Dubai, April 21: The oil-rich UAE, which holds one tenth of world's crude reserves, has announced it will foray in the nuclear energy sector to meet the rising power demands in future. Local energy requirements are expected to grow by more than 160 per cent by 2020 and nuclear energy offers the best viable alternative to meet the demand, the federal government announced in a white paper yesterday.
The announcement comes at a time when energy deficit countries and net oil importers like India are finding it difficult politically to push the nuclear power option. A Nuclear Energy Programme Implementation Organisation was created to further develop the programme, as recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said in a briefing to key officials in Abu Dhabi.
Foreign Minister Abdullah also announced the appointment of Hamad Al Ka'abi as the Special Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for International Nuclear Cooperation.
A study conducted by the federal government revealed that demand for electricity will increase to more than double the current demand of 15,546 MW of energy. Known volumes of natural gas, it stated, would be insufficient to meet the future demand.
Based on the future plans for the nation, the growth in the local economy and infrastructure, the government predicted that 40,858 MW of energy will be required to meet the demand by 2020, reflecting a cumulative annual growth in demand of approximately nine per cent.
The white paper, Policy of the United Arab Emirates on the Evaluation and Potential Development of Peaceful Nuclear Energy, justified nuclear energy as the most economic and environment-friendly option for the UAE, the Gulf News said.
Although it sets forward an agenda for a further planning phase, no timeframe has been made on when the process would begin or which company would be handed the responsibility of building the reactors.
The paper also stresses the UAE's commitment to a transparent, peaceful and secure programme.