Pride and pragmatism: The UAE’s nuclear strategy, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 2 JUNE 2014 Lauren Carty When the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed an agreement for nuclear cooperation in 2009, the terms of the deal were quickly heralded as a gold standard for US nuclear negotiations and nonproliferation goals. Not only did the UAE agree to forgo uranium enrichment and nuclear waste reprocessing—an unprecedented concession in a bilateral agreement of this type—but the United States also retained the right to order the UAE to remove special fissionable material “if exceptional circumstances of concern from a nonproliferation standpoint so require.”
For its part, the United States agreed that it would not extend terms more favorable than these to any other non-nuclear-weapon state in the Middle East in a peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement. The Emirates, however, probably did not foresee the United States backing off its high standards in future agreements with countries outside the Middle East, such as the 2014 agreement with Vietnam that is awaiting Congress’ likely approval. In spite of the Emirates’ subtle animosity over the more flexible US-Vietnam agreement, they have taken it in stride, and have actually used it as an opportunity to lead and exert dominance over the Arab world, as well as to boast of their commitments to sustainability and clean energy technologies.
A double standard? Unlike any other US nuclear agreement to share certain nuclear technologies with its allies, the 2009 arrangement included the stipulation that the UAE must import low enriched uranium rather than building its own enrichment facilities. Some analysts were puzzled when, five years later, the United States entered into a nuclear cooperation deal with Vietnam that allowed the country to enrich uranium. If the gold standard had been established with the UAE in 2009, why did the United States not apply it to Vietnam? Outmaneuvering China is one answer to this question, along with the fact that Vietnam hardly has the infrastructure to undertake a viable enrichment program. These considerations gave the United States incentive to create nuclear foreign policy on a case-by-case basis.
Whatever the reasons for the discrepancy, the UAE is fully aware that it received the short end of the stick………
Nuclear power is just part of the UAE’s strategy for meeting future energy demands. Abu Dhabi—one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE—has become the headquarters for the International Renewable Energy Agency, an organization of 163 countries including the United States and the European Union. Another emirate, Dubai, looks to gain recognition for its environmental sustainability efforts, aiming to be in the top 10 carbon-neutral cities in the world by the end of the decade……http://thebulletin.org/pride-and-pragmatism-uae%E2%80%99s-nuclear-strategy7219
The DF-3 has a range of 2,650 km and carries a payload of 2,150 kg. It is equipped with a single nuclear warhead with a 1-3 MT yield.
Watched by a wide array of Saudi defense and military dignitaries, headed by Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz, the parade marked the end of the large-scale “Abdullah’s Sword” military war game.
Conspicuous on the saluting stand was the Pakistani Chief of Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif alongside eminent visitors, including King Hamad of Bahrain and Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi………
By showing off their ageing Chinese missiles, the Saudis intimated that they had acquired the more advanced generation of this weapon, which they are keeping under wraps. DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that in recent visits to Beijing, high-ranking Saudi officials negotiated the purchase of Dong-Feng 21 (DF-21), whose range is shorter, 1,700 km, but more precise and effective in view of its terminal radar guidance system. The West has no information about when the new Chinese missiles were delivered to Saudi Arabia.
5. The presence of the top Pakistani soldier at the parade of military and nuclear hardware was meant as corroboration of Islamabad’s active role as the source of the Saudi nuclear arsenal.
6. The Saudis no longer rely on the American nuclear umbrella. They are developing their own nuclear strike force with the help of China and Pakistan. http://www.debka.com/article/23878/Saudis-parade-nuclear-missiles-for-the-first-time-in-defiance-of-US-Iranian-nuclear-accord
Nuclear Power: Boon Or Bane For The GCC?, Gulf Business,
As the UAE and Saudi race to build nuclear reactors to meet mounting energy needs, the inevitable question arises – is nuclear a viable option?, Gulf business By Aarti Nagra 18 April 14
Fuelled by rising energy demand and depleting oil and gas resources, nuclear energy has gained strong momentum in the GCC, particularly in countries like the UAE. The country has lofty ambitions to generate up to 25 per cent of its electricity needs – or 5.6GW – through nuclear means by 2020.
