x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Nuclear chief Blix allays any fear of disasters

The UAE coast is 608 kilometres away from the closest reactor in Iran, says the head of the UAE nuclear advisory board.

DOHA, QATAR // There is very little chance the UAE would ever be affected by a nuclear disaster in a neighbouring country, nuclear experts say.

The closest reactor is the Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran, but the UAE coast is 608 kilometres away.

"After the Fukushima disaster an area of 20km around the plant was cleared," said Hans Blix, the head of the UAE nuclear advisory board. "An area of 30km was cleared after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986."

But the Bahraini representative Abdullah Abdul Latif Abdullah yesterday told a panel at the Nuclear Non-proliferation in the Gulf Conference there were serious concerns for Bahrain and Kuwait.

"The proximity of Manama and Kuwait City to the [Iranian] reactor poses the greatest danger to us," said Mr Abdullah. "We want the GCC to be part of the EU 3+3 negotiations."

The EU 3+3, compromising France, Germany, Russia, the UK, the US and China, is a body focused on joint diplomatic efforts over Iran's nuclear programme.

Regardless of whether the GCC joins the EU 3+3, Mr Blix said, the council still had a big role to play.

"The GCC has been vocal in its aspirations for a weapons of mass destruction free zone," he said.