Nuclear contracts for Emirati companies hit milestone through Barakah plant

The value of contracts awarded to local companies in building the UAE’s first nuclear plant has reached Dh11 billion, or more than double their value this time last year, Enec said.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) said that more than 1,400 UAE-based companies are now part of the construction effort for the country’s first nuclear energy plant. It is scheduled to start bringing online four South Korea-designed reactors, one each year starting next year.

It will supply about 25 per cent of the country’s electricity when all are online by 2020.

Enec and its prime contractor, Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), have awarded contracts during the past six years since the US$20bn project began, with beneficiaries including Dubai-based Ducab and Emirates Steel.

“Emirati companies are now contributing to the construction of the nuclear plant at Barakah and also gaining a competitive advantage in providing nuc­lear-quality services and materials worldwide,” said Mohamed Al Hammadi, Enec’s chief executive, in marking the milestone.

Part of the contracting process has required companies to meet tough standards set by international bodies in the industry and, Enec pointed out, this has resulted in companies becoming internationally competitive.

Ducab was a recent example, signing last month its first international export contract with the Korean Hydro-Nuclear ­Power Company to provide nuclear industry standard cables for the Shin Hanul 1 and 2 nuclear ­power reactors.

“A major factor in the UAE’s decision to pursue a peaceful nuclear energy programme was the opportunity to develop and enhance the nation’s budding industrial sector and provide a diverse range of opportunities for talented Emiratis. The UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy programme has supported the diversification and growth of the nation’s economy since its inception,” said Mr Al Hammadi.

The project, which has an operation phase contracted to run for 60 years after construction, is expected to be a significant contributor to Abu Dhabi’s Al Gharbia region.

Mr Al Hammadi had previously said that Barakah should employ about 2,000 directly when it is up and running and he has said that each direct employee results in about six indirect ones in sectors such as transport and health care.

This time last year, Mr Hammadi said that $1.2bn of contracts had been awarded to local firms.

Al Gharbia covers 40,000 square kilometres, or about 60 per cent of Abu Dhabi emirate’s land mass, but has a relatively low – but growing – share of the population at about 200,000.

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Anthony McAuley

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