The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has awarded a $60m contract to the local Hilal Bil Badi & Partners Contracting (Hilalco) to install water infrastructure on its Baraka nuclear energy plant, located in the western region of Abu Dhabi.

Hilalco will install circulating water intake structures (CWIS) for the four nuclear energy plants under construction in Baraka. The reinforced concrete structures will take an estimated 45 months to develop. The infrastructure will provide cooling water for the turbine condensers and turbine generator building cooling water heat exchangers.

Enec awarded a South Korean consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) a $20bn contract to build four reactors in 2009. The first is scheduled to come online in 2017, with the remaining three planned for completion in 2020.

In March this year, the nuclear scheme reached a key milestone when Enec applied for a licence to build a third and fourth nuclear reactor at the Baraka site.

The nuclear project is being developed to meet rapidly rising demand for electricity in Abu Dhabi and the northern emirates. The UAE capital reported steady annual demand growth of 6 per cent in the five years to 2008. Since then, the emirate has consistently recorded growth of more than 10 per cent a year, reaching a decade high of 13.9 per cent in 2011 as peak demand hit 7,683MW.