Qatar May Opt for Nuclear Energy


"Qatar wants to diversify resources, export natural gas reserves."

Qatar may decide as early as next year on whether to develop nuclear power capabilities.

Qatar, an independent emirate that sits on the world's third largest natural gas reserves behind Russia and Iran, is seeking to diversify its power generation portfolio to reduce its dependency on gas in the production of electricity and to free up the resource for other purposes such as petrochemical production and for export in liquid form.

Mr. Essa Hilal Al Kuwari acting MD of Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation said that "we are trying to see whether nuclear power will be good for the state of Qatar or whether it will be a collective project in the Gulf Cooperation Council."

Energy demand has risen rapidly in Qatar and neighboring states in the Persian Gulf, driven by rapidly growing populations, billions of dollars worth of infrastructure investments and economic diversification plans that involved developing new industries such as steel and petrochemicals.

In a 2007 study, the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA, concluded that it would be economically viable for GCC states to invest in nuclear energy. The six member bloc made up of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain is still mulling a joint atomic energy initiative.

If Qatar builds up its power generation capacity using nuclear it would be able to trade surplus electricity on the GCC grid, which will allow all six member states to sell electricity to each other.

Corporate planning manager Mr. Yousef Janahi Kahramaa said that without the GCC grid there is no chance for nuclear in Qatar. The GCC grid can help in accommodating nuclear units from a network stability point of view.

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