The United Arab Emirates’ first nuclear reactor should start commercial operations this year, an official from South Korea, whose power company is building it, said on Tuesday.
The Korean official, who declined to be named due to briefing rules, was speaking after sources told Reuters last week the start-up had been pushed back to 2019 due to training delays.
The first of four reactors being built by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) in the UAE is part of the $24.4bn Barakah power plant project and was originally scheduled to open last year.
“We aim to start the commercial operation by the end of 2018 … but the exact final completion date will be announced by ENEC (Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation),” the official, speaking through a translator, told Reuters in Dubai.
KEPCO is doing its best to get the reactor operational this year but there are still “some procedures to complete”, the official said without elaborating.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who ends a four-day visit to the UAE on Tuesday, attended a ceremony on Monday to celebrate the completion of the first reactor.
South Korea aims to complete all four reactors by 2020 with the final decision resting with the UAE, the official said.
KEPCO and Barakah One, itself a joint venture between ENEC and KEPCO, signed an agreement on Monday to cooperate and jointly enter third countries, the official said.
The World Nuclear Association estimates that nuclear power is planned in over 20 countries which do not currently have it, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Bangladesh.