The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced Sunday that it had selected a team led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) to design, build and help operate civil nuclear power plants for the United Arab Emirates peaceful nuclear energy program.
"Following a comprehensive and detailed review of three excellent bids from some of the world's top nuclear suppliers, operators and construction firms, ENEC has determined that the KEPCO team is best equipped to fulfill the government's partnership requirements in this ambitious program," said Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chairman of ENEC. "The nature of this project will require a partnership that endures for nearly 100 years. This arrangement has driven us to focus on a very careful assessment of what characteristics among the competing consortia would translate into the best over-all fit in a partner for our program."
According to WAM news agency, ENEC Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Al Hammadi, added: "We were impressed with the KEPCO team's world-class safety performance, and its demonstrated ability to meet the UAE program goals. Additionally, the KEPCO team dedicated a highly experienced team to our project and has shown a serious commitment to transferring the knowledge gained from Korea's 30 years of successful nuclear industry operation into the UAE program. "
"We look forward to a long and productive relationship as we work toward powering the future growth of the UAE with low-carbon, peaceful nuclear energy," Mr. Al Hammadi said.
The contract calls for the KEPCO team to design, build and help operate four 1,400-MW civil nuclear power units. The value of the contract for the construction, commissioning and fuel loads for four units equaled approximately US$20 billion, with a high percentage of the contract being offered under a fixed-price arrangement.
In addition to the delivery of the four plants, ENEC and KEPCO have also agreed to key terms under which Korean investors will have an equity interest in the project.
The first of the four units is scheduled to begin providing electricity to the grid in 2017, with the three later units being completed by 2020.
Given the growth in electricity demand projected for the United Arab Emirates, it is expected that additional units beyond the original four will be procured in the future as the UAE expands its fleet of civil nuclear power plants.