Oil-Rich Abu Dhabi Plans Nuke Plants

Emirates expected to sign nuclear co-operation deal with US today
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2009 7:48 AM CST
President Bush delivers a speech at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008. Bush is expected to sign a nuclear-cooperation agreement with the UAE before leaving office.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Abu Dhabi is planning a shift away from fossil fuels despite being one of the world's major oil producers, BusinessWeek reports. The UAE territory, faced with surging demand for electricity and dwindling natural gas reserves, aims to build nuclear plants to supply a quarter of its power. A cooperation deal with the US could be signed as soon as today, despite some American lawmakers' objections.

Abu Dhabi has grand plans to keep itself a global energy center even after its oil runs out. The sheikdom could have the Arab world's first nuclear program up and running by 2017 with the help of other nations. The UAE has pledged to adhere to a strict set of safeguards to offset concerns that its nuclear power program could further Iran's nuclear ambitions.