The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has requested that the UAE Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) approve additional preparatory construction work at the proposed site for the UAE’s first nuclear power plants at Braka.

Enec is requesting to start pouring concrete for the plant’s first two units and placing reinforced steel and piping for the reactor building. Enec previously filed the construction license application for units one and two of the project (MEED 28:12:10). The submittal came exactly one year after the award of the $20bn contract to a South Korean-led consortium to build four nuclear power plants on 27 December 2009.

Enec and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco)-led consortium are currently in negotiations with export credit agencies (ECAs) and commercial banks to finance the project. Financing is still at an early stage, but sources close to the project indicate that about one third of the financing is expected to come from the government, one third from ECAs and one third from commercial lenders. The Abu Dhabi government is expected to guarantee the commercial debt tranche.

According to Enec’s ambitious schedule for the project, concrete for the first unit will be installed in late 2012. Operating licences for units one and two will be submitted in early 2015. Unit one will begin commercial operations in 2017, which will be followed by unit two the following year. Unit three is to come online in 2019 and unit four will be ready by 2020.