Kuwait eyes civilian nuclear power project with French help


Al Watan daily quoted the Emir as saying Kuwait is “seriously considering joining the nuclear club but only for peaceful purposes.” “A French company is taking charge of the matter,” the daily quoted the emir as saying. He did not name the company.

Sheikh Sabah also said that generating power through a nuclear programme would “save large quantities of fuel being consumed by power and water desalination plants.”

The Emir stressed Kuwait has no military ambitions with its planned nuclear programme which will be “within international law and standards.” Kuwait is a member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which has decided to develop a joint nuclear technology programme for peaceful use under international rules.

Besides Kuwait, the group includes Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Last month, the UAE signed a deal with the United States to cooperate in civilian nuclear energy.

The Wall Street Journal reported late last year that the UAE has already signed agreements with two US engineering companies, Thorium Power Ltd and CH2M Hill, to help with developing nuclear power plants. The GCC interest in developing atomic energy comes amid a continuing standoff between the West and Iran over its programme of uranium enrichment.

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