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Here’s how Barakah Unit 1 got its operating licence

ENEC had submitted an Operating Licence Application to FANR, the country’s independent nuclear regulator, in 2015.

The UAE’s Nuclear Energy Programme gained momentum in February after the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) issued operating licence to Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation’s (ENEC) subsidiary Nawah Energy Company (Nawah), which is responsible for operating Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi.

ENEC had submitted an Operating Licence Application to FANR, the country’s independent nuclear regulator, in 2015. Next five years involved 255 inspections by FANR inspectors, review of 14,000-page application and requests for more than 2,000 additional information on design, safety and other things.

These stringent measures were taken to ensure the nuclear plant’s full compliance with all regulatory requirements and safety of community and environment.

Step-by-step evaluation

The systematic assessment involved review of layout design and analysis of the location of the plant, geographically and demographically. Assessments involved the reactor design in terms of the nuclear fuel installations, control and cooling systems. Then FANR evaluated the safety systems to avoid any design-based accidents and limit radioactive release. The authority took note of the management of radioactive waste and the condition of collecting, storing and treating it. Also, a comprehensive safety system was set as a basic requirement to secure the power plant from any acts of sabotage.

FANR confirmed that the activities carried out at the plant are peaceful and adheres to the national and international legislation. It assessed the preparation of the operator to address any nuclear or radiological emergency in coordination with the local authorities.

FANR evaluated the operator’s plan to equip specialised personnel to operate the plant safely.

The licence was issued for 60 years of operation and the plan to then dismantle the plant was also evaluated.


. March 2010 – Selection of site

. July 2010 – Preparation of construction

. July 2012 – Construction of Units 1 and 2

. July 2014 – Construction of Units 3 and 4

. January 2017 – Handling, storage of nuclear fuel

. February 2020 – Operation of Unit 1 for 60 years

. 2080 – FANR to issue licence to decommission nuclear facility


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