UAE Argentina sign civil nuclear agreement

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The UAE and Argentina signed on Monday an agreement to cooperate in the field of peaceful nuclear energy during a visit by President Cristina Kirchner, the state news agency WAM reported.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan and his Argentine counterpart Hector Timerman, WAM said.

Kirchner and UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan attended the signing ceremony after discussions on bilateral cooperation between their countries, WAM said.

The United Arab Emirates announced in mid-July that it would begin building two of four nuclear power plants -- each with a capacity of 1,400 megawatts -- in partnership with a South Korean consortium, as part of plans to produce electricity from 2017.

Despite being a major oil exporter, the UAE has opted for nuclear, seeing it as a proven, environmentally promising and commercially competitive source of electricity, upon which it relies to produce all of its drinking water via desalination.

With the four plants scheduled to be operating by 2020, the UAE hopes that nuclear energy can provide up to a quarter of its electricity needs, which are forecast to soar to 40 gigawatts from 15.5 currently.
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