The UAE is to retain all three bidding groups on its nuclear programme to ensure it receives the best prices possible, sources close to the scheme tell MEED.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation originally planned to shortlist two of the three bidders for the project in late July.

It later postponed shortlisting the companies until the end of August. At the start of September, it informed the bidders it would delay deciding on a shortlist by several more days. Sources tell MEED it has now abandoned the idea completely.

As a result, all three bidders remain in the race for the contract to build the UAE’s first nuclear power plant.

The bidders for the scheme are a French team of Areva, GdF Suez and Total with the US’ Bechtel Corporation and France’s Vinci as its contractors; a consortium of the US’ GE and Japan’s Hitachi; and a South Korean team of Korea Electric Power Corporation and Hyundai Engineering & Construction, with Samsung Corporation as its contractor.

Enec will now send delegations to visit the bidders in France, South Korea and the US. The authority is unlikely to make a final award before the end of September.

Under the original schedule, Enec planned to award the contract on 16 September.

Enec’s new strategy means it can avoid upsetting any of the bidders by disqualifying them. At the same time, it enables it to maintain the current level of competition between the groups.

Enec declined to comment.