Moscow to Send UAE Nuclear Fuel

Focus: GLOBAL

Russia yesterday signed a landmark nuclear cooperation deal with the UAE, the final piece of diplomatic paperwork needed to provide uranium from around the world to fuel Abu Dhabi's atomic energy needs until 2035, writes April Yee of The National.

Over the past five years, Abu Dhabi has signed nuclear treaties with the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Australia, and Canada.

In August, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec), Abu Dhabi's nuclear builder, awarded a $3 billion contract to companies from those countries and Russia for 15 years worth of supply for its four planned reactors.

Sergey Kirienko, director general of the Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom, said Moscow and Abu Dhabi had similar visions in developing atomic power despite sitting on some of the world's biggest oilfields.

"Russia has lots of hydrocarbon reserves-it is a thing that unites our countries," Kirienko said after signing the treaty in Abu Dhabi yesterday with Mohammed Al Hamli, the UAE Minister of Energy. "It is important that countries with fossil fuels reserves develop nuclear-it highlights the competitiveness of nuclear energy."

Russia's Tenex is supplying natural uranium and enrichment services to the UAE civil nuclear program-the first to be launched since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster-alongside Uranium One, a company based in Canada that is 51% owned by a Rosatom subsidiary.

The atomic cooperation could in theory expand to building reactors or uranium exploration, said Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"The scope of this agreement allows for wide implementation," said Al Kaabi, the chief negotiator in the Government's nuclear cooperation deals. "There may be additional contracts."

Russia is notable as a fuel supplier because it is the first nation to agree to take back spent fuel from another country.