The United Arab Emirates is likely to announce the results of one of the world's biggest nuclear power contracts later Sunday, South Korean media reported.

South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak is currently visiting the UAE in a push to win one of the largest-ever energy deals of the Middle East estimated to be worth $40 billion to build several nuclear reactors.

A South Korean consortium is very likely to win the nuclear power deal issued by the UAE, Korean news agency Yonhap said on Sunday, quoting sources in the UAE. Another local media agency YTN said the announcement would be made later Sunday at the earliest.

The Korean consortium includes Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) <015760.KS>, Hyundai Engineering and Construction <000720.KS>, Samsung C&T Corp <000830.KS>, and Doosan Heavy Industries <034020.KS>.

Other bidders for the massive project include a consortium of General Electric Co and Westinghouse Electric, a subsidiary of Toshiba Corp <6502.T>, and a French consortium led by EDF and GDF Suez and including Areva and oil group Total .

If selected as the final business partner, South Korea will be taking its first steps from being a nuclear power importer toward being one of the world's top 3 nuclear power developers, which will be the historic milestone, said Kim Eun-hye, a Korean presidential office spokeswoman.

The French consortium was initially seen as a front-runner for the deal but it recently appeared to be losing ground to the Korean group.

The UAE is the world's third-largest oil exporter, but is planning to build a number of nuclear reactors to meet an expected need for an additional 40,000 megawatts of power.

(Reporting by Cho Mee-young; Editing by Valerie Lee)