UAE, Russia Sign Nuclear Energy Deal

From The Saudi Gazette

The government of the United Arab Emirates said Monday it has signed an agreement with Russia on the development and use of civilian nuclear power, as the wealthy Gulf oil producer looks at ways to feed its growing energy consumption without eating away at its exports.

The agreement with Russia to share technology, equipment and nuclear material comes after the Gulf state’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation gave the go-ahead earlier this year for construction of two nuclear reactors, the first in a string of civilian power plants planned in the Gulf.

Several Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, are looking at nuclear power to meet rising electricity demand, especially during the summer when demand for air conditioning soars.

The UAE, one of the world’s top five power consumers per capita, hopes that nuclear energy will eventually help it meet 25 percent of its consumption even as its economy expands. Currently, around 80 percent of the country’s power is generated from burning natural gas, while the rest comes from oil, which the Gulf state wants to preserve for lucrative crude exports.

The Russian agreement is a necessary precursor to commercial contracts that would involve the transfer of nuclear technology or material between the two countries, the statement said. It follows similar accords with Australia and Canada, who are producers of uranium, and the US, the UK, South Korea and France, who already have large nuclear power industries, the UAE government said in a statement.

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