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The UAE’s Nuclear Push

And the Potential Fallout for the Middle East

A general view of Dubai and the world's tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, December 9, 2015. Karim Sahib / Reuters

The United Arab Emirates will soon be the first Arab state with a nuclear power program and the first to join the civilian nuclear club in more than a quarter of a century. Barring any delays, the country’s first reactor is scheduled to be operational by May 2017, after further inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure the fuel is used only for peaceful purposes. So far, the project is on budget and on schedule. The remaining three 1,400 megawatt South Korean­-designed reactors are under construction and will be gradually connected to the grid by May 2020.

Along with such progress have come concerns about Arab states using their forthcoming nuclear capabilities to build a weapon sometime in the future. Last year, Israel’s former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, stated that “We see signs that countries in the Arab world are preparing to acquire nuclear weapons, that they are

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