x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Stable nuclear programmes in Gulf dominate conference

An annual energy conference will focus on how to develop nuclear power programmes in the Gulf without destabilising the region.

ABU DHABI // An upcoming annual energy conference will focus on how to develop nuclear power programmes in the Gulf without destabilising the region. The Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) will meet from Nov 24 to 26, with delegates discussing the peaceful use of nuclear energy within a context of climate change, energy security and the threat of nuclear proliferation, said Dr Jamal al Suwaidi, the director general of ECSSR.

Several Gulf nations have already begun the peaceful development of atomic energy, said Dr Suwaidi. He described nuclear energy as a viable option to meet the huge projected energy needs in the region. Conference delegates will also discuss nuclear capabilities in Iran, Israel, India and Pakistan. The UAE, a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency since 1976, has endorsed a UN draft resolution calling for a nuclear-weapons free zone in the region.

This week Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, warned that failure to keep out weapons of mass destruction threatened peace not only in the Gulf region but also worldwide. The Government is considering the potential of nuclear energy as an answer to projected power shortages, and has repeatedly stressed its commitment to transparency and ensuring non-proliferation of technology that could be used for the development of nuclear weapons.

The ECSSR was established in 1994 by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, as an independent centre focusing on scientific research and studies on social, economic and political issues of interest to the UAE, the Gulf region, and the Arab world. jhenzell@thenational.ae