Saudi readies nuclear energy agreement with France

Mon Jul 5, 2010 4:06pm GMT

The United Arab Emirates was the first Gulf Arab country to take the nuclear route to meet rising electricity demand.

In December, it awarded a deal worth up to $40 billion, one of the largest ever awarded in the Middle East, to a South Korean consortium to build and operate four nuclear reactors on its soil. [ID:nLDE5BQ021]

The UAE, the world's third-biggest oil exporter, has plans to build its first nuclear reactor by 2017. It will also host the International Renewable Energy Agency's (IRENA) newly-created headquarters.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) -- an alliance of six Arab states including Saudi Arabia -- said in 2007 it was studying a joint nuclear energy programme and had been in touch with the U.N. atomic energy watchdog about cooperating over such a scheme. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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