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Sat 17 Jan 2009 09:37 AM

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UAE and US sign accord for nuclear cooperation

The agreement will help the Emirates meet a 'massive rise' in demand for electricity in the future. 

The UAE’s foreign minister and the US secretary of state signed a bilateral agreement for the cooperative development of civilian nuclear energy to help the Emirate meet its future electricity needs, it was reported Friday.

Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Condeleezza Rice signed the "123 agreement", which sets out a legal framework based on international standards of nuclear non-proliferation, safety and security.

"This agreement will benefit both of our countries, and is another example of the strong relationship between the US and the UAE," Shaikh Al Nahyan said.

"Under the terms of this agreement, the UAE will gain access to significant capabilities and experience in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. This will allow the UAE to develop its civilian nuclear programme to the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation," he added.

The agreement would also give US firms the oportunity to become active participants in the UAE's nuclear energy programme, Al Nahyan was reported as saying by the WAM news agency.  The UAE released a detailed policy document on the evaluation and potential development of peaceful nuclear energy in April of last year, which was developed following a study that projected a massive increase in demand for electricity in the coming decades.

The study determined that nuclear energy is a viable and compelling option for meeting the UAE's future electricity demand.

The policy commitments include a pledge to forego any domestic fuel enrichment or reprocessing capability, in favour of long-term external fuel supply arrangements.

The 123 agreement follows the April 2008 signing of a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in peaceful use of nuclear energy between the two countries.

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