The UAE is expected to place orders for four new nuclear power facilities next year, according to a newspaper report in South Korea, in addition to the four already being built.
“I heard that the UAE is planning orders for about four additional nuclear power stations,” said South Korea’s Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Suk-woo in a press conference in Abu Dhabi this week, the Korea Herald reported.
He said it was likely Korean firms would win the contracts to deliver the extra facilities.
“Since all the neighboring infrastructure will be built based on the Korean standard nuclear power plant, there is a good chance Korea could win the additional orders,” he added.
Hong said that the projects would create around 2,000 jobs in the nuclear energy sector, with this figure potentially rising to approximately 6,000 by 2020.
South Korea has so far played a key role in developing the UAE’s nuclear energy capabilities.
The UAE’s nuclear-power programme is a joint venture between state-owned Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp and Korea Electric Power Corp and was last year reported to have cost $30bn.
Emirates Nuclear is going ahead with plans to develop four nuclear reactors in the UAE even as other countries halt atomic programmes after the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused radioactive material to be released from its Fukushima plant.
Korea Electric, the country’s biggest electricity producer, won a contract in 2009 to complete the plants from 2017 to 2020, which will make the UAE the first Gulf Arab nation with atomic power.
Abu Dhabi will provide most of the $10bn equity, and $10bn of the debt is likely to come from export-credit agencies, mainly from South Korea, one of the people said.
The remaining $10bn will be a mix of bank financing and sovereign debt, reportedly.
Last month, Kuwait said it was abandoning its nuclear programme in the wake of the Fukushima fallout.
* With agencies
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