Bahrain to join big nuclear club
Manama, February 19, 2008
Bahrain is to join other Arab countries in a comprehensive plan to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, it has been revealed.
It was among several measures discussed by Works Minister and Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) chairman Fahmi Al Jowder with his counterparts at a recent meeting in the Arab League in Cairo to enhance energy resources in the Arab world.
The minister was accompanied by a high level delegation, including adviser to EWA chief executive Dr Abdulmajeed Habib Abdulkarim and electricity transmission director Nabeel Khalfan.
Electricity ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Algeria, Sudan and Syria also attended.
Besides the development of nuclear energy, the meeting also discussed Arab integration and support for investment in the area of manufacturing electrical equipment and spare parts in the region, said Dr Abdulkarim.
'The need to expand Arab power inter-connection was also discussed,' he told the Gulf Daily News, our sister organisation.
'The peaceful use of nuclear energy was an issue discussed by the last Arab summit held in Riyadh in March last year,' said Dr Abdulkarim.
'The Cairo meeting decided to draw up a programme in consultation with the Arab Authority for Nuclear Energy,' he noted.
'A three-week specialised workshop on the topic will be held in Cairo, starting April 6. A delegation from Bahrain will attend.
'The idea is to develop a strategic plan up to 2020, following the rules laid down by the International Atomic Energy Agency.'
'The depleting resources of natural gas used for electricity generation are prompting Arab countries to look into alternative energy resources like nuclear power', said Dr Abdulkarim.
'Bahrain will support a joint Gulf programme in this connection, and details will be worked out soon.'
'We also support the development of renewable energy resources like solar energy and wind energy.'
A programme related to this will be discussed at a meeting in Cairo on April 29 and 30.
The Arab ministers also discussed the reinforcement of power inter-connection between various countries in the region on a fixed timetable, said Dr Abdulkarim.
'An international consultant will carry out a study on this important issue,' he added.
'The study will cost around $5 million (BD1.89m), and the terms of reference for the bidders have been completed.'
Bahrain presented an update on the progress achieved in the construction of the GCC power grid, said Dr Abdulkarim, who is also the secretary to the board of the GCC inter-connection committee.
'The progress of inter-connections in other countries was also reviewed,' he added.
'These include the inter-connections between Egypt- Jordan and Syria, which is now operational, and projects linking Libya with Egypt, Syria with Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq, Turkey with Iraq, Tunisia with Libya, and Tunisia with Algeria, Morocco and Europe.'
The expansion of electrical equipment manufacturing facilities in the Arab world was one of the main topics of discussion, said Dr Abdulkarim.
A conference and exhibition on this will be organised by the Arab League in Kuwait later this year. The Cairo meeting also discussed proposals to be presented at the forthcoming Arab Summit , said Dr Abdulkarim.-TradeArabia News Service