The exclusive global club of nuclear power producers is welcoming its latest member: the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an absolute monarchy that is one of the world’s leading oil producers and one of the world’s leading per capita electricity consumers. Nuclear power confers several benefits to Abu Dhabi beyond always-on carbon-free electricity. These range from freeing domestic oil and gas for export, leveraging waste heat for desalination, and creating high-value employment. Going nuclear also enhances the UAE’s strategic profile at a time when climate concerns are calling into question the long-term stature of major petrostates like those in the Persian Gulf. UAE’s growing energy needs. A big injection of electricity into the national grid is the most immediate and palpable benefit. The wealthy UAE is one of the largest per capita electricity consumers in the world. Prodigious power consumption there is a function of some of the world’s worst heat and humidity—air conditioning is the top source of demand—combined with generous government subsidies for electricity.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 2nd March 2020 read more »