Gulf state aims to match UAE but financial, parliamentary obstacles remain, says minister
Bahrain is planning to operate nuclear power stations in the country by 2017, one of the Gulf state’s ministers has said.
“It will be some time before we can adopt nuclear sources here in Bahrain as experts have to be brought in, designs prepared and facilities built, but our plan is to have it by 2017," said Electricity and Water Affairs Minister Fahmi Al Jowder, according to Gulf Daily News.
"The UAE is the closest to have this energy as a source and from what I have seen they are ready to adopt it within the next few years."
In December last year, Abu Dhabi signed a $20bn deal with a South Korean consortium to build four nuclear plants in the western UAE.
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation hopes to begin building at the Braka site by the end of 2012, and the first of the plants is expected to be operational by 2017.
Bahrain’s plans to match the UAE’s nuclear ambitions are likely to be hampered by a comparative lack of funds. The island state has limited recourse to oil and gas wealth.
In addition, any decisions made by the government could be delayed by a fractious parliament.
Elsewhere in the region, Jordan signed a deal to build a test nuclear reactor in 2009 and Kuwait is also believed to be interested in nuclear energy.
Saudi Arabia is currently holding talks with international firms about the construction of a nuclear and renewable energy city. It is also thought to have received bids from UK and US engineering companies for a pre-feasibility study of a nuclear power programme.