Nuclear build JV to target UAE, KSA and Kuwait

60% of Atkins-Assystem target countries will be in the Middle East

The Atkins-Assytem alliance hopes to win a 20% share of the US$80-100billion nuclear build market.
The Atkins-Assytem alliance hopes to win a 20% share of the US$80-100billion nuclear build market.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE will be among the first Middle Eastern countries targeted by Atkins and Assystem when the companies officially launch their nuclear engineering joint venture in February.

The two firms, which have already been working together to advise on nuclear build programmes in Europe, are formally partnering next month to provide consultancy and engineering services to the international nuclear new build sector.

Focusing on areas with nuclear power development in the pipeline, executives from the JV have also confirmed that 60% of the target countries will be Middle Eastern, with Europe and the Far East accounting for just 30% and 10% of projects respectively.

In an interview with Construction Week, a director of the JV Phil Malem, also strategy director at Atkins, said: “Of the countries we are targeting, 60% will be in the Middle East, 30% will be in Europe and 10% in the Far East. We are definitely looking at the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as these all have clear plans for nuclear power development.

“We will also be looking at other GCC countries, some of which haven’t necessarily identified the need for nuclear power yet.”

Asked how many projects the ‘Nuclear Atkins Assystem Alliance’ expected to win within the first year, Malem said: “We hope, that because of the high demand for expertise in the Middle East, we’ll win at least 1-2 contracts in the first year."

According to research, the main reason for considering nuclear power among Middle Eastern countries is to spare oil reserves for future generations whilst meeting the demand of swelling populations and keeping carbon emissions low.

“As yet, the market is still very new to the region,” said Franck Ladehaillerie, a director who also works for Assystem. “It’s massive but it’s still brand new, so the sooner you get experience the better chance it gives you to win other contracts.”

Having made nuclear building the sole focus of the business strategy moving forward, the alliance will be targeting as much as 20% of the overall US$80-100m market.

Malem and Ladehaillerie agreed that the first two years would require a significant amount of investment, and that they hoped to see a profit after approximately 18 months.

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