A Korean consortium signed a contract worth US$40 billion to build four nuclear power plants in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in late December of 2009. Korea and the UAE signed and announced the deal at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi attended by Korean President Lee Myung-bak and UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Under the nuclear power plant construction agreement, the consortium, led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KOPEC), will build the power plants by 2020. US$20 billion will go into their construction while a further US$20 billion will cover services, such as fuel supply, operations and maintenance.
The project is Korea’s biggest-ever overseas order and its first export of a nuclear power plant. The deal is expected to pave the way for Korean companies to make a foray into the global nuclear power plant market, a market experts predict is worth approximately US$1 trillion.
In addition to KOPEC, the consortium includes Hyundai Engineering and Construction, Samsung C&T, Doosan Heavy Industries of Korea, Westinghouse Electric andJapan’s Toshiba Corporation. The consortium won a close victory over a rival consortium comprising of General Electric of the U.S., Hitachi of Japan and the French nuclear group Areva. President Lee flew to the UAE for a summit with Khalifa in an effort to help the Korean consortium win the highly lucrative project. It later became known that President Lee was an avid supporter of the KOPEC-led consortium and even gave advice to the head of the consortium thanks to his experience as a seasoned businessman in the construction sector.
The contracted project is a mega Nuclear Power Plant(NPP) project, and includes the design, purchase, and construction of four 1400MW Advanced Power Reactors (APR1400), as well as support and fuel supply for 60 years following completion.
The APR 1400 that will be exported is an improved Korean standard NPP that represents a significant enhancement of the OPR1000 in terms of both safety and economic efficiency. In particular, its safety has already been proven, as the model was used for the construction of Shin-Kori Units 3 and 4, with its construction period and cost having been dramatically reduced through design simplification. This project represents an official recognition of the excellence of Korean Standard APR1400.
The four 1400MW NPPs that will be constructed by the KEPCO-led Consortium will be located in Sila, which is approximately 330 km west of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. The construction of Unit 1 will start in 2011 and end in May 2017, while construction of the other units will commence one by one every year after 2011, resulting in all four NPPs being completed by 2020.
KEPCO is the world’s 6th nuclear powerhouse with an installed capacity of 17,716MW as of the end of 2008. KEPCO commercially operates 20 units as of 2009, with eight more units currently under construction and an additional ten units planned to be built by 2030. The power company retains world-class operating capabilities, with an unplanned shutdown record of 0.35 times/unit-year and a capacity factor of 93.4%. The company also boasts first-rate competitiveness in building nuclear power plants. Based on its accumulated know-how and technological expertise in constructing and operating nuclear power plants, such as the export-type nuclear reactors of the Advanced Power Reactor 1400 (APR1400) and Advanced Power Reactor 1000 (APR1000), KEPCO is expected to secure more overseas nuclear power projects as a source for future profits and growth.