Nuclear Energy will Fuel Growth in United Arab Emirates

March 25, 2008

The UAE's decision to resort to the use of nuclear energy for peaceful use stems from its understanding of how it could play a constructive role in the development process of the country, according to to UAE press on Tuesday.

The newspaper said that displaying characteristic speed in translating vision into reality, the UAE Cabinet has already okayed a memorandum for the Emirates? potential development of civilian nuclear energy. By allocating AED 375 million to oversee the programme?s implementation according to IAEA guidelines, the UAE takes the first step in the wider GCC initiative of leveraging nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

''By opting for the nuclear option, the country has set the pace for building the future. But more importantly, in doing so, the UAE has also defined the framework within which it will be pursuing the project,'' wrote the Gulf News in Dubai.

In its daily comment, the paper said the UAE Cabinet has approved the establishment of an agency, which is to be assigned to develop and assess a peaceful nuclear energy programme, to be named as the Nuclear Energy Authority.

Allocated with an initial capital of Dh375 million, the agency would look into the best means of using nuclear energy for future domestic electricity supply and demand.

"The complete details of the proposed nuclear programme will soon be published in line with the UAE's keenness to deal with the international community transparently," said Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The UAE's decision, the Gulf News affirmed, is undoubtedly promising as the assistance of countries holding the expertise would be sought. But it is also important to highlight that the UAE has expressed its willingness to abide by all the international rules that regulate the field - openly and in full transparency.

''Hence, all aspects of the programme would be carried under the direct supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which would be involved in ensuring that its standards and assessment of the programme are enforced.

The reasoning behind having such a programme, the paper explained, fits with the overall plans of the government and as such, facilitates for it the means to maintain the unprecedented economic growth in the country. The UAE's initiative and the means with which it is implemented should set the precedent for others to follow.

According to Khaleej Times, the step is yet another example of the UAE emerging as one of the world?s most forward-looking countries.

''Having first built on its natural endowments and appropriately drawn on its comparative advantage, the government went for successful economic diversification, all the time raising the profile of the grouping.

''With the economy growing and record number of nationalities finding it fruitful to partake in the UAE?s economic and social miracle in the heart of the desert, the government?s nuclear energy card reflects profound future planning in a conventional energy environment that presents reason for considerable concern just beyond the near future.

'' While the most environment friendly methods remain in the realm of the future, nuclear energy emerges as the safest and most viable bet, which is why it was only natural for the UAE to tap into its resource base sooner rather than later.

Of course, the nuclear option presents considerable demands in terms of waste management, as rightly debated by those concerned.

''Therefore, the most meticulous follow up of IAEA prescribed procedures will be necessary to ensure safety. Going by the UAE?s track record, all parties concerned are expressing understandable trust in the Emirates? ability to meet the demands involved.

Significantly, the paper indicated the UAE?s turning to nuclear energy will also set a much-needed example of sticking to rules and reaping benefits, a straight forward equation that is having trouble being employed elsewhere, becoming cause for unnecessary tension that is spilling over into other sectors, causing unwarranted political and financial worry in already trying times.

''It is for a good reason that the UAE has emerged from a desert transit to the most sought after business and tourist hub of the world in a matter of mere decades. The leaders? commitment and vision have been rightly met with trust from all parties that seek to engage with this desert paradise.

''Like numerous other initiatives, the nuclear energy is also no doubt going to be followed by more impressive decision-making, taking the UAE farther on the road of enviable social, financial and political development,''the paper concluded.

WAM is a major arm of the UAE's Ministry of Information & Culture in terms of implementing the Ministry's media policy.