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South Korea Unlikely to Win Barakah Nuclear Power Plant Maintenance Project
Korea's Role Likely to Be Limited to Personnel Dispatch
South Korea Unlikely to Win Barakah Nuclear Power Plant Maintenance Project
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • June 18, 2019, 09:18
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A South Korean consortium is unlikely to win a long-term maintenance contract from the UAE for the Barakah nuclear power plant.  

Negotiations are going on between the consortium of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power and Korea Plant Service & Engineering and Nawah, which runs the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE, over the long-term maintenance of the power plant and manpower dispatch to that end. Nawah is planning to control the maintenance by setting up an office for the purpose and bringing engineers from some bidders by means of subcontracting.

This means the South Korean consortium’s plan to be in charge of the entire maintenance project and send equipment as well as personnel for up to 3 trillion won in sales is likely to be thwarted. Experts point out what the UAE is aiming at is a direct control over nuclear power plant management.

The long-term maintenance project is to conduct various types of maintenance on the four power plants in Barakah with a total capacity of 5,600 MW, which were built by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power. Previously, the South Korean consortium was expected to win the contract as the power plants are based on South Korea’s APR 1400 nuclear reactors. Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power already signed an operating support services agreement with Nawah in 2016.

However, things began to go awry in 2017. Nawah veered towards a public tender from a private contract and Doosan Babcock and Allied Power joined the bidding. In November last year, the UAE signed a long-term service agreement worth approximately 120 billion won with Électricité de France (EDF) even without prior notice to the South Korean consortium. News leaked out late last month that the UAE was planning to drop the public tender, split the contract into three subcontracts with the South Korean, American and British companies, and shorten the contract period from 10 to 15 years to five years.