Unit 1 of the UAE's Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant will commence operations by 2020.
Nawah Energy Company, the plant's operator, has entered the next phase of preparations for nuclear operations.
The company recently completed a comprehensive operational readiness review to generate a schedule for the start-up of the plant.
Nawah's review forecasts that "the loading of nuclear fuel assemblies" required to commence nuclear operations at Unit 1 "will occur between the end of 2019 and early 2020".
Construction work on Unit 1 was reported to have been completed this March.
The projection for Unit 1's start-up reflects the time required for Barakah's nuclear operators to complete operational readiness activities and to obtain necessary regulatory approvals.
Operators will begin loading nuclear fuel assemblies and initiate operations after all preparations for nuclear operations are completed, and Nawah has received an operating license for Unit 1 from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).
Commenting on the development, Mark Reddemann, chief executive officer of Nawah, said: "Our review relied on global nuclear standards to analyse the remaining work required for nuclear operations, and we are confident that this new projection for fuel loading gives Nawah a nuclear-centric and conservative schedule to deliver nuclear operations in alignment with the highest standards of safety and quality.
"By achieving high standards in Unit 1, Nawah is setting a robust precedent for the subsequent operation of Units 2, 3, and 4, as well as for the regional industry."
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), on behalf of Nawah, submitted the Operating License Application for Units 1 and 2 of the plant in 2015.