Abu Dhabi began construction of its first nuclear reactor, Barakah 1, in July 2012, and it is in the process of building three more plants.
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, the body responsible for the project, announced in February that the first two plants are on schedule and are up to 35 per cent complete……..However, nuclear energy may not necessarily be the best option for the GCC region, states Mohammed Atif, area manager, Energy Advisory, Middle East at DNV GL – Energy.
“A reasonable diversification of fuels is always beneficial for a region in order to reduce risks and price volatility,” he says.
“The right composition of a generation portfolio is always a difficult question and has to take political, economic, technical and environmental aspects into consideration.
“We would suggest entering into a roadmap to achieve security of supply at a good price level even without nuclear energy.”……….An Oxford report on nuclear power production in the GCC published in December 2012 also pointed out that nuclear power generation could prove an expensive option for GCC states.
“The substantial initial investment costs, coupled with the high expected level of long run variable costs, is unlikely to render nuclear power cost effective vis-à-vis conventional oil and gas fired power plants in the region,” it says.
“The existing absence of cost-recovering power tariffs throughout the GCC already renders effective cost recovery for nuclear power unlikely, implying a substantial bill in the form of nuclear power subsidies to be picked up by GCC governments.”
There are also other hidden costs, such as national and regional security concerns and the future disposal of nuclear waste.
“And the acquisition of nuclear technology by GCC states, albeit for civilian purposes, provides fuel to those critics of nuclear power in the region who fear a nuclear arms race in the Gulf should Iran pursue a nuclear weapons programme in the future.
“All these concerns make nuclear power a potentially costly option for the GCC,” the report cautions………….http://gulfbusiness.com/2014/04/nuclear-power-boon-bane-gcc/#.U1WPalVdWik
The risks of a nuclear Saudi Arabia April 7, 2014 by Nick Butler”……….The issue is set out in an excellent new paper for the Belfer Center at Harvard by Olli Heinonen and Simon Henderson. The Saudis’ explanation of their newfound interest in nuclear technology is that they want to use it to produce electric power and to converse oil supplies which can be exported. There is a core of truth in this of course – Saudi Arabia’s domestic oil consumption is rising inexorably and is now more than 3m barrels a day. But, of course, this is exactly the argument used by Iran for its own nuclear research.
Heinonen and Henderson believe the Saudis are preparing the way and giving themselves the option of being able to move beyond civil nuclear power to the point where they could within a matter of months produce some form of weapon. The country undoubtedly has the money to buy whatever is needed and they have close and dangerous allies within Pakistan, a country which is already a nuclear state. Scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy Agency is minimal (bizarrely the organisation spends more money monitoring Jordan) and the Saudis could go a long way down the path to nuclear capability without it becoming obvious until very late in the day.
The prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of the fragile government of Saudi Arabia is bad enough. The country is fundamentally unstable – held together only by force and by the flow of oil money to an ever growing number of citizens who high expectations and low productivity. But equally concerning is that any further conflict in the region – even at a level below the nuclear threshold – could shake the global energy economy to its foundations……..” http://blogs.ft.com/nick-butler/2014/04/07/the-risks-of-a-nuclear-saudi-arabia/
‘Saudis, Israelis developing new ‘super Stuxnet’ against Iran nuclear program’ Rt.com, 2 Dec 13 Saudi Arabia and Israel’s Mossad intelligence division are co-conspiring to produce a computer worm “more destructive” than the Stuxnet malware to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, according to a report from the semi-official Iranian Fars news agency.
“Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency Tamir Bardo sent their representatives to a meeting in Vienna on November 24 to increase the two sides’ cooperation in intelligence and sabotage operations against Iran’s nuclear program,” an anonymous source close to the Saudi secret services told Fars over the weekend.
