South Korean President Lee Myung-bak arrived in the UAE on 26 December to provide political support for his country’s consortium bidding for the contract to build nuclear power in the federation.

The South Korean consortium is comprised of Korea Electric Power Corporation and Hyundai Engineering & Construction, with Samsung Corporation as its contractor. The other two consortium bidding are a French team of Areva, GdF Suez and Total with the US’ Bechtel Corporation and France’s Vinci as its contractors; and a consortium of the US’ GE and Japan’s Hitachi (MEED 4:12:09).

The UAE is close to awarding the contract to build nuclear reactors in the emirate. On 23 December the UAE government established the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) as a standalone entity to implement the federation’s nuclear energy programme.

The decree issued by UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan means that Enec will no longer be guided by Abu Dhabi’s executive affairs committee, and will have its own board of directors (MEED 24:12:09).

In its statement the government said that “Enec is now in the final stages of negotiating with teams of contractors who are bidding to design, build and help operate the plants. Actual construction, starting with the first pouring of safety-related concrete, will commence in 2012. A decision on which team will be selected as prime contractor is expected to be made shortly.”