UAE's nuclear power project achieves $24.4 bln financing close

ABU DHABI, Oct 20 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates’ nuclear energy project has completed a $24.4 billion financing for its first plant with most of the cash coming from state sources, the developers said on Thursday.

In 2009, Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco)-led consortium won a contract to build four 1,400 megawatt nuclear reactors that are being constructed at the Barakah plant to meet the UAE’s surging demand for electricity.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) and Kepco jointly own the Barakah nuclear energy plant project.

The financing comprises direct loans of $19.6 billion with $16.2 billion from the Abu Dhabi government and another $2.5 billion from the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim), a joint statement from the developers said.

It also includes equity commitments from Enec and Kepco totaling $4.7 billion as well as a $250 million loan provided by National Bank of Abu Dhabi, First Gulf Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered.

“With the creation of this financial framework, ENEC will be able to provide safe, reliable electricity to the UAE grid through a commercially viable and cost-competitive program,” Khaldoon Khalifa al Mubarak, chairman of Enec said.

The Barakah plant is scheduled for completion in 2020, with construction having started in 2012. With four reactors online, the facility will deliver up to a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs and save up to 12 million tonnes in carbon emissions every year.

Overall, construction of Units 1 to 4 is now over 71 percent complete. (Reporting By Stanley Carvalho, editing by William Hardy)