The source noted that one of the major methods discussed was “the production of a malware worse than…Stuxnet.”
Stuxnet, a computer worm discovered in 2010, formed the basis of a cyberattack that sabotaged Iran’s uranium enrichment program. Its complexity prompted researchers to claim that it could only have been developed by a nation state.
It was generally believed to have been developed by the US and Israel, with former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden only confirming their covert roles in an interview this July.
The intention behind the development of the new malware would be “to spy on and destroy the software structure of Iran’s nuclear program.” The source expressed a desire to remain anonymous on account of the sensitivity of information being shared. The plan would need a great deal of time and funding, with a rough figure of US $1 million being given as an estimate. It was apparently welcomed by Saudi Arabia with open arms……http://rt.com/news/stuxnet-iran-nuclear-mossad-565/
Does Pakistan have nuclear weapons ready to ship to Saudi Arabia? A new BBC report says they are packed and ready to go osted by Julian Borger Friday 8 November 2013 theguardian.comIt has long been rumoured, and often reported, that in return for bankrolling the Pakistani nuclear weapons project, Saudi Arabia has a claim on some of those weapons in time of need. It has never been proved though, nor has it ever been clear how such a deal would work. Continue reading
Saudi Arabia Pushes Renewable Energy Programs, Wants to Become Solar-Powered Efficient and Capable by 2032 http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/486391/20130704/saudi-arabia-renewable-energy-solar-power.htm#.UdiSeztwo6I By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | July 4, 2013
Saudi Arabia has started to aggressively push forward its renewable energy programmes by installing 70 stations across the oil-rich nation that will measure the potential for energy production from sun, wind and geothermal sources. The kingdom targets to become solar-powered efficient and capable by 2032.
Ten of these stations have been put up. They will collect all weather and air data to show renewable energy sources in all parts of the kingdom. Researchers will then be able to access the data through a Web site, relaying information such as solar radiation and wind speed. Essentially, the findings will provide potential investors with guidance on where to build renewable-energy related plants. Saudi Arabia wants to attract about $109 billion to be able to create a solar industry that will help give off one-third of its electricity requirements by 2032, or about 41,000 megawatts.
Saudi Arabia targets to install 23.9 GW of renewable power capacity by 2020 and then 54.1 GW by 2032.Incidentally, countries in the Gulf region are turning more their focus toward clean renewable sources of energy for their power generation. Collectively, they target solar energy one of the region’s main sources of energy by 2017.
Apart from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait have started aggressive planning towards renewable energy programs. Qatar targets to source 10 per cent of the electricity and energy used in water desalination from solar energy by 2018, while Kuwait wants to obtain 10 per cent of its power requirements from renewable energy sources by 2020.
Overall, some $155 billion worth solar power installation projects are in the pipeline for the entire Gulf region. These projects can give off more than 84 GW of power.
Clear or nuclear: Will Saudi Arabia get the bomb? Arabiya, Dr. Naser al-Tamimi 21 May 2013 “…..Despite Riyadh’s long-held advocacy of making the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, there has been much speculation in the past few years about the possibility of its acquiring, or developing, nuclear weapons should Tehran obtain the bomb.
In the words of Saudi King Abdullah: “If Iran developed nuclear weapons (…) everyone in the region would do the same,” a sentiment echoed by Prince Turki al-Faisal, former head of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Directorate.
Why go nuclear?
