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S. Korea wins 1 tln won deal to operate UAE nuclear reactors

All News 00:00 July 25, 2016

SEOUL, July 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's state-run energy firm said Monday it has clinched a deal with its United Arab Emirates (UAE) counterpart to operate four nuclear reactors under construction there through 2030.

Under the plan signed in Abu Dhabi on July 20, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. will be in charge of the operation of the four Advanced Power Reactor (APR)-1400 nuclear reactors under construction in the UAE, marking the first time for a South Korean firm to sign an agreement of that kind with overseas partners.

Starting May 2017, the state-run firm will send 210 personnel every year to the Middle East country to run the reactors.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) will bear the costs of the operation. The size of the deal is estimated at 1 trillion won (US$878 million), including living expenses for the South Korean workers.

The UAE has been making efforts to tap deeper into sustainable energy sources, and easing its dependency on traditional sources.

Industry watchers said the latest agreement will help South Korea win more potential nuclear-reactor construction deals from the UAE.

In 2009, a South Korean consortium led by state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. won a $20 billion deal to build four nuclear power plants in the UAE, marking the nation's first export of nuclear reactors. Last year, President Park Geun-hye visited the UAE to attend a ceremony marking the installation of a Korean-built nuclear reactor at a power plant in Barakah.

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. president Cho Seok said the latest operating support services agreement with the UAE is unprecedented for Korean industries.

"Globally, too, it's rare that a country has foreigners in charge of operating its nuclear reactors. South Korea's relationship with the Middle East has evolved around the construction sector since the 1970s, but a new era seems to be dawning now," said Cho.

colin@yna.co.kr
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