The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has concluded a three-year nuclear cooperation agreement with Japan, just days after an equivalent deal with the USA.
The Middle-Eastern nation is seen as a leader among the emerging nuclear energy countries. It published a nuclear energy policy in July last year and is working towards establishing nuclear power plants to help meet a power demand for up to 40,000 MWe by 2020.
Today's deal covers cooperation over the next three years only, with extension subject to another set of signatures.
The deal with Japan comes immediately after another cooperation deal with the USA, which was signed off on 16 January. An announcement from Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Meti) said cooperation between Japan and the UAE would include:
- Assistance to facilitate the introduction of nuclear power
- Ministerial-level cooperation
- Training for nuclear skills, infrastructure and human resource development
- Nuclear safety, radiation protection, emergency response, radioactive waste management
- Physical protection of nuclear sites
- Education on nuclear power for the general public
Meti said that the agreement covered nuclear non-proliferation, but did not elaborate. The UAE's deal with America included terms that would prohibit the UAE from enriching uranium or reprocessing used nuclear fuel.
The UAE has set up a managing entity for its prospective nuclear power program, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec), which has subsequently selected CH2M Hill as managing agent for a ten-year period. These steps came after advice from the International Atomic Energy Agency and consultants from Thorium Power. Rolls-Royce is helping Enec to asses Abu Dhabi's industrial capabilities in terms of new nuclear construction. National Nuclear cooperation deals are now in place with Japan and the USA, while Britain and France have signed memorandums of understanding on nuclear cooperation.