UAE to build two nuclear power plants
The United Arab Emirates is to become the first Gulf Arab state to start constructing a nuclear power plant.
UAE’s nuclear regulator said it had granted a licence to Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) for the construction of its first two nuclear reactors, which will be built by a South Korean-led consortium in a project worth billions of pounds. UAE is a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) alliance.
Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident in March last year has prompted several nations to think twice about their atomic ambitions but nuclear remains an attractive option for the oil-producing Gulf states, including top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, where domestic power demand is set to soar in the next decade, draining their reserves.
The UAE’s nuclear regulator said the construction licence was granted after an 18-month evaluation in light of Fukushima.
“We have tried to learn as many lessons as we could from Fukushima, and we asked ENEC to address the issue in a report, which they did,” said William Travers, director general of the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation.
UAE will be the second country in the region with a national nuclear programme after Iran.
Iran’s atomic ambitions have been characterised by the West as being a front for covertly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the accusation.
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