By Soren Billing
Cabinet agrees partnership with US to develop nuclear energy to meet power needs.
The UAE Cabinet has approved an agreement between the UAE and the US to develop a civilian nuclear energy programme in the country, official news agency WAM wrote on Monday.
The pact, which President Barack Obama approved in May and sent to Congress for a 90-day review period, is potentially worth billions of dollars to General Electric Co and Westinghouse Electric, a subsidiary of Toshiba Corp.
The UAE was the third-largest oil exporter in 2007. But it is planning to build a number of nuclear reactors to meet an expected need for an additional 40,000 megawatts and is expected to award the primary contract soon.
The Obama administration calls the pact a model for the region that contains several unprecedented commitments that ensures the UAE will not use American technology to develop a nuclear weapon or to help others in the region do that.
The UAE has pledged not to enrich uranium or reprocess used nuclear fuel and to import all fuel for its nuclear reactors.
Earlier this month, UAE officials said they hoped to have their first nuclear reactor in commercial operation by 2017.
UAE is indeed progressing faster towards energy production and management than most other oil producers. With Nuclear power stations along the coast in the Fujairah area and solar power plants elsewhere the electric power needs of the country are being addressed in a very timely and capable manner. The decision will have far reaching effects in improving the living standards of all it's people and stability in the region. UAE government led by H.H President Sheikh Khalifa is marching forward very courageously to modernise the infrastructures and build on the very successful state nurtured by the Late President Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan. We all owe a debt of gratitude to them. Who knows UAE may well be exporting electric power via undersea cables instead of just oil & gas to Pakistan, Afganistan & India.