Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) wants to gain more contracts to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East to facilitate its goal of becoming one of the world’s top nuclear power operators, The Korea Times informed.

Using its current $20b project to build four reactors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a springboard, the state-run utility company will seek securing additional deals in the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other countries in the region, who seek to generate electricity in an environmentally sustainable and cost-effective manner in the post-oil era.

According to the company’s Executive Vice President, Lee Hee-yong, however, it will likely take some time for KEPCO to secure new contracts due to the sluggish global nuclear plant market.

In December 2009, KEPCO signed the $20b contract with the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. (ENEC) to build four nuclear reactors in Barakah, 270 km west of Abu Dhabi, by May 2020. Once completed on a 12.5 sq km site, the plant, which will generate 5,600 MW of electricity, will be the first nuclear power plant in the Middle East.

The UAE plans to build four more nuclear reactors as its power demand continue increasing in line with its robust economic growth. Egypt also looks to build about 10 nuclear reactors to solve its electricity shortage, while Saudi Arabia is considering constructing 16.