Chen Kane and Miles Pomper James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

May 21, 2013 Korean Economic Institute


South Korea hopes to become a major exporter of nuclear plants It has a proven success in building its domestic nuclear industry If South Korea draws the right lessons from its UAE experience it could record similar success in the future


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23 operating reactors 5 nuclear units are currently under construction  4 more units are planned to be completed between 2018 and 2021


UAE: $20.4 billion contract to build 4 nuclear power plants  Jordan: Constructing Jordan’s first research reactor ($130 million )  Providing training programs to nuclear newcomer states (Egypt, Kenya, Mongolia, Indonesia etc.)

Source: Walter KIM, KINS, Nov. 2012


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Consortium led by KEPCO selected by UAE to build four APR-1400s in Barakah in 2009 Other companies in the consortium: KHNP, KOPEC E&C, KNF, KPS, Doosan, Westinghouse, Hyundai and Samsung The consortium will design and build the four units, supply the initial fuel loads, and provide the UAE with technical support, training, and education The first plant is scheduled to become operational in 2017 and the three subsequent reactors completed by 2020

Source: Kepco, Investor Presentation, Feb. 2012


KAERI and Daewoo signed $130 million agreement with Jordan for its first research reactor
3.5 years worth of fuel provided by ROK.  ROK to provide $70 million soft loan for additional fuel and study  ROK plans to train Jordanian nuclear engineers and technicians at JUST

Source: Khalifeh AbuSaleem, January 29, 2013

Expected to be online and operational by 2015.

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Political factors Technical factors Business model Financial factors Cultural factors


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Prior cooperation in strategic sectors (oil production, finance, health care, trade, infrastructure) ROK diplomatic credibility, government (and President) direct involvement Diplomatic “carrots” ROK’s close ties with the US and Westinghouse’s participation in Korean consortium

ROK leader in reactor reliability
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Comparison of average outage time and the operational cycle periods (1990-2008)

KEPCO renowned for having highest “capacity factor” Lowest “unplanned shutdown”

ROK’s ability to initiate and complete projects quickly
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Reduces construction and financing costs Shortens time until electricity would be available

Source: Nagatomi, Matsu and Murakami,” IEEJ, July 2010,


Experienced – the consortium has worked together for years on the domestic Korean nuclear power program Adaptable – ROK was willing to adapt certain legal aspects of their bids to UAE preferences Construction and operation risks where all borne by KEPCO

Puts responsibility on one organization, reduces the litigation risks in case of delays or performance problems and increases the incentives for the contractor to meet the project delivery objectives

Commitment to extensive training, human resources development and education

The South Korea bid was significantly lower than the other bids Financing package offered by ROK:
Fixed price  23-year deal  Low interest rates of 1.75-2.6, with full government guarantees on project risks  Includes investments, direct loans, and external debt guarantees, preferred loans for domestic suppliers

60 year contract for equipment replacement and potential equity interest

Similar historical backgrounds: experienced a colonial period, newly developed countries, and concern for the preservation of traditional “ethics and manners.” The UAE leadership appreciated KEPCO “war room” in Seoul; executives from the consortium coordinated the proposal and sales push for more than seven months


UAE choose ROK because:

Distinct competitive advantage in terms of low cost, high credibility, and high performance
Active political support from government and president Attractive financing US technology provided at a low cost and with close cooperation (tied UAE to US-key security benefactor)

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MKE set a goal in 2010 to capture 20% of the world market in the next 2 decades (80 reactors/ four units per year/$400 billion). Scaled back following Fukushima, global financial crisis, shortages of qualified personnel.

More realistic expectation: ten nuclear plants by 2030

ROK has signed nuclear cooperation agreements with 27 states Hopes to secure additional contracts (India, Vietnam, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, China and the United States)

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Finance US reliance Safety Personnel


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Reactor price, financing, ROK profit margin ROK not expected to be as generous with future customers
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UAE financial offering -“the golden case that will not happen again” Potential customers will seek to receive same deal

Suppliers like Russia, China driving prices down (e.g. Russia and potentially France/ Japan in Turkey)

BOO model would be riskier

ROK’s links to the United States both politically and commercially ROK vulnerable to disruption in relations with US Bilateral civil nuclear agreement extension – buys time but some issues remain:
Politically: U.S. government still likely to have a strong say over ROK nuclear power plant exports  Technically: There are technologies that South Korea has not mastered/ technologies that are patented by U.S. companies.


 APR-1400 is based on a Westinghouse design means

U.S. approval is required for re-export under sections 123 and 131 of the Atomic Energy Act  Westinghouse would likely need to seek Part 810 Authorization before it and its employees can conduct nuclear-related business abroad  Re-export of major U.S.-origin nuclear reactor components may requires the ratification of a nuclear cooperation agreement between the U.S. and the importing country


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In nuclear agreement talks, ROK wants US advanced consent for reprocessing (pyroprocessing); US doesn’t want to grant permission How much effect on exports? Pyroprocessing:--supply service to manage other countries spent fuel?

Political opposition is likely to be even higher to accepting foreign spent fuel for reprocessing

Enrichment (reap both direct profits from selling enrichment services and perceived additional profits from offering a “full-service”)
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Difficult to compete with established enrichment suppliers Existing suppliers have not expressed a willingness to transfer technologies to the ROK Front end/Enrichment market is a much smaller and complex market than nuclear reactor market


Shortage of Korean personnel given number of domestic and UAE plants  Will be heavily influenced by ROK future domestic plans  Need for partnership with other countries (US, Japan)

ROK underwent safety reviews by domestic authorities and IAEA after Fukushima - $1 billion pledge/ 5 years for nuclear safety  Scrutiny after safety scandals (cracks in tunnels guiding control fuel rods and forgery by 8 companies)

 More than 15 unplanned shutdown in ROK in 2012  Heads of KEPCO and KHNP resigned  WANO insisted on carrying out inspection this Fall


ME particularly attractive market for ROK

Experience and prominence in running and operating mega projects in the region ROK experience to adapt APR-1400 to specific security and geographic characteristics, training, quality assurance, and grid upgrade support UAE deal led to more contracts, long-term profit:
 Follow-on contracts being discussed
 Hints that ROK would be supplier of future reactors


Long-term nuclear cooperation agreement with US

Pyroprocessing and enrichment less important than finding a “win-win” solution with US to boost ROK exports

Strengthening competitive advantages
Nuclear energy for desalination, training  Invest in construction of additional centrifuge capacity at existing enrichment plants or equity  Consider SMR and KAERI’s “SMART” reactors for export to small countries

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Concentrate on countries that can afford nuclear energy, especially ME in exchange for greater fossil energy security Quick and decisive action regarding safety Cutting profit margins can be compensated in future deals and other realms – bigger picture 21

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