Karin Maree

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) has asked French and US-led groups bidding to develop the UAE’s first nuclear power plant to submit lower prices after a South Korean consortium emerged as the low bidder, sources close to the project tell MEED.

The French consortium has until mid December to make a final offer to Enec, while the US/Japanese GE-Hitachi group resubmitted its best price in September.

In July, when Enec opened bids for the project, the team led by Korea Electric Power Corporation was the low bidder, the French consortium had submitted the second-lowest price and the GE and Hitachi group had bid the highest.

Bidding consortiums

  • South Korean:

Korea Electric Power Corporation, Hyundai Engineering & Construction, Samsung Corporation

  • French:

Areva, EDF, GdF Suez, Total, Vinci, Bechtel Corporation

  • US/Japanese:

GE, Hitachi

Source: MEED

The fact Enec has approached the US and French consortiums but not asked the South Korean group to revise its price suggests the UAE authority would prefer to award the deal to either the French or the US/Japanese teams for geopolitical reasons, say the sources.

They add that the South Korean consortium made the best offer by a significant margin. Enec has not released the value of the bids.

The winning developer will build up to four nuclear reactors, each with a capacity of 1,400-1,600MW. The first reactor will begin producing power in 2017, with the other three to follow at 18-24-month intervals.

Enec is unlikely to award the contract before March 2010, say the sources. The nuclear authority had originally planned to make an award in September.

The US and the UAE are in the process of finalising an agreement that would allow the emirates to use US nuclear technology. This is a prerequisite for any award to the US group or the French team, which has the US’ Bechtel as its engineering contractor.