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Kuwait's Minister of Electricity and Water Bader Al-Shuraiaan affirmed Kuwait's interest in acquiring and harnessing nuclear energy and predicted the start of using this power resource in seven years. The minister noted Kuwait’s mounting need to increase production of electricity and water.

 

The minister noted that Kuwait initialed an accord with France for cooperation in this domain, alluding to the tentative agreement reached last January. It called for harnessing enriched uranium at internationally acceptable levels, habilitating cadres and using the energy in medicine, agriculture, geology and industrial medicine. Al-Shuraiaan also said that the ministry would launch a power station powered with solar energy, noting that several foreign companies have tendered for investment in the venture.

 

The minister indicated that Kuwait might start using nuclear energy happen in seven years. As to safety, he affirmed that states that use nuclear energy have made headways in securing nuclear sites.

 

The Emir has recently formed a special committee chaired by Dr Ahmad Beshara and grouping academics and experts to undertake the task of acquiring and using the nuclear energy in Kuwait and in 2009, the Kuwait cabinet has approved a draft project to set up a national nuclear energy commission.

 

March 9, 2010

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Decreasing Risk

 

Kuwait is the second GCC state to actively pursue the use of nuclear energy to satisfy its local energy requirements. Kuwait, like other GCC states, has been suffering from chronic power shortages, particularly in the summer months, when air-conditioning demands puts a huge strain on the amount of power available. Kuwait is also the highest per capita consumer of electricity. Further strain is placed as water is provided through desalination plants that require substantial power.

 

The past several years have witnessed power outages in the summer months, when temperatures are over 50 degrees. The power outages often result in increased risks for civil unrest. Importing power from neighbouring states has helped alleviate the shortages but that has not been sufficient. The GCC grid will also allow for the regulation of power trading between the GCC states. However, Kuwait has so far been the only GCC state with no clear plans to increase its power availability. Kuwait’s five-year development plan announced last month will add further strain on power requirements.

 

The announcement by the Kuwaiti minister in Paris indicates that the government is serious in taking the nuclear power option forward. The seven year window announced might not be achievable, but is nonetheless an indication that the government has recognized the urgency of the situation. Increased power availability is essential to Kuwait’s natural development as well as to satisfy the country’s diversification efforts.