• Kyodo

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The U.N. Development Program said Friday that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been awarded an $8 million contract for repairs on a thermal power plant in southern Iraq.

The contract involves restoring power-generating facilities at the plant in Hartha, Basra Province, and power transmission lines in the region, the agency said.

The power plant, built with low-interest yen loans from Japan, was Iraq’s biggest oil-burning thermal power plant when it began operations with four steam turbines in 1979.

It had a generating capacity of about 9 million kilowatts before the 1991 Persian Gulf War, but its capacity fell to about 3 million kilowatts last summer following the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s government, according to the U.N. agency.

The generating capacity last summer was about half the region’s power needs, it said.

Roger Guarda, a representative of the UNDP office in Iraq, said it is important to restore infrastructure so people in Iraq can get jobs.

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