PARIS (Reuters) – French energy group EDF <EDF.PA> and Nawah Energy have signed a deal to operate and maintain the delayed Barakah power plant, which will be the first nuclear energy plant in the Arab world.
The $24.4 billion (19 billion pounds) Barakah power plant in the United Arab Emirates is the world’s largest nuclear project under construction but has been marred by delays related to training issues.
This week a senior official said that the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation was not yet ready to give Nawah, the company that will run the plant, a licence to operate.
The plant was originally expected to begin operations in 2017.
EDF said it would provide engineering studies, on-site support, and training and benchmarking sessions.
“With this agreement, EDF will be strengthening its position in the UAE’s low-carbon energy sector, thereby reasserting the goal of its ‘CAP 2030’ strategy which is to triple its business volumes outside of Europe by 2030,” said EDF senior executive vice president Dominique Miniere.
EDF and Nawah added that their deal, a 10-year commitment, would help Barakah prepare for operations of the first of its four 1,400 MW units.
Earlier this year, a source told Reuters that the Barakah plant was due to open in 2019.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Bate Felix and Jason Neely)