Study: Middle East turning to nuclear energy for electricity

Courtesy of Rice University
A study from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy indicates that the Middle East is turning to nuclear energy to meet increasing electricity needs, the university said this week.

Researchers said in their study, “Nuclear Energy in the MIddle East: Chimera or Solution?” that Saudi Arabia, Iran and portions of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are currently working to develop nuclear sectors. Utilizing nuclear energy would allow these countries to use less coal and oil, which could be exported elsewhere and generate revenue for gasoline and other refined-oil products.

The university said that in Saudi Arabia, there are plans to build 16 reactors in a 20-year period. Researchers also have indicated that the UAE is close to starting its first reactor.

“In the Middle East, nuclear power, while more expensive than most natural gas-based generation, presents governments with a new source of electricity that relieves the pressure to continually expand upon their fossil-generation base,” the report said. “Nuclear energy allows the state to maintain exports and undercut the cost of generating electricity with subsidized oil and gas, while providing political cover for enhancing the internal state security and surveillance apparatus.”

The study results also said countries in the Middle East account for approximately 78 percent of crude oil that is used for electricity generation worldwide.

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Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy

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