Abu Dhabi: Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco) says that talks are under way with the UAE to double the number of nuclear power plants it is to build in the country.
Speaking yesterday in Seoul, Kim Joong Kyum, president and chief executive of Kepco, said that four plants could be completed by 2021, in addition to the four reactors that the Korean energy giant is already building.
"Kepco would have exclusive talks with the UAE next year on a deal to build four additional nuclear plants to be completed by 2021," said Kim, quoted by Reuters last night.
"As far as I know, the UAE has not held talks with other countries [about the additional reactors]," he added.
Kim also said that Kepco plans to spend Dh2.5 billion in 2012 on overseas resources development including acquisitions.
"Kepco has also been in talks with India, Kaz-akhstan, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam over possible reactor exports, although any deals are unlikely to be signed this year," he said.
Sources of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec), the organisation responsible for the design, construction and operation of the UAE's first nuclear energy plants, were not immediately available to comment on the announcement.
The Kepco team would design, build and help operate four 1,400-megawatt nuclear power units, and put the value of the contract for construction, commissioning and fuel loads at about $20 billion (Dh73.5 billion), Kim said.
"Our efficiency will increase as we build the first four. We will achieve cost competitiveness if the same type of reactor is chosen ... we can shorten construction time, meaning earlier returns on investment," he said.
Abu Dhabi has chosen a group of South Korean firms to build the country's first nuclear power stations, in an effort to become the first Arab nation to harness atomic energy on a commercial scale.
Kepco announced last month that it hoped to start construction on the first plant in the fourth quarter, if regulatory approval was received by the third quarter of 2012.
Enec earlier said that Kepco was chosen for its competitive price, its ability to deliver on time and the company's well-developed plans for Emiratisation of the workforce.
In 2009, the UAE awarded Kepco a $20 billion construction contract to build four power stations to provide 25 per cent of the country's needs of power in order to curb the UAE's carbon footprint.
Enec has been granted approval by the UAE Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) for additional civil works at the proposed site for the UAE's first nuclear power plants in Barakah, located in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi.