Korea Electric Power Corp. CEO Kim Dong-cheol, sixth from left, poses with field workers at Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, Thursday (local time). Courtesy of Korea Electric Power Corp.
Company chief inspects Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant
Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) CEO Kim Dong-cheol visited the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in Abu Dhabi on Thursday (local time) to check the fourth and final reactors that begin commercial operations, according to the state-run utility firm, Sunday. The visit is part of the CEO’s global trip to promote Korea’s nuclear power plant technology and expand KEPCO’s global presence.
KEPCO, the main contractor of the power plant project in the United Arab Emirates, saw the final stage of the reactor’s construction completed last May and began preparations for fueling before commencing commercial operations. A day after Kim’s visit to the plant, the reactor received the green light from Abu Dhabi to start operations next year.
The power plant’s first reactor, Barakah 1, started running in April 2021. Barakah 2 and 3 commenced operations in March 2022 and February this year, respectively. Launching commercial operations of each of the reactors in less than a year is a rare achievement in the nuclear power plant industry, according to the company.
Kim’s Barakah plant visit is just the first leg on his tour of nuclear power plant project sites around the world in which KEPCO has invested. At the Barakah site, the CEO met field workers and encouraged them to “have pride in being part of the world’s biggest nuclear power plant construction project with its four reactors built simultaneously.”
Later the same day, Kim visited another construction site: The high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system installed under the UAE’s waters. KEPCO won the project’s bid in December 2021 and Samsung C&T started construction in September 2022. The project, once complete, will send power generated from the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant to the country’s offshore oil drilling facility.
At the site, Kim reminded field workers of the project’s importance as its successful completion will enable the company to make a bid for the follow-up project of installing a grid that connects to the HVDC transmission system.
On Friday (local time), Kim met Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, founding chairman of the Abu Dhabi government’s Executive Affairs Authority, and Mohamed Al Hammadi, who heads the country’s Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), and discussed ways to continue bilateral partnerships in the nuclear energy industry.
“We will keep in touch with ENEC to ensure the successful commercial operation of Barakah 4,” said Kim, referring to the UAE energy firm that was in charge of the Barakah project. “The successful operation of Barakah will enable us to venture into other nuclear plant projects in the Middle East and Europe.”
The second leg of Kim’s global tour will include the UK, where his company sees the potential for another nuclear power plant project. KEPCO signed a memorandum of understanding with the UK last April for cooperation in its new Moorside nuclear power plant project.
Kim’s interest in nuclear energy sectors overseas came as KEPCO’s debt last June soared to past 200 trillion won ($147.6 billion), the highest level recorded by a listed firm in Korea. Observers said the company winning bids for future energy projects overseas will help lower its debt.
Source: The Korea Times