S. Korea, UAE, sign nuclear reactors deal

Dec. 28, 2009 at 12:54 AM

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- The United Arab Emirates picked a South Korean-led consortium for a $20 billion contract to build and help run four nuclear power reactors, officials said.

The New York Times said the nuclear power reactors would be the first in the Middle East.

Under the deal announced in Abu Dhabi Sunday, Korea Electric Power will lead a group that includes Westinghouse and the American subsidiary of Toshiba. The power company is to build, design and help operate the plants for the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak traveled Saturday to Abu Dhabi to meet with UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to seal the deal on the largest-ever nuclear agreement in the Middle East, Yonhap reported.

"With the signing of the U.A.E. contract, our country finally realizes the dream of becoming an energy-exporting nation, as it exports its nuclear reactors to an oil-exporting country of the Middle East," a South Korean official said.

The Korean group won the contract over a General Electric-Hitachi team and a French consortium.

The agreement may result in more nuclear plant-building opportunities for South Korea, to meet demand for more reactors in the Emirates, Yonhap said.

The deal came after the United Arab Emirates agreed not to enrich uranium or reprocess used fuel, easing concerns about nuclear proliferation, the Times said.

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