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Kuwait announced that it will build four nuclear reactors over the next 12 years.

 

Ahmad Bishara, secretary general of Kuwait’s National Nuclear Energy Committee (KNNEC), said that Kuwait is planning to build four 1,000 megawatt reactors by 2022. Speaking to press in Tokyo, Bishara said construction will begin as early as January.

 

The move would make Kuwait, the world’s fourth largest oil exporter, the third GCC state to announce intentions to launch a nuclear programme after the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

 

Bishara, secretary general of Kuwait’s nuclear committee, said the country would be able to afford nuclear development so long as the price of oil remains relatively stable.

 

“Our initial analysis indicates that nuclear is viable as long as oil is above $45 to $50 a barrel,” he said in Tokyo, adding that it was not yet clear how nuclear energy “fits in the energy mix of Kuwait for the next 20 years.”

 

The Kuwaiti government has been taking a number of steps over the past few months to boost there alternative energy capacity. In April, Kuwait signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with France. This week, Bishara signed an additional cooperation agreement with Japan to enlarge Kuwait’s long-term nuclear capacity.

 

September 12, 2010

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Decreasing Risk

 

Kuwait’s clear expression of intention that it will build nuclear plants will help address chronic and severe power shortages in the country. Summer months witness prolonged power outages as demand on air-conditioning surges, leading to loss in business and increasingly, civil unrest in a country where temperatures regularly cross 50 degrees in the summer. More significantly, the country’s diversification efforts and economic development can only be met with a significant increase in power.

 

The GCC power grid which Kuwait is part of that will allow exchange of energy between GCC states is important but given the high increase of demand from other GCC states as well, other sources are needed. Nuclear energy appears to be the option Kuwait and other GCC states have taken and with what appears to be a plan to introduce nuclear energy to Kuwait, the chronic power crisis appear to be heading to a solution. However, between now and then, Kuwait needs to rely on importing energy from other GCC states to meet its 7 percent annual increase in demand.