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S.Korea signs $2.25 billion cope with Russia nuclear company

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) South Korea has signed a 3 trillion won ($2.25 billion) contract with a Russian state-run nuclear energy company to supply components and construct turbine buildings for Egypts first nuclear power plant, officials said Thursday.

The South Koreans hailed the offer as a triumph because of their nuclear power industry, though it designed for awkward optics as their American allies push an economic pressure campaign to isolate Russia over its war on Ukraine.

South Korean officials said america was consulted beforehand concerning the deal and that the technologies being given by Seoul for the project wouldn’t normally clash with international sanctions against Russia.

In accordance with South Koreas presidential office and trade ministry, the state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power was subcontracted by Russias Atomstroyexport to supply certain materials and equipment and construct turbine buildings along with other structures at the plant being built-in Dabaa. The Mediterranean coastal town is approximately 130 kilometers (80 miles) northwest of Cairo.

Atomstroyexport, also known as ASE, is really a subsidiary of Rosatom, a state-owned Russian nuclear conglomerate. The business includes a contract with Egypt to provide four 1,200 megawatt reactors through 2030. Korea Hydro and Nuclear Powers section of project is from 2023 to 2029.

A senior aide of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said the negotiations were slowed by unexpected variables, mainly Russias war on Ukraine and the U.S.-led sanctions campaign against Moscow over its aggression.

Choi Sang-mok, Yoons senior secretary for economic affairs, said South Korea provided a conclusion to america beforehand about its plans to take part in the Dabaa project and that the allies will maintain close consultation because the work proceeds. Within U.S.-led sanctions against Moscow, South Korea is finished transactions with Russias central bank and sovereign wealth funds and banned exports of strategic materials to Russia.

Neither Choi nor officials from South Koreas trade ministry elaborated on what the crisis in Ukraine and the sanctions on Moscow affected the negotiations between Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power and ASE.

Choi stressed that South Koreas involvement in the project wouldn’t normally clash with international sanctions against Russia.

Any type of issue could be met by various uncertainties, but those have all been resolved as of this moment, and thats why we could actually finalize the agreement, he said.

Yoons office expressed hope that South Koreas participation in the Dabaa project would help the united states gain a foothold in future nuclear projects across Africa and in addition improve its chances to export to countries like the Czech Republic, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power have been participating in negotiations with ASE because the preferred bidder for the turbine-related project since December, before Russias invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Go Myong-hyun, a senior analyst at Seouls Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said the offer wouldnt have already been possible lacking any export approval by america because the components supplied by Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power likely include U.S.-originated technology.

Current sanctions against Moscow also usually do not include specific restrictions linked to nuclear energy and the Biden administration could have no fascination with disrupting an essential project for Egypt, which it sees as an integral partner in your community, Go said.

While South Koreas involvement in the Dabaa project wouldnt immediately be considered a problem between your allies if the Americans signed off onto it, things could change based on how Russias war on Ukraine goes and whether Washington expands its export controls against Moscow, Go said.

Yoons office said the Dabaa project is South Koreas biggest export of nuclear power technology since 2009, whenever a South Korean-led consortium won a $20 billion contract to create nuclear power reactors in the United Arab Emirates.

Yoon, a conservative who took office in-may, has pledged to improve South Korean exports of nuclear power technology, which he says were dented beneath the policies of his liberal predecessor, Moon Jae-in, who sought to lessen the countrys domestic reliance on nuclear energy.

Yoon in a statement on Facebook said the offer reaffirms South Koreas advanced technology and safeness and strong supply chains in the nuclear power industry. His government has set an objective of exporting 10 nuclear power reactors by 2030.

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