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
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
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
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
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
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.