Abu Dhabi: The US technical knowledge will be involved in the construction of the first-ever nuclear power plant in the UAE to be built at Baraka in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, US Ambassador to the UAE told Gulf News in an interview.

“Westinghouse’s technology will be used in the UAE nuclear project as the Korean company has a collaboration with Westinghouse,” Michael H. Corbin said on the sidelines of the ongoing Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (Adipec-2012) in the capital. Corbin did not elaborate.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec), the body in charge of developing the UAE’s nuclear programme, has selected a site 75 kilometres from the Saudi border on the Emirates Road, for the construction of the country’s first four nuclear plants.

As per plan, the operation of the UAE’s first nuclear plant is scheduled to start in 2017.

In March 2010, Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco) awarded a $5.59 billion (Dh20.6 billion) contract to Hyundai Engineering and Construction and Samsung C and T for the construction of the four plants.

By 2020, the UAE’s electricity demand is expected to reach 40,000 MW, an annual increase of about nine per cent. With a current capacity of about 16,000 MW, the government has said the nuclear option presents the most sustainable alternative to oil to power growth.

Separately, Corbin said the Habshan-Fujairah oil pipeline is a strategic one for the UAE as it gives them the option “to move their oil to the Indian Ocean without going through the Strait of Hormuz.”

Corbin said the US saw the UAE and the Middle East region were “stable and safe” places for doing business.

“We see a lot of potential in this region. There are a lot of opportunities here,” said Corbin, adding the US oil companies would be rebidding for the oil concessions in Abu Dhabi when fresh bids are called.

He said the US businesses, in general offer, big value. “They invest in training, use the best technology and pass on their technology. We bring high technology products and services and there’s a need for those services in this region,” Corbin added.

As many as 85 US companies are exhibiting their products and services at the Adipec, according to Corbin.