Qatar against UAE Nuclear plant plans:
Qatar: UAE nuclear plant threat to Gulf stability, environment
In a letter to the IAEA, Doha urges the Vienna-based organisation to create a framework for regional nuclear security.
Qatar has said a nuclear plant under construction in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) poses a serious threat to regional stability and the environment.
In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen by Reuters news agency on Wednesday, Doha also called the Vienna-based organisation to create a framework for nuclear security in the Gulf.
Relations between Qatar and its neighbour are already strained after the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain severed diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Doha in June 2017 over allegations that it supports “terrorism”, a charge Qatar denies.
In its letter, Qatar said that a radioactive plume from an accidental discharge could reach its capital in five to 13 hours and a radiation leak would have a devastating effect on the region’s water supply because of its reliance on desalination plants.
The plant is located in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
“Qatar believes that the lack of any international co-operation with neighbouring states regarding disaster planning, health and safety and the protection of the environment pose a serious treat to the stability of the region and its environment,” the letter from Qatar’s foreign affairs ministry to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said.
Qatar also said that the technology is relatively untested as there is only one other commercial reactor of this type in operation in South Korea.
The UAE said on Wednesday that its nuclear energy programme conforms to IAEA standards and international best practices.
“The United Arab Emirates … adheres to its commitment to the highest standards of nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation,” Hamad al-Kaabi, the UAE’s permanent representative to the IAEA, said in a statement to Reuters.
He added that Barakah, which was originally set to come online in 2017, was now expected to begin operations by 2020.
Qatar said regional concerns about nuclear safety will be amplified when the Saudi Arabian civil nuclear programme comes on stream.
The kingdom is considering building 17.6 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear capacity by 2032, the equivalent of about 17 reactors, making it one of the biggest projects globally.
There was no immediate comment by the IAEA.
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