UPDATE : 2018.3.22 THU 15:17
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S. Korea's energy minister visits UAE for nuclear project

Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Paik Un-gyu inspected South Korean firms' construction of a nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the ministry said Sunday.

Korea Electric Power Corp. and other companies are constructing four reactors at the Barakah nuclear power plant under a US$20 billion deal signed in 2009.

"The Barakah plant will be the world's first nuclear power plant in a desert," Paik was quoted as saying during the visit on Saturday. The construction also serves as huge opportunity for South Korea to export nuclear plants to other countries, including Saudi Arabia, he added.

Paik Un-gyu, South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy, and other government officials visit the construction site of the Barakah nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Feb. 24, 2018, in this photo provided by Paik's office. (Yonhap)

One reactor is set to start operating in the first half of this year, while the other reactors are due to go online by 2020. The combined output of 5,600 megawatt at the power plant will supply up to 25 percent of UAE's electricity needs, according to the World Nuclear Association.

The visit comes at a time when South Korea is eyeing a bid for Saudi Arabia's first nuclear project, seeking a second chance to tap into the Middle East market.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, has received offers from five nations, including South Korea, to build two nuclear reactors as part of its broader plan to expand its proportion of non-fossil-fuel-based energy. The kingdom is expected to shortlist two or three preferred bidders by April and plans to select a winner by the end of this year, according to local reports. (Yonhap)

Kim Jung-mi  edt@koreapost.com

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