Korea wins $40 billion nuclear deal
According to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, the Kepco consortium beat its French and U.S.-Japanese rivals and won the Arab world’s first nuclear power plant contract.
Though Kepco is the lead contractor, the winning consortium includes the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corporation, Korea Nuclear Fuel, Hyundai Construction & Engineering, Samsung C&T, Doosan Heavy Industries, Westinghouse of the United States and Japan’s Toshiba.
The announcement came shortly after President Lee Myung-bak concluded a summit with the U.A.E. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi. Lee flew to the Arab nation on Saturday to give one last push to win the contract.
The deal is Korea’s first to export nuclear reactors that will be designed, built and operated with the nation’s indigenous technologies. Under the contract, Korea will build four 1,400-megawatts reactors, support operations and provide fuel.
The construction contract alone amounts to $20 billion. In addition to the construction, Korea will participate in the operation, maintenance and fuel supply of the power plants during the 60-year-long lifespan of the reactors, earning another $20 billion.
Of the four reactors commissioned, the first will be completed by 2017. The remaining three will produce electricity by 2020, the Blue House said.
In addition to the nuclear power plant project, Kepco and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation also signed deals to participate in water, electricity, gas and transportation programs in the U.A.E. According to the Blue House, the deal is six times larger than what used to be the country’s largest construction contract in Libya. The Libyan waterway project was worth $6.3 billion. The $40 billion deal is worth about one-sixth of the Korean government’s 2010 budget.
“By 2030, more than 430 nuclear reactors are expected to be built around the world, and the global nuclear energy market will be worth about $1 trillion,” said a Blue House official. “Korea’s successful win of the U.A.E. deal will serve as an important opportunity for the country to become a strong power in the future competitions.”
The Blue House also said Lee’s diplomatic and negotiation skills played the crucial role. The former CEO of Hyundai Construction-turned-president with the nickname “Bulldozer” “had given specific advice from how to form a consortium to pricing strategies,” a presidential aide said.
Shortly after his arrival in Abu Dhabi, Lee had a dinner with Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, who came to the airport to greet him. “The crown prince’s welcome at the airport was a surprise, and President Lee promised that his meeting with the crown prince will serve as an opportunity to develop the two nations’ bonds,” Blue House spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said.
By Ser Myo-ja [email@example.com]
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