Cement makers see huge opportunity in UAE nuclear plants

Cement makers see huge opportunity in UAE nuclear plants
Published: 29 December 2009

Cement and ready-mix companies in the UAE are gearing up for a massive opportunity for supplying cement and concrete for nuclear power plants in the UAE. The UAE is expected to award contracts estimated to be worth $40 billion (Dh147bn) to build several nuclear reactors. According to a senior industry official, the contract for nuclear power plants would be a blessing for cement companies already struggling with falling demand and reduced profits.

"We are talking of a massive potential here ahead of us. Constructing a nuclear power plant requires a lot of special grade ready-mix and companies are already gearing up towards it," said a senior official of a UAE-based ready-mix company, who did not want to be identified.

The UAE recently set up the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) to spearhead the country’s nuclear energy programme. Enec Chief Executive Mohamed Al Hammadi expressed confidence that the nuclear power plants could begin producing electricity in 2017. Negotiations are currently under way with teams of contractors bidding to design, build and help operate the proposed plants. Actual construction is expected to start in 2012.

"We are at the end of the cycle. The contractors will first approach the ready-mix companies who thereafter will contact us," said Mustafa Gorgunel, General Manager at Union Cement. According to him the cement industry is badly in need of such an opportunity. "The production levels and demand for cement has reduced during the past two quarters. The situation will continue to remain the same until 2011. I was even told that we should expect signs of growth only from 2012."