SEUL – South Korea has signed a 3 trillion won ($2.25 billion) contract with a Russian state-owned nuclear power company …
to supply components and build turbines for Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, officials said Thursday.
The South Koreans hailed the deal as a triumph for the domestic nuclear industry, even if it created an embarrassing image as their U.S. allies push an economic pressure campaign to isolate Russia for its war against Ukraine. Instead, Seoul does good business.
South Korean officials said the United States was consulted in advance of the deal and that the technologies provided by Seoul for the project do not conflict with international sanctions against Russia.
According to South Korea’s Presidential Office and Ministry of Commerce, state-owned Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power has been subcontracted by Russia’s Atomstroyexport to supply some materials and equipment and to build turbine buildings and other facilities at the plant under construction in Dabaa.
The Mediterranean coastal city is located about 130 kilometers (80 miles) northwest of Cairo. We note that turbines were a specialty of Germany’s Siemens, but, in this case, the contract went to the South Koreans. Who knows why.
Atomstroyexport, also called ASE, is a subsidiary of Rosatom, a Russian state-owned nuclear conglomerate.
The company has a contract with Egypt to supply four 1,200-megawatt reactors through 2030. Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power’s portion of the project runs from 2023 to 2029.
A senior aide to South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said the negotiations have been slowed by “unexpected variables,” mainly Russia’s war with Ukraine and the U.S.-led sanctions campaign against Moscow for its aggression.
Choi Sang-mok, Yoon’s senior secretary for economic affairs, said South Korea had provided the U.S. in advance with an explanation of its plans to participate in the Dabaa project and that the allies would maintain close consultations as the work progressed. Evidently, the U.S. did not consider the provision inappropriate. As part of U.S. sanctions against Moscow, South Korea has halted transactions with the Russian central bank and sovereign wealth funds and banned the export of strategic materials to Russia.
We note that South Korean technology, a country of 50 million, is supplanting German and European technology in many markets, and not only on turbines, but also in the military. Because big is NOT always beautiful.