DUBAI, (Reuters) – Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (Enec) has invited global firms to bid for a contract to manage the Gulf oil producer’s nuclear power programme, Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) reported.
The UAE, the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, has said it planned to look into developing nuclear energy to satisfy rising electricity demand as its economy booms on record oil export revenues, straining its power grid.
Enec would except bids for a nuclear power project from global firms until Sept. 7 and is likely to award the contract by the end of the year, London-based weekly MEED, which is published late on Friday, reported. It did not give a source.
Prospective bidders include U.S. construction companies such as Bechtel Corp and Australia’s WorleyParsons Ltd, MEED said.
The UAE has promised to draw up laws to govern the sector and establish a nuclear regulatory authority and an international advisory board of nuclear experts.
This year, the UAE signed deals with the United States and Britain about cooperating in peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The United States is at loggerheads with Iran, just across the Gulf from the UAE, over its nuclear programme and fears that it is trying to build a nuclear bomb. Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful power generation.
U.S.-based Thorium Power, which provides advisory services for emerging nuclear programmes, said on Thursday it was advising the UAE on setting up an independent nuclear regulatory agency, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation.
The UAE needs 22,000 megawatts of additional electricity capacity over the next seven years to meet demand, MEED said.