US bank finances UAE project

10 September 2012

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is to lend the Barakah One Company $2 billion to underwrite the export of US components and services for the construction of the the United Arab Emirates' (UAE's) first nuclear power plant.

The Barakah nuclear power plant will comprise four Korean-designed APR-1400 pressurised water reactors, but the bank says the $2 billion credit line will support some 5000 jobs in the USA. US company Westinghouse is a member of the Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco)-led consortium which was selected to build the plant, and will provide a range of components and services including reactor coolant pumps, controls, engineering services and training.

The Ex-Im Bank is a federal agency which helps to support US manufacturing jobs by filling gaps in private export financing. Before approving the loan, the bank conducted a "detailed and extensive" risk assessment of the Barakah project.

The loan is the bank's largest ever transaction in the UAE as well as its first financing of a 'greenfield' nuclear plant in over a decade. It has the support of the US National Security Council and the US departments of state and energy. Noting the importance of the transaction to the US economy, Ex-Im Bank chairman and president Fred Hochberg said the bank would also "make history" by backing the construction of the first nuclear power plant in the region.

Construction officially began at Barakah in July, and the first unit is scheduled to enter service in 2017.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News