UAE, Australia ink nuclear cooperation agreement

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uae nuclear reactor
Model nuclear reactor the UAE is constructing under a civilian nuclear energy programme. Photo – Yochi Dreazen/Pulitzercenter.org

The UAE and Australia have signed a pact to work together on the peaceful use of nuclear energy and lay the groundwork for potential shipments of uranium to the Gulf nation, the country’s official news agency said on Wednesday.

The agreement – signed by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who is currently on a visit to the UAE – provides a framework for cooperation and will ease the “commercial exchange of nuclear materials and equipment,” the UAE’s state news agency WAM reported.

Australia is a major producer of uranium. The agreement stopped short of setting specific terms for imports.

Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE was not considering projects for enrichment and for nuclear waste treatment for now.

“The agreement emanates from the strong relations between the two countries. Australia is a leading country in uranium with 40% of the world’s reserve and a vast experience in the field,” he added.

Sheikh Abdullah also said the agreement outlines relations in this sector.

“It is up to future work between importers and exports to reach suitable prices and quantities.”

The UAE last month became the first country in more than two and a half decades to begin building its maiden nuclear power plant. It has signed a deal with the United States to not enrich uranium or reprocess spent nuclear fuel for plutonium, which can be used in nuclear bombs.

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