Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Will the UAE Make a U-Turn on Nuclear Power?


Germany has decided this week to close its nuclear power plants by 2022 and is committed to boosting its reliance on sustainable energy sources (wind, solar, hydro etc.) from the current level of 17% to more than 50% in the coming decades.

Switzerland, which currently gets 40% of its energy from nuclear power generation, has also agreed this week to phase the reactors out so it will be nuclear-free by 2034.

Many questions are being asked in Japan since the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March. Prime Minister Kan has talked of slowing the nuclear push while many are questioning the nation’s unwavering dependency on nuclear energy.

No U-Turn

While several countries are making a U-turn on their nuclear energy policies the United Arab Emirates continues to embark on its $20 billion plan to produce nuclear power by 2017 and it is currently in talks with its GCC neighbours about a shared Dh21.3 billion repository in which to store their nuclear waste.

Wrong Bus?

It’s fascinating to see the UAE catching the nuclear bus just at the time when some major industrialized nations are abandoning this mode and staking their future on the sustainable energy bus.

When more countries have abandoned their reactors, will the UAE leaders rue the decision at this time to go nuclear and declare that they have caught the wrong bus?

To what extent will the UAE’s commitment to nuclear power impede its innovation and development of sustainable energy sources?

Will the Masdar experiment become an interesting model for the world to witness or will its lessons be embraced throughout the Emirates?

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus—Facebook Page.

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