Uranium Investors Focus on Middle East


"UAE has selected Braka. . .as the site for the country's first nuclear power plant."

An area which has over the decades been the beacon of global oil and gas reserves appears to have its eyes on the rearview mirror, as interest in power from uranium gains traction in the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates has selected Braka, a very sparsely populated area 53 kilometers from Ruwais, itself a very modern oil and gas industrial complex, as the site for the country's first nuclear power plant.

The Braka site is very close to the border with Saudi Arabia and closer to the capital city of Qatar, Doha, than to Abu Dhabi, about 240 kilometers to the east. With the coastal municipality of Dubai another 150 kilometers along the coast, Braka is well situated away from population centers. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced that Braka was selected from ten shortlisted sites, all of which were suitable for nuclear build, on the basis of its qualities including: environmental considerations, seismic history, distance from population centers, water supplies and proximity to the electrical power grid.

Limited construction license applications and environmental assessments for four reactors have been submitted. The reactors will each produce a capacity of 1,400 megawatts and an $18.6 billion contract has been awarded to Korea Electric Power Corp. (NYSE:KEP) to build the four nuclear plants by 2020. Additionally, a strategic environmental assessment for the project has been submitted to the Environment Agency—Abu Dhabi (EAD) addressing environmental impacts and mitigation including for construction work.

As part of the South Korean group that will engineer the power plant, it is incumbent for Doosan Heavy Industries to develop the major components for all four reactors. The limited license that ENEC has applied for will enable Doosan to make steam generators, coolant pumps, pressurizers and the reactor pressure vessel. Manufacturing for some of these long-lead items is anticipated later this year by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation. Braka 1 is slated to operate in 2017, with its three sister plants following at one-year intervals.

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