UAE to issue international tender to buy nuclear fuel

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The UAE's nuclear operator plans to issue an international tender to buy nuclear fuel needed to begin operating its nuclear plants, a local newspaper said on Friday.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) will agree to contracts for obtaining the uranium, converting it and enriching the fuel for use in its plants' nuclear reactors, according to the Arabic daily al-Ittihad.

ENEC was expected to complete its negotiations for fuel and sign final contracts by the first quarter of 2012, al-Ittihad reported.

"It is expected that the contracts will meet the amount of imported fuel needed for the future operational period and for the following 15 years," the paper quoted ENEC as saying.

The UAE has said it expects to start its first nuclear power plant in 2017. It expects nuclear energy to eventually account for 25 percent of its power requirements.

Despite ranking as the world's third-largest oil exporter, the UAE has struggled to meet power demand growth as its economy expands. It had embarked on a nuclear programme to meet that demand rather than burn more oil, and export less crude, at its power plants.

Korea Electric Power Corp , which led a consortium that won the UAE nuclear deal in 2009, plans to build four 1,400 megawatt reactors on the coast of Abu Dhabi, seat of the seven-emirate Gulf Arab federation.

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