The United Arab Emirates said yesterday it had selected six companies to supply fuel to its four planned nuclear reactors in deals worth an estimated $3 billion (2.43 billion euros).
"The six contracts are valued at approximately US$3 billion according to ENEC forecasts," the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation said in a statement.
The UAE announced this month that it would begin building two of four 1,400 megawatt nuclear power plants in partnership with a South Korean consortium, the first of which is scheduled to begin production in 2017.
ENEC said the companies providing raw material and enrichment services include France's Areva, London-headquartered Rio Tinto, the US company ConverDyn, Uranium One Inc of Canada, Britain's URENCO and Russia's TENEX.
The companies will begin providing uranium and processing services beginning in 2014, and cover the needs of the four plants at Barakah for 15 years.
The enriched uranium will be supplied to KEPCO Nuclear Fuels KNF, which will manufacture the fuel assemblies for use in the four planned UAE units.
KNF is a member of ENEC's Prime Contract consortium, led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).
"These contracts will provide ENEC with long-term security of supply, high quality fuel and favourable pricing and commercial terms," ENEC's chief executive Mohamed Al Hammadi was quoted as saying in a statement.
Areva said separately that its eight-year contract to provide enriched uranium was worth 400 million euros.
Despite being a major oil exporter, the UAE has opted for nuclear, seeing it as a proven, environmentally promising and commercially competitive source of electricity, upon which it relies to produce all of its drinking water via desalination.
With the four plants scheduled to be operating by 2020, the UAE hopes nuclear can provide up to a quarter of its electricity needs, which are forecast to soar to 40 gigawatts from 15.5 currently.
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