Japan and the United Arab Emirates have closed out a nuclear cooperation agreement during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Abe is currently on a Middle East tour to strengthen partnerships and to push Japanese nuclear technologies. The agreement was signed in the presence of Abe and UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashif al-Maktoum.
Abe also took part in a Japan-UAE Business Forum, where he announced the signing of the agreement over a peaceful use of nuclear energy. He believes Japan can contribute energy supplies to the UAE, their eighth largest world economic partner, through nuclear energy conservation and renewable energy. On the other hand, UAE is extending an oil concession agreement with Japan’s Abu Dhabi Oil Co which will add a new zone.
Despite being one of the largest oil exporters in the world, the UAE chose to develop nuclear energy because they see it as a proven and commercially competitive source of power. They announced last year that they will start building two of four 1,400 megawatt nuclear power plants with a South Korean consortium, and Japan providing a small part of the technology, according to Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Yutaka Yokoi. All four plants should be fully operational by 2020 and the government is hoping it will provide up to 25% of the country’s electricity. Their energy spending is expected to grow up to 40 gigawatts from their current 15.5 gigawatts.
UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said that they are calling for more stable world oil prices which will give the energy-producing countries like them the opportunity to help exporting and consuming countries “to steadily develop and build their economies”. Japan imports 0.8 million barrels of oil and 5.5 million tons of natural gas everyday from the UAE. Abe is hoping that the UAE will be a stable source of oil for Japan, particularly since a lot of Japanese companies’ oil rights in the UAE expire by 2018. Japan has also signed various nuclear agreements with 11 other countries, including the United States and Britain and also the European Atomic Community.
[ via Kyodo News ]
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