$880-million deal: South Koreans to operate four nuclear reactors in UAE

South Korea and the UAE have signed an operation support services agreement worth an estimated $880 million, in which Korea agreed to send its citizens to run the reactors

South Korean experts will now help the United Arab Emirates run four Korean-made reactors at Barakah, UAE.

In a deal worth an estimated $880 million, South Korea and the UAE signed an operation support services agreement (OSSA) on Monday in which Korea agreed to send its citizens to run the reactors.

A bunch of skilled and experienced nuclear plant personnel will be sent from South Korea to take care of the day-to-day functions of four nuclear reactors in the UAE.

The grand OSSA signing ceremony was held at the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation’s (ENEC) headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

After signing the agreement, CEO of state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Cho Seok said it is rare that a country has foreigners in charge of operating its nuclear reactors.

“This may practically be the first time that Korea clinched a business deal of dispatching such large human resources,” Seok said.

“This will serve as a new chapter in terms of the ties with the Middle East, which have evolved mainly based on the construction businesses since the 1970s”.

South Korea will send around 210 skilled workers under the agreement.

These workers are expected to work until 2030 at Barakah, the Western Region of Abu Dhabi.

The construction of the first reactor will be over by May 2017. All four reactors will be functional by 2020.

The constructions of all these four reactors had been started in 2009.

Addressing representatives of both the countries, ENEC CEO Mohamed al-Hammadi said that the agreement will enhance the energy partnership between the countries.

“Over the next decade and beyond, the agreement will continue to build on and enhance the existing long-term nuclear energy partnership between the UAE and South Korea,” he said.