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UAE protests withdrawal of KHNP experts from Barakah plant

Industry 08:25 April 03, 2019

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- The state-run energy corporation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) lodged a protest against Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power's decision to remove experts from the Barakah nuclear plant, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. (ENEC) sent a letter to the Korea Electric Power Corp., which controls the KHNP, in January to express concern over the withdrawal, the document revealed by Rep. Choi Yeon-hye of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party showed.

In the letter sent by ENEC CEO Mohamed Al-Hammadi to KEPCO CEO Kim Jong-gap, the UAE company raised issue with the "unilateral decision" to withdraw "critical" experts away from Barakah, the country's first nuclear plant built by South Korea.

"I am shocked to be informed by my team that a significant number of experienced KHNP people have immediately departed the Barakah project and returned to Korea, and that this was done with little or no prior notification," the letter added.

The ENEC claimed that South Korea should take immediate actions to resolve the issue, claiming the departure of experienced KHNP resources came at a critical time as well.

The letter claimed the Barakah plants require the best quality of experts, and that the withdrawal came at a critical time, especially as the commercial negotiations on strategic projects on the long-term maintenance agreement (LTMA) are about to be concluded.

A South Korean consortium of the KHNP and KEPCO is currently planning to join a bid for the LTMA for the Barakah plant.

KEPCO and the KHNP said the withdrawal is part of a regular personnel reshuffle, and that the matter has already been cleared with the ENEC in advance.

The Barakah nuclear plant in the United Arab Emirates (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr
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