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Tue 11 Nov 2008 06:16 AM

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Energy minister says nuclear option vital for future

Official reaffirms UAE's plan to develop nuclear power as demand surges by 9% a year.

The UAE has reaffirmed its plan to develop nuclear energy to help meet power demand surging at 9 percent a year.

A nuclear energy programme will be set up as electricity demand is expected to jump to 40,000 megawatts by 2020, powered by the UAE's economic boom, Energy Minister Mohammed al-Hamli told a conference on nuclear energy in Qatar's capital Doha.

The UAE, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, has signed deals with the United Sates and Britain this year for cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Hamli reiterated UAE's plans to establish a body to run the programme and an independent nuclear regulator.

In October, the UAE awarded US-based engineering company CH2M Hill a 10-year contract to manage its civilian nuclear power programme.

The United States is at loggerheads with Iran, just across the Gulf from the UAE, over its nuclear programme and fears that Tehran is trying to build a nuclear bomb. Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful power generation. (Reuters)

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