South Korea gets operations contract for UAE nuclear power plant

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) and Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) yesterday signed a joint-venture agreement for the operation of the UAE’s Barakah nuclear power plant which is due to start producing electricity next year.

It will be the first nuclear power plant completed in an Arab country and has ultimate power generation capacity of 5.6GW, more than five times larger than Iran’s existing nuclear plant in Bushehr.

Kepco announced that the deal will help facilitate its campaign to secure additional projects in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries.

The deal is reported to be worth $900m. Enec said in a statement to Bloomberg that Kepco is taking an 18 per cent stake in a venture representing the commercial interests of the UAE’s Barakah nuclear-plant project, with ENEC holding the rest.

No value for the contract was mentioned.

Construction of Enec’s four reactors is more than 71 per cent complete, and all the plants are to be finished in 2020, Enec said.

Kepco CEO Cho Hwan-eik signed the contract on Thursday with Enec CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi in Abu Dhabi.

Under the agreement, Kepco has secured exclusive rights to manage and operate four nuclear reactors, which are currently under construction. The first  reactor will be operational by May 2017 and the remaining three will go online step by step by May 2020.

Kepco and the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corporation (KHNP) expect to sign a separate contract with soon for almost 1,000 nuclear engineers and technicians to operate the Barakah plan for the next 10 years.
Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Samsung Construction & Trade have the contract to build the Al-Barakh plant.