UAE to Become First Arab Country with Nuclear Power

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Iran is on its way to having nuclear energy, but the United Arab Emirates may get there first. Yesterday, the UAE embassy in Washington announced that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to sign a nuclear cooperation pact with the country.  The UAE agreed to numerous conditions for Rice’s approval, including inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency and a ban on building uranium enrichment plants.

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The country expects to have a working reactor by 2017. In the meantime, British, French, and American companies are competing for the contract.

Eventually, the UAE wants 25% of its power to come from nuclear sources. That means building at least six nuclear plants, each valued at approximately $5 billion.

Many members of Congress in the United States are protesting the reactor, claiming that a nuclear stockpile in the UAE will add volatility to the region. But if the UAE will allow inspectors to examine its reactor, there is little reason to complain— especially since the country needs to prepare for electricity demands that will nearly double by 2020.

Photo Credit: CC licensed by Flickr user jdj150

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