A major deterioration in U.S.-Saudi relations – especially if Washington fails to stop Tehran’s nuclear program or decides to scale back its military presence in the Middle East due to its recent energy discoveries and/or fiscal constraints – could force Riyadh to reconsider nuclear weapon acquisition to avoid having to face foreign aggression without U.S. security assurances…… A third factor in the Saudi calculus is Israel’s nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities. Given Israel’s status as an assumed, but undeclared, nuclear weapons state, the most immediate consequence of Tehran’s crossing the nuclear threshold would be the possibility that Tel Aviv ends the ambiguity about its program and announces that it has nuclear weapons as a form of deterrence against Iran. This in turn will increase the pressure on Riyadh to acquire its own deterrent vis-à-vis Israel as well as Iran……
Saudi Arabia To Add 50GW Of Renewables By 2030 http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3693 17 April 13 Saudi Arabia plans to spend $109 billion on renewable energy projects over the next 20 years, installing more solar and wind power capacity than the rest of the world to date. Continue reading
Gulf riches could supercharge concentrated solar, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson 10 December 2012 The concentrated solar power (CSP) sector is expected to finally spring to life – and begin its long-awaited journey down the cost curve – as the oil and gas-rich Gulf nations deploy their massive sovereign wealth in solar technologies.
At the climate change talks in Doha, both Saudi Arabia and the host country Qatar reinforced their intentions to invest tens of billions of dollars into large-scale CSP – which includes solar thermal and concentrated solar PV technologies. The biggest oil and gas exporters in the world want to become, well, the Saudi Arabia and Qatar of the solar industry too. Continue reading
Mecca Seeks to Lead Saudi Arabia’s Solar Energy Expansion, Bloomberg News
By Wael Mahdi September 23, 2012 Mecca, which hosts millions of pilgrims a year visiting Islam’s most holy shrine, is working toward becoming the first city in Saudi Arabia
to operate a utility-scale plant generating electricity from renewables. Continue reading
Kingdom eyes 40 GW solar energy by 2032 Saudi Gazette, August 16, 2012 JEDDAH – Saudi Arabia has set an ambitious target of installing more than 40 GW of solar power capacity by 2032, of which 60 percent would be from concentrated solar power (CSP) and remaining from photovoltaics (PV). Continue reading
VIDEO Saudi Arabia To Purchase Nuclear Inquisitr.com 22 July 12An unintended consequence of Iran’s march towards a nuclear weapon was that the other big boys in the block would feel the need to arm also. Military sources are reporting to Israeli intelligence website Debka that Saudi Arabia has begun its journey on the way to a nuclear weapon’s capability.
The Saudi’s are currently in Beijing negotiating to purchase Chinese nuclear capable ballistic missiles…… Saudi Arabia has been poised for action against Iran since the European Union agreed to an oil embargo against Iran. Iran has promised that in the face of aggression it will hit Saudi and other gulf countries oil shipping routes and even move to close the vital Straights of Hormmuz. The United States has moved the Fifth Fleet into the gulf in order to
protect the shipping routes… http://www.inquisitr.com/282628/saudi-arabia-to-purchase-nuclear-capable-missiles-from-china-video/#F6OJqHwIVkhstRAs.99
Saudi Arabia Plans $109 Billion Boost for Solar Power Bloomberg, By Wael Mahdi and Marc Roca – May 10, 2012 Saudi Arabia is seeking investors for a $109 billion plan to create a solar industry that generates a third of the nation’s electricity by 2032, according to officials at the agency developing the plan….
“We are not only looking for building solar plants,” al- Odan said in an interview in Riyadh yesterday. “We want to run a sustainable solar energy sector that will become a driver for the domestic energy for years to come.”…
Unsurprisingly, many US politicians are extremely worried about a Saudi bomb. As in the case of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia had what one might call ‘fluid’ ties to Islamist terrorists.
Never mind Iran, is Saudi Arabia about to acquire a nuclear bomb? Mail Online, By MICHAEL BURLEIGH, 24th February 2012 Both Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council maintain that they want a WMD-free Middle East. However, key members of the Saudi royal elite have recently signalled that if Iran develops a nuclear weapon, then Saudi Arabia will get one too.
Speaking of signalling, they have also long indicated that if Israel were to overfly the desert kingdom to bomb Iranian nuclear sites, they would temporarily turn their radars off.
Saudi Arabia has signed nuclear technology agreements with several
states: China, France, Argentina and South Korea, Continue reading
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