Nuclear power plants in the Middle East ? 6


According to a great article from the Huffington Post, 13 countries of this region are negotiating to acquire the technology to build nuclear plants. As an example of this the United Arab Emirates are negotiating to build reactors soon.

Why a region rich with two thirds of the global oil reserves would switch to another energy source ? We know we may have reached peak oil, and it seems that many countries are willing to meet their energy demand in another way.

Even if I have no problem with nuclear energy in general, I wonder if the “most volatile region in the world” could handle such a technology.


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6 thoughts on “Nuclear power plants in the Middle East ?

  • Kiashu

    And that’s one of the basic problems with nuclear as a solution to depleting and polluting fossil fuels. If we can have it, so can tinpot dictatorships, and countries full of illiterate people on the edge of civil war.

    Think of Pakistan. Wouldn’t we be much more comfortable if they had wind turbines instead of nuclear reactors and weapons? Taliban with a reactor, bad news. Taliban with a windmill, so what?

    But if we want that, we have to lead by example. Alternately, we could have nuclear for ourselves, and then every time a tinpot dictatorship or unstable country went for nuclear, we could bomb them. Long wars, just what we need more of, eh?

  • Edouard Post author

    Agreed on both Kiashu.

    Nuclear brings us 80 percent of the electricity. it’s cool, we don’t have many terrorists around here.

    Another point I am thinking about: Nuclear – unlike wind or solar – need constant attention and monitoring, ie. specialized engineers which may soon lack…

    I am puzzled at their energy choice. The Middle East is sun baked and could get a lot of energy from the sun…

    Last point (damn, this comment is longer that the original post ^^) water is needed to cool the reactors down. Once again, it’s no big deal in France but in the Middle East ?

    To conclude: Even if 13 countries are willing to build nuclear reactors I doubt that more than a couple of them will actually build them.

    Regarding to your post script: Yeah, I know, I HAVE to learn that one… (correcting the mistake right away.)

    Enjoy !

  • Kiashu

    The intermittency of wind and solar would probably kill them in the Middle East. In the US, Australia and EU, we have electricity grids across half the continent (Australia and the US both have three grids, for example, in both cases two large and one small one). For example, Tasmania sends Victoria hydroelectric power on rainy days, and Victoria sends Tasmania brown coal power during droughts. France sends its nuclear power to Italy, Denmark sends wind to Sweden and Sweden sends hydroelectric back.

    Well, because we have large grids already, we could do the same with wind and solar. Across such a large area, it’ll never be dark and overcast and with still air all at once.

    But in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, they have lots of small country-sized grids. Syria doesn’t send electricity to Jordan, or Qatar to Saudi Arabia. So if it were still and overcast/night, they’d have no electricity at all.

    They could of course go solar thermal, and it’s a puzzle why more countries don’t.

    But solar thermal aside, either they have grids joined to their neighbours – not good for security in an area where some country might have a Taliban revolution in the next ten or twenty years – or they get nuclear.

    The water is an issue, yes. I suppose they’ll just spend some of the nuclear energy to desalinate water. And perhaps some of them are thinking of liquid metal reactors?

  • Edouard Post author

    Thanks for your views. I agree, the grids matter.

    I just published an article on solar thermal and deserts. It seems we weren’t the only ones thinking about it…

    This post makes me think of what I wrote above: even if 13 countries are planning to build nuclear plants, few of them will actually will. I guess concentrated solar is cheaper and safer for them.

    As we say around here: ” les grands esprits se rencontrent ” 😀

    As you noted the terrorist threat is important. What if an hostile nation bombed – or else – the reactor ?

    Enjoy your weekend !