By Joanna Hartley
The UAE government is establishing a legal and regulatory framework for its nuclear industry.
The UAE is gearing up to establish the Arab world’s first independent civil nuclear power programme as part of region wide interest in developing the industry, according to an engineering, safety and risk management consultancy.
In an interview with Saudi daily Saudi Gazette Pat Lawless, CEO of ESR Technology, a company with operational bases in the UK and the Middle East, revealed that several GCC countries had shown interest in nuclear power, including Qatar and Kuwait .
The UAE was already on its way to establishing a legal and regulatory framework for the industry and “firm decisions” on the future strategy were expected “any time now”, he added.
“The oil and gas industry is vital to the economies of the Arabian Gulf but we are now beginning to see a new high technology industry quickly growing in the region as the UAE presses on with its nuclear power plans,” Lawless said.
The potential UAE investment in a nuclear program has been estimated at $60bn.
Official predictions say in demand for energy in the UAE will grow by nine percent by 2020 to more than 40,000 megawatts.
Meanwhile, a government study concluded that the Emirate’s volumes of natural gas were insufficient to meet demand and burning oil liquids or coal-fired power generation was environmentally unsound.
The report concluded that nuclear power generation was as an “environmentally promising and commercially competitive option which could make a significant contribution to the UAE’s economy and future energy security”.
ESR Technology is heavily involved in the Middle East carrying out high-level asset integrity consultancy for the oil and gas industries in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman but is also consulted by the nuclear industry worldwide.
“By virtue of our origins in the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and the work we carry out for the nuclear industry internationally, ESR Technology hopes to be part of that growth because of our unique experience of the technical, management, licensing and regulatory issues that will affect the nascent UAE nuclear industry,” Lawless added.
The UAE has signed memorandums of understanding on nuclear energy with France, the US, the UK and Japan.
Reactors from France and the US are being assessed and teams from international companies have begun establishing the nascent UAE nuclear industry.
Another expensive mistake!! Why not go for solar power??