The UAE plans to build four reactors with a capacity of up to 1,500MW each at the emirate’s first nuclear power plant, sources close to the project tell MEED.

The plant will have a total capacity of between 5,600MW and 6,000MW, depending on the type of technology used.

The government agency plans to have the first reactor producing power in 2017, with the other three coming on line at 18-24-month intervals.

It is the first time that such details of the UAE’s plans to develop its nuclear power sector have come to light.

Sources close to the project say the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, which is overseeing the development of the sector, has divided the contract to build the plant into three parts: the construction of the plant, its operation, and the supply of nuclear fuel.

“Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation has divided the contract to build the plant into three parts”

Three groups are vying for the deal. They are a French team of Areva, GdF Suez and Total with the US’ Bechtel Corporation and France’s Vinci; a group of the US’ GE and Japan’s Hitachi; and a South Korean team of Korea Electric Power Corporation, Hyundai Engineering & Construction, and Samsung Corporation.

Sources close to the project say Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp-oration will only award the contract once the UAE has signed the 123 Agreement with the US, which covers the sharing of  nuclear technology.

The US Congress completed its review of the agreement in mid October and the two countries must now exchange diplomatic notes verifying that they have fulfilled all the necessary requirements for the deal to go ahead.

In early October, UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan passed legislation – the Federal Law Regarding the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy – establishing the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation to oversee the country’s nuclear power sector.

In line with the UAE’s stated commitment to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the law also prohibits the development of uranium enrichment and spent-fuel processing facilities.

The UAE is one of several countries in the region that are planning to develop nuclear power facilities in the coming years.

Egyptplans to build four nuclear power plants each with a capacity of 1,000MW, with the first power produced by 2025. In mid May, Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority awarded a consultancy contract on the scheme to Australia’s Worley-Parsons.

In September, the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission awarded a consultancy contract to Belgium’s Tractebel Engineering.

The engineering firm will carry out a site study on an area east of Aqaba. The facility will include one or two reactors each with a capacity of 1,000-1,400MW.