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Nuclear plant to be operational by 2017: official

UAE sets commercial start date on GCC's first atomic facility

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UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is set to sign off on the nuclear power law shortly.
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is set to sign off on the nuclear power law shortly.

A senior official from the UAE has said that the country aims to have its first nuclear reactor operational by 2017.

Speculation has been growing in recent weeks as to the likely winners of the US $40 billion contract to build a series of nuclear power plants in the UAE, where consumer and industrial demand for electricity remains strong.

While recent reports have suggested that the French consortium - consisting of Areva, GdF Suez and Total - is in pole position to win the deal, no announcement will be made until the UAE's nuclear power legislation is signed.

However, the successful bidder should be announced before the end of the year.

"Today we are in the advanced stage of evaluation before moving into the implementation stage and so far it is positive," Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told reporters, according to Reuters.

"Plans are on track for the first reactor to be commercially operational in 2017," Kaabi said.

He said the world's third-largest oil producer had also set up a Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation, with former IAEA technical adviser William Travers as director-general, to promote safety, security and radiological protection.

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