The Quest for Nuclear Energy in West Asia: Energy Security or Strategic Necessity

Dr Prasanta Kumar Pradhan is Research Fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for profile
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  • November 2010

    Most of the countries in West Asia have expressed an interest in developing nuclear energy. For them their growing demand of electricity owing to the increasing population, growing industries, their eternal reliance on the desalinated water and environmental protection are the major drivers of their decision to produce nuclear energy. Importantly, they would like to use nuclear energy for domestic consumption and supply oil and gas to earn more revenues. But their decision has also raised suspicion in some quarters amidst the fears of militarisation of their nuclear programmes, which may lead to an arms race in the region. Nuclear programmes of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Saudi Arabia have been termed as an effort to counter the Iranian nuclear programme. Similarly, Syrian and Egyptian nuclear programmes are suspected to be intended against Israel. There are also increasing safety and proliferation concerns as these countries still have not adhered to a number of relevant International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) documents.