South Korea inks $920m deal for UAE reactors


State-owned Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) signed a $920m deal with Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) to operate four nuclear reactors, currently under construction, in Barakah in Abu Dhabi.

It is the first time for the firm that has been providing nuclear components and construction services to be in charge of maintenance and operation of a nuclear operation overseas.

Based on the agreement signed, KHNP will dispatch a total of 3,000 employees to the UAE until 2030 – about 210 every year – starting May, next year.

They will be responsible for the operations of four advanced power reactor (APR)-1400 nuclear reactors that are under construction as part of UAE’s project to build its first nuclear power station.

ENEC will pay for the labor and living cost and other staff expenses. The total size of the deal is estimated to be $920m – $600m in service fees and $320m for expatriate packages on housing and education subsidies.

Cho Seok, president and chief executive of KHNP, said: “It is almost unprecedented globally for foreigners to be recruited to oversee nuclear facility. We hope that KHNP will be able to renew the operations contract once it expires in 2030 to fixate Korean presence in the nuclear power plant site in Barakah.”

In 2009, KHNP participated in a consortium led by the state-run Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) that won a deal to build four nuclear reactors in the UAE. It was Korea’s first deal to export nuclear reactor technology.

KHNP has completed installing the first of the four reactors in May, last year, after breaking ground in July, 2012.

The construction of all four reactors will be complete by May 2020.