
The United Arab Emirates’ nuclear regulator is in the final stages of issuing a licence for the first reactor.
Once this is granted, fuel loading will begin and energy production will gradually be increased until full commercial operation is achieved in a few months’ time, the newspaper said.
“This will mark the start of the operational phase of peaceful nuclear energy in the Arab world,” ENEC told the paper.
Reuters reported in November that the licence was likely to be issued in the first quarter of 2020.
Operator Nawah Energy Company said in May that Barakah should start up between the end of 2019 and early 2020.
It will be the UAE’s first nuclear plant and the world’s largest when complete, with four reactors and 5,600 megawatts (MW) of capacity.
The $24.4 billion power plant is being built by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) but problems with training enough local staff have delayed the start-up of its first reactor several times. (Writing by Lisa Barrington; editing by Jason Neely)