South Korea signs $2.25 billion deal with Russian nuclear

Seoul, August 25 (PTI/AP): South Korea has signed a 3 trillion won ($2.25 billion) deal with a Russian nuclear power company to supply components for Egypt’s first nuclear power plant.

The South Korean government said on Thursday that the contract between state-owned Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power and ASE obligates the South Koreans to provide turbine-related equipment and construction work for the power plant being built in Dabaa. , about 130 km (80 miles) northwest of Cairo. on the Mediterranean coast.

ASE is a subsidiary of Rosatom, a Russian state-owned nuclear conglomerate.

A senior official of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol says talks have been slowed by unexpected variables, primarily Russia’s war on Ukraine and the US-led sanctions campaign against Moscow for its aggression .

Choi Sang-mok, Yoon’s principal secretary for economic affairs, said South Korea had provided an explanation to the United States in advance about its plans to participate in the Dabaa project and that the allies would maintain close consultations in as the work progresses.

South Korea participated in an economic pressure campaign against Russia orchestrated by the Biden administration, ending transactions with Russia’s central bank and sovereign wealth funds and banning exports of strategic materials to Russia.

Choi did not elaborate on how the crisis in Ukraine and the sanctions against Moscow have caused difficulties for negotiations between Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power and ASE, which has a contract with Egypt to build four 1,200 megawatt reactors. .

He stressed that there was no possibility that the technologies provided by South Korea to the project would conflict with international sanctions against Russia.

Any type of issue may face various uncertainties, but these have all been resolved so far, and that is why we were able to finalize the deal, Choi said.

He expressed hope that South Korea’s participation in the Dabaa project would help the country gain a foothold in future nuclear projects across Africa and also improve its chances of exporting to countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power had been in negotiations with ASE as the preferred bidder for the turbine-related project since December, before Russia invaded Ukraine in February this year.

Yoon’s office said participation in the Dabaa project is the country’s biggest export of nuclear technology since 2009, when a South Korean-led consortium won a $20 billion contract to build nuclear reactors in the Emirates. United Arabs.

Yoon, a conservative who took office in May, has pledged to boost South Korean nuclear technology exports, which he says have been undermined by the policies of his liberal predecessor, Moon Jae-in, who sought reduce the country’s domestic dependence on nuclear energy. energy.

Yoon, in a statement on Facebook, said the deal reaffirms South Korea’s advanced technology and security and strong supply chains in the nuclear power industry. His government has set a goal of exporting 10 nuclear reactors by 2030. (AP)