Middle East nuclear programmes could prove risky
Jalil Roshandel
Source: Middle East Times
30 mars 2007

     In this article in the Middle East Times, Jalil Roshandel examines the reasons behind the fresh wave of nuclear development in the Middle East.
     He says the region's nuclear programmes are partly fuelled by concerns about future energy supplies. Saudi Arabia has already asked Russia to help it acquire nuclear energy.
     Other countries, such as Egypt and Iran, say they want a nuclear-free Middle East, but neither will halt their nuclear development programmes.
     This, in addition to other countries' active nuclear programmes, results in a 'domino effect'? where states feel the need to remain competitive by keeping up with nuclear technology.
     Iran has reportedly offered to help Turkey produce nuclear energy, and other countries — including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — have discussed plans for a joint civil nuclear programme.
     Intentions across the region are, for the moment, peaceful. But the decision to go nuclear could prove disastrous if countries start to consider military options, says Roshandel.

Link to full article in Middle East Times

Entre nous, l'énergie nucléaire ne présente des risques pas seulement pour le Moyen-Orient!

Les Etats du Golfe comptent élaborer un programme conjoint de technologie nucléaire

Wagdy Sawahel
12 décembre 2006
US Department of Energy

     The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council — including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — have agreed to develop nuclear energy technology jointly for peaceful purposes.
     The plan was announced at the 27th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia last week (9–10 December).
     "The possession of peaceful nuclear technology is a legal right," said Saud Al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, adding that "such technology is crucial to the GCC countries [to] cope with the current progress witnessed in this field".
     The summit approved joint educational and scientific research programmes at science and technology institutions in the region, according to Abdul Rahman Al-Attiyah, the GCC secretary-general.
     The countries have ordered a study to draw up a joint nuclear technology programme. They agreed to organise joint conferences and workshops, as well as increase the exchange of knowledge and technical expertise.
     They also approved higher educational programmes, which will be carried out in regional universities under the supervision of the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States.
     Hassan Moawad, former president of Alexandria's Mubarak City for Scientific Research and Technological Applications in Egypt, said promoting nuclear energy will help towards reducing the region's emissions of carbon dioxide, which cause global warming.
     "Although the Riyadh declaration did not elaborate on the nuclear energy cooperation programme, it is expected that it will focus on joint projects to develop capacity building in the region and use nuclear technology for agricultural, water resources, health, and industrial purposes," he told SciDev.Net.
     According to a report published last month by the Middle East Economic Digest, Saudi Arabia is developing domestic nuclear power programmes to diversify energy sources, primarily to power water desalination. Similar plans are being developed for the United Arab Emirates.  
     Meanwhile the Gulf states have already started to plan, develop and use renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-energy to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.
     In 2004 for instance, the United Arab Emirates opened the Arabian Peninsula's first wind power plant (see 'Gulf states 'need R&D in all aspects of climate change'').
     The next GCC summit will be held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, in December 2007.