Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp, the developer of nuclear power plants in the UAE, said most respondents in a national poll support the country’s development of nuclear power plants.
Of 750 residents interviewed in the country, 85 percent “believe that peaceful nuclear energy is important for the nation,” Emirates Nuclear said in a statement distributed in Abu Dhabi.
Nuclear power projects in some European countries have been halted amid public fears over reactor safety following the March meltdown of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi reactor in Japan.
Chancellor Angela Merkel endorsed a blueprint last month to shut Germany’s nuclear-power plants by 2022, making the nation the biggest to exit atomic power.
Italy has also put its nuclear plans on hold following the accident in Japan arising from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Switzerland deferred plans for new reactors and the UK said it may delay its programme.
The UAE awarded Korea Electric Power Corp an $18.6 billion contract in December 2009 to build four nuclear plants by the end of this decade.
The Gulf nation is turning to atomic power to help satisfy growing energy demand as its expanding industries deplete available supplies of natural gas.
The federation will be the first Arab country in the Gulf to develop nuclear power if it starts operating a first reactor in May 2017 as planned.
Iran has already built a nuclear plant in Bushehr, and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations are studying the possible use of nuclear technology to meet greater domestic energy needs.
Peak power demand in the UAE will double to about 45,000 megawatts by 2020 from 22,000 megawatts now, David Scott, the executive director for energy and economy at the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority, said in April. Abu Dhabi is the country’s capital and largest emirate.
The UAE appointed Hans Blix, the former chief weapons inspector for the United Nations, as head of an advisory board to support the national nuclear programme.
The country plans to search for uranium in its western region, Al-Ittihad reported in December, citing Emirates Nuclear CEO Mohamed al-Hammadi.For all the latest energy and oil news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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