Transmission distance to the country’s oil industry and the Saudi border were key factors
A remote beach at Braka in Abu Dhabi on the Persian gulf about 50 km (31 miles) from the center of Abu Dhabi’s oil industry at Rawis will be home to four new nuclear reactors to be built by a South Korean consortium.
The site is also just 160 km (100 miles) from the border with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which is expected to be a prime customer for electricity from the reactors. The sparsely populated region was chosen because it presented few environmental challenges or impacts on nearby populations.
The site was chosen from a short-list of ten alternatives. The evaluation process considered security, seismic conditions, and adequate water supply for cooling. Some of the reactor capacity will be used for desalinization which means the plants will use seawater, rather than fresh water, as a primary resource.
The UAE expects the first plant to be operational by 2017 with 2,000 operations and support staff on site. Construction of roads, and a port jetty with cranes, will begin later this year to support delivery of equipment, materials, and reactor components to the site. The UAE plans to connect the site to a regional transmission and distribution grid to supply electricity to other countries on its side of the Persian Gulf once the reactors are in revenue service.
The UAE is one of the world’s largest exporters of oil, but it has diminishing supplies of natural gas. In additional to growing demand for electricity for its population, the country wants to develop itself as a regional aluminum smelting center that also produces finished goods for export. Emirates Aluminum is one of the world’s largest “greenfield” projects of its kind.
In 2009 Abu Dhabi awarded a $20 billion contract to a consortium of South Korean companies including KEPCO which will supply four 1,400 MW reactors to the UAE. Doosan Heavy Industries will make the reactor pressure vessels, steam generators, and pumps. Other South Korean firms will set up factories to manufacture some of the reactor components in the UAE. Construction of the first reactor is expected to begin in late 2012 following completion of the licensing process with the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation.
Emirates appoints Chief Nuclear Officer
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation announced May 3 that it has appointed Joseph N. Jensen, an experienced U.S. nuclear utility executive, as its Chief Nuclear Officer.
Mr. Jensen was most recently Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer for American Electric Power, responsible for oversight of AEP’s Nuclear Generation Group and D.C.Cook Nuclear Plant in Michigan. He will report to ENEC’s Chief Executive Officer, Mohamed Al Hammadi, and is due to start work in June.
“Joe will be an outstanding addition to our organization, and we are very pleased that he will be joining the team in Abu Dhabi,” Mr. Al Hammadi said. “His commitment to safety, and to human resource development and training, as well as his technical and operations background, make him the ideal fit for the ENEC team.”
As CNO, Jensen, 52, will have full responsibility for the UAE’s proposed nuclear facility’s safety of operations and the protection of public health and safety – beginning in the current design, licensing and site selection phases of the project.
He will also be responsible for creating the organization, policies and procedures to implement that mandate. An important part of this work will be leading the already ongoing work to create a strong nuclear safety culture at ENEC.
Jensen will also serve as the main point of contact with the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation and other government organizations.
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