Dubai, Mar 24: The oil rich United Arab Emirates (UAE) has decided to set up an agency to assess and develop a peaceful and ''fully transparent'' nuclear energy programme with an initial capital of 100 million dollar.
Even as India is dillydallying on its nuke deal with the US, the energy surplus UAE is to import enriched uranium for the plant from a ''trusted foreign source,'' which could likely be Washington. UAE had signed an agreement with France to develop a peaceful nuclear programme but that does not include the process to enrich uranium. The decision to go nuclear for energy was approved by the UAE cabinet on yesterday at a meeting in Abu Dhabi chaired by UAE Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the official WAM news agency reported.
At the meeting, Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, outlined the UAE project and presented a memo on the possibility of developing a peaceful nuclear energy programme and said the project will be totally transparent to international community.
Studies conducted by official agencies on local supply and demand for electricity found that power generation through the use of nuclear energy represents a competitive option commercially and environmentally, he added.
The planned Nuclear Energy Authority, WAM reported, will have the ''mandate to evaluate and develop a peaceful nuclear energy programme in line with the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).'' The GCC countries at large are looking seriously at nuclear energy in order to conserve oil. The switch to nuclear energy could open up huge export potential for India for non-sensitive components and expertise used in the projects.
Stressing the transparency of the programme, the cabinet endorsed an official statement outlining the country's intention to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
''By adopting clear and transparent policies regarding its intention to develop a peaceful nuclear energy programme and its complete commitment to the UN nuclear non-proliferation treaty and other related conventions, the UAE wants to set a new model to enable countries that do not possess nuclear programmes to utilise and benefit from the nuclear energy with full support from the international community,'' the statement said.