The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), has announced the completion of the final stages of an artificially constructed reef, located 3.8km from the shoreline of Barakah, the home of the UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy program.
Developed in partnership with the National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC), and in line with guidance from ENEC’s environmental regulator, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), the Barakah Artificial Reef Project is just one of the proactive environmental initiatives being implemented by ENEC to ensure the long-term sustainability of the natural areas surrounding the Barakah site.
The almost 6,700 square meter reef, roughly the size of one football field, was constructed using recycled molded concrete core-locs originally utilized in the assembly of Barakah’s coastal breakwater. Almost 1800 of the large concrete units were carefully positioned on the ocean floor using a GPS aided crane to create the underwater reef structure.
The lattice formation of the reef is designed to replicate a natural coral reef, and works to stimulate the local ecosystem by improving the existing seabed habitat, providing additional shelter for marine life, and encouraging biodiversity. The enhanced habitat is expected to attract a range of marine species including algae, invertebrates such as barnacles, corals, and oysters, and a variety of small and large fish.
ENEC has outlined its commitment to operating in an environmentally-conscious manner in its Barakah Environment and Sustainability Charter- an agreement co-signed by ENEC and its prime contractor, KEPCO. The charter sets out a series of obligations for both parties to ensure that environmental protection, habitat preservation, water and energy conservation, and sustainable waste management best-practices are consistently applied at site.
Mohamed Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, commented on the development of the project: “Sustainability is at the heart of what we do at ENEC, and we are consistently looking for ways to protect and enhance our natural environment. The completion of the Barakah Artificial Reef Project in the waters off the coast of our site is an excellent example of the positive measures we are implementing in line with our Environment and Sustainability Charter.”
ENEC has also rolled out a number of other sustainability initiatives in recent months, including an intensive water conservation campaign which has seen the installation of water efficient faucets at the plant, the development of an innovative car washing facility that recycles more than 80 percent of the water it uses, and the application of recycling methods to reuse water from the project for uses such as irrigation. Collectively, these efforts have helped reduce Barakah’s water consumption by up to almost 100,000 gallons per day – the equivalent of more than 55 Olympic sized swimming pools over the course of a year.
ENEC is committed to operating in a manner respectful of its local environment throughout all stages of construction and operations, and works closely with EAD to regularly monitor and effectively mitigate any impacts the program may have on the surrounding environments.
By 2020, ENEC’s four nuclear energy reactors will provide approximately 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs, saving up to 12 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Unit 1 is already more than 60% complete and due to connect to the grid in 2017, with one additional unit coming online each year up to 2020.
In September, the company announced that it has poured the safety concrete for the Reactor Containment Building of Unit 3, following the receipt of the Construction Licence from the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR).