UAE Seeks Japanese Aid to Develop Nuclear Power Plants

TOKYO — The United Arab Emirates will hold talks with the Japanese government and reactor makers such as Hitachi Inc. and Toshiba Corp. this month as it seeks Japan’s help to develop nuclear power plants.

By (Bloomberg)

Published: Sun 7 Dec 2008, 12:27 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:20 AM

Japan, the world’s third-biggest atomic generator, may help the UAE by offering services to develop legal frameworks and educate workers on atomic power, said government officials who declined to be named as negotiations haven’t been completed.

A delegation headed by Mohammed Al Hammadi, president of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp., arrived late yesterday for a week-long visit to hold talks with government officials on areas of cooperation.

The UAE, holder of almost 8 per cent of the world’s crude reserves, wants to develop nuclear energy as an alternative source of electricity.

“Japan is behind others such as France in terms of making approaches but has built up a high level of technology for reactors that the UAE wants,” Yuzuru Aizawa, an analyst at the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan’s biggest energy research body, said by phone.

Japan is poised to become the fourth country to sign atomic-power pacts with the emirates after France, the US and the UK inked agreements this year.

Japan, the biggest buyer of oil from the UAE, imported about 58.5 million kilolitres (368 million barrels) from the Middle Eastern country last year.

Nuclear Project

Emirates Nuclear Energy hasn’t made any decision on a prime contractor, it said on its Web site. The agency chose in October CH2H Hill Cos Ltd., a US consulting firm, to help implement a civil nuclear power programme under a 10-year contract.

Abu Dhabi, the biggest of the seven emirates, this year started to import natural gas from its neighbor Qatar because its own deposits are too high in sulfur, making it too costly to process for power plants.

Electricity demand in the UAE is expected to triple to 41,000 megawatts by 2020, Foreign Affairs Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said in April.

Total SA, Suez SA and Areva SA have shown interest in building reactors in the UAE with “local partners,” they said in a joint statement in January. Contracts may be worth as much as €4 billion ($5.1 billion), a French government spokesman said January 11.

“The UAE is expecting to get access to Japanese technology,” Aizawa said.

Meeting in Tokyo

The UAE delegation including members of Emirates Nuclear Energy will meet with officials from the Japanese government and companies including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and visit a nuclear power plant and factories of Hitachi and Toshiba.

The UAE is a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and would have to negotiate with the IAEA once it makes a decision on nuclear power use.

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