The Export-Import Bank of the United States approved $2 billion in financing for a nuclear plant project in the United Arab Emirates. The project’s largest U.S. exporter, Westinghouse Electric Co., operates a fuel rod plant in Columbia.
Published Sept. 12, 2012
A $2 billion loan by the Export-Import Bank of the United States to a company building a nuclear plant in the United Arab Emirates will help support jobs at Westinghouse Electric Co.’s operations in Columbia.
South Carolina is one of 17 states where some 5,000 workers will benefit from the loan to Barakah One Co., according to the Ex-Im Bank. The deal will underwrite the export of U.S. equipment and service expertise, the bank said.
Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse, a unit of Toshiba Corp., is the largest exporter involved in the transaction. The company operates a fuel rod assembly facility in Columbia, which employs about 1,500 people.
The Barakah One project will “allow us to maintain about 600 U.S. jobs,” said Ric Perez, president and CEO of Westinghouse. “In addition, the bank’s support will sustain hundreds of well-paying jobs at Westinghouse’s U.S. sub-suppliers and indirect jobs in the service industry.”
Westinghouse will provide reactor coolant pumps, reactor components, controls, engineering services and training, according to the Ex-Im Bank.
The loan ranks as the Ex-Im Bank’s largest transaction in the UAE and represents the bank’s first greenfield nuclear-plant project since the late 1990s.
“The 5,000 American jobs figure speaks volumes about the importance of the transaction to the U.S. economy,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. “But in addition to bolstering American jobs, Ex-Im Bank will make history by backing the construction of the first nuclear plant on the Arabian Peninsula.”
Barakah One plans to build four reactor units on a coastal strip along the Arabian Gulf, about 140 miles from Abu Dhabi, the country’s capital. Construction began in July, and the first unit is expected to be operational in 2017.