South Korea has beaten the US, Europe and Japan at their own game to land the country's first international nuclear power project.
Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) has won a contract to build and operate four nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates, beating out rival bids from a U.S.-Japanese consortium comprising General Electric and Hitachi, as well as a French team of GdF Suez, Areva, and Total.
Construction of the reactors alone is expected to be worth more than $20 billion, not to mention Kepco will be in the driving seat for future lucrative service contracts. This deal, announced Dec. 28, marks the first full-scale nuclear development in the Arab country.
Although Japan’s main bid failed to be accepted by the UAE government, it is nonetheless a junior partner in the Korean consortium through Westinghouse and Toshiba Power Systems. These companies apparently possess patented technologies necessary to build third-generation light water reactors.
David Adam Stott reported for the Shingetsu Institute that Japan had become the fourth major player to sign a nuclear cooperation agreement with the UAE on January 19, 2009. This followed a week-long visit by a UAE delegation, led by Muhammad al-Hammadi, CEO of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, to Tokyo in December 2008 to meet representatives of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, visit a nuclear power plant, and tour Hitachi and Toshiba nuclear factories.
Westinghouse is to supply equipment, engineering, and fuel-service contracts to the Korean consortium. The precise value of these Japan-affiliated contracts is unclear, but is likely to be substantial.
APP Nonresident Senior Fellow
Executive Director, Shingetsu Institute