Nations Collaborate to Develop Nuclear Reactors

Nuclear Power in Latvia and the UAE


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By Swagato Chakravorty
Friday, September 21st, 2012

Even as Japan attempts to move away from nuclear power following the sting of Fukushima, countries elsewhere aim to collaborate on developing nuclear facilities.

The UAE and Canada have just struck a deal whereby Canada will sell nuclear power to the Gulf state. Indeed, over the next ten years, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) hopes to build four 1,400 MW reactors in order to conserve more of its oil and gas for export purposes.

The deal signals the end of a long-standing bitterness instigated by Canada’s refusal to allow extra landing rights for Emirates and Etihad airlines, Gulf Business reports. After that incident, UAE had retaliated by expelling Canada from Camp Mirage (the staging base for Afghan military operations). Later on, Canada’s defense minister was refused clearance for flight over UAE airspace.

Under the new deal, the UAE will buy uranium and a host of other nuclear materials from Canada. ENEC’s plans for the reactors have also received regulatory approval recently as well as rights to grant procurement contracts to international companies for nuclear fuel supplies over a period of 15 years.

Elsewhere, the Prime Ministers of Estonia and Latvia jointly asserted their commitment to developing a Lithuanian nuclear power project.

Estonia, which is heavily dependent on Russia for its energy supply, is direly in need of developing domestic power. The aim is to construct a 1,300 MW reactor in Visaginas, some 93 miles northeast of Vilnius.

Initially, the Lithuanian government was to sign a deal with the Japanese Hitachi Ltd. (TYO: 6501), but then the country’s legislature decided to hold a referendum on the matter, thus postponing everything.

Lithuania would hold 38 percent of the facility, with Estonia owning 22 percent and the remaining 40 percent split equally between Latvia and Hitachi Ltd. The project is billed at around $6.5 billion.

The referendum coincides with a general election; both are set for October 14.


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