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The United Arab Emirates will soon tender for the  construction of a new nuclear power plant that would double the number of their nuclear reactors. The UAE became the first Arab state to operate a nuclear power plant when it opened the South Korean-built Barakah facility in Abu Dhabi in 2021. According to Emirates Nuclear Energy Co (ENEC), the reasons behind this deal are "focused on exploring opportunities in the UAE and overseas to maximize the full value of the expertise developed in nuclear mega project program delivery and technology deployment." The UAE has reiterated that its nuclear program is solely peaceful, meant to decrease reliance on oil and fuel large portions of the country's electricity. With the current reactor already fueling a quarter of the country’s electricity, another reactor could impact further oil use, causing a decrease in the UAE’s oil supplies. If Russia or China were selected as bidders for the UAE plant, this could potentially create tensions with the U.S., which has sought to isolate Moscow over the Ukraine invasion and has become increasingly concerned over the Gulf states' deepening ties with Beijing.

UAE Planning Second Nuclear Power Plant

The United Arab Emirates will soon tender for the  construction of a new nuclear power plant that would double the number of their nuclear reactors. The UAE became the first Arab state to operate a nuclear power plant when it opened the South Korean-built Barakah facility in Abu Dhabi in 2021. According to Emirates Nuclear Energy Co (ENEC), the reasons behind this deal are “focused on exploring opportunities in the UAE and overseas to maximize the full value of the expertise developed in nuclear mega project program delivery and technology deployment.” The UAE has reiterated that its nuclear program is solely peaceful, meant to decrease reliance on oil and fuel large portions of the country’s electricity. With the current reactor already fueling a quarter of the country’s electricity, another reactor could impact further oil use, causing a decrease in the UAE’s oil supplies. If Russia or China were selected as bidders for the UAE plant, this could potentially create tensions with the U.S., which has sought to isolate Moscow over the Ukraine invasion and has become increasingly concerned over the Gulf states’ deepening ties with Beijing.

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