The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has celebrated the inauguration of its Simulator Training Centre (STC) at Barakah in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi - the site of the UAE’s nuclear energy plants.
The new simulators, which are among the world’s most advanced nuclear training devices and the first of their kind in the Middle East, will complement ENEC’s comprehensive training program and help ENEC to prepare its scholarships students to attain Reactor Operator (RO) and Senior Reactor Operator (SRO) certifications. They will also provide continuous training for ENEC’s working SROs.
The STC is home to two simulators which are identical to the plant’s main control room, each consisting of a large display panel, which highlights the most important parameters for operators’ quick reference, and five operator stations from which ROs can consult any system within the plant using their man-machine interface system.
Developed by ENEC’s prime contractor, the Korea Electric Power Corp, Western Services Corporation and SHINIL, the simulator replicates the actual conditions and environment that reactor operators would experience in a real time situation. It also provides students with the opportunity to experience accident situations that they would normally not be exposed to in day to day operations.
The APR1400 simulators are among the most advanced simulators in the world due to the complexity of both the core modelling and the Instrumentation and control systems. The simulators integrate multiple specialist software systems to reproduce the closest possible reproduction of the real plant.
The simulator represents only the first stage in the development of a dedicated simulator training centre at Barakah. The 7000m2 facility is a comprehensive training centre that utilises ultramodern technology and equipment which will be used to train ENEC employees.
“Safety is and will remain our main priority and highly trained and prepared reactor operators are critical to the safety of our plants,” said Mohamed Al Hammadi, chief executive officer of ENEC.
“Our state-of-the-art simulators are designed to replicate real scenarios and processes that our reactor operators will face every day. This form of training has been proven to be a reliable and successful training method in some of the most advanced industries worldwide.”
“Real-time control room simulators have a proven track record of developing user softs skills such as communication, the ability to respond efficiently, solid decision making and working as part of a team. They play a key role in the development of a nuclear safety culture.”
Each student requires more than 800 hours of advanced simulator training to receive the SRO certification, which is controlled and issued by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) in the UAE. The training is part of a preliminary training program ENEC runs for its SROs and is in addition to the 2,000 hours of official training the operators undertake.
ENEC has recently been granted approval for additional civil works relating to Barakah Units 3 & 4 under its Limited Construction License. This approval will help to ensure that the units remain on schedule to enter commercial operations in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
The first two units are now more than 40% complete, and are being constructed safely, on time and within budget. Unit 1 is scheduled to enter commercial operations in 2017, and Unit 2 is scheduled for operations in 2018, pending regulatory approvals. ENEC will apply for an Operating License for Units 1 and 2 in 2015.