UAE denies it is ready to award $ 40bn nuclear power contract


The denial was issued after industry sources said that the UAE was on the verge of naming a winner for the contract to build at least four reactors, which consultancy Eurasia Group estimates may cost as much as $ 40bn.

A government official familiar with the negotiations said “the UAE is not days away from awarding this contract. The process is still ongoing.”

The consortium from France, which includes nuclear group Areva, GdF Suez, and Total, is in pole position to win the contract, sources familiar with the negotiations said earlier.

“We think we are still well positioned to win it, we have the nuclear expertise,” a source from the French group said.

“The winner will take it all, the bid was for two reactors originally but then they (UAE) wanted four and maybe six, whoever wins gets the whole package.”

The other bidders include a consortium comprising General Electric and Japan’s Hitachi, and another of Korea Electric Power Corporation, Hyundai Engineering and Construction and Samsung C&T Corporation.

“Emirati leaders have historically valued France’s nuclear experience,” the Eurasia Group said. “And a major deal with the French government would fit within the UAE’s diversification plans in terms of both energy and security.”

President Nicolas Sarkozy was in the UAE in May to open a military base, and some analysts saw the visit as enhancing the French consortium’s prospects of winning the contract.

“Sarkozy’s visit was clearly to promote the French bid and this is a natural process that France always goes through when it comes to commercial deals,” said Christian Koch, director of international relations at the Gulf Research Centre.

“France is already a major partner to UAE in the defence area and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are leading in the bid now.”

Record oil revenues have driven an economic boom that has strained domestic power grids in the UAE, and to keep the export cash coming in, Abu Dhabi is looking to nuclear energy to help cap fuel burned for power at home, analysts said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *