The use of nuclear power plants (NPP) to generate electric power (EP) is a common practice by many countries. Examples of these countries and their (EP percentage generated by NPP) are: Armenia (39.4), Belgium (52), Bulgaria (33), Czeck Republic (33), Finland (28.4), France (74), Germany (28.4), Hungry (42.1), Japan (29), South Korea (32), Romania (19.1), Russia (17), Slovakia (51.8), Spain (20.2), Slovania (37.3), Sweden (38.1), Switzerland (38), Ukrain (48.1), United Kingdom (15.7), and USA (19.6). China, India, and Pakistan started to rely heavily on NPP to generate EP and desalting seawater (DW) by nuclear desalination (ND). This is due to the rising cost of fossil fuel (FF), its insecure supply, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when burned. The increases of FF consumption and its cost (about $100 per barrel level) motivate other countries, even oil exporting countries like United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, to look for cheaper alternatives to produce both EP and desalted seawater (DW) on a large scale. The locally consumed FF in these countries is deducted from their reserves and/or decreases their income. In addition, the GHG emission is the main contributer to global warming and adversly affects the environment.

All Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (GCCC) consume huge amounts of natural gas (NG) in co-generation power desalting plants (CPDP) producing EP and DW. The use of the NG cannot be expanded indefinitely as its reserve and supplies are finite. Almost all GCCC, except Qatar, are in short supply of NG. Sustainable renewable energy (RE) sources, such solar, wind, geothermal, and wave energies, are seriously explored. The share of RE sources are so little and their wide expansions in the next decade are questionable. Presently, nuclear energy (NE) is the only economically viable option for large scale alternative to FF to generate EP and DW. But, the use of NE raises many concerns about safety, high capital cost and radiation effects on the surroundings and workers, in both the short and long terms. The question to be raised is not to accept nuclear power plants or not; as it may be the only economically viable alternative to FF for the time being. The real question is are NPPs safe, especially in countries at different development stages? NE can present a sustainable way to produce EP and DW if its problems are solved; and can become a significant option for meeting future GCCC energy needs at low cost and in an environmentally acceptable manner.

The prospects of usig nuclear CPDP (N-CPDP) in Qatar and other GCCC, and the required conditions to build NPP, and the problems associated with it, are discussed in this paper.


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  • Received: 05 February 2012
  • Accepted: 13 March 2012
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