Keywords: population growth, economic development, electricity demand, fossil fuels, nuclear energy, nuclear power, desalination, electricity grids, capital investment, non-proliferation, West Asia, North Africa, nuclear infrastructure, finance, nuclear proliferation
Prospects for nuclear energy in West Asia and North Africa
Population and economic growth in West Asia and North Africa (WANA) continue to drive upward the demand for energy services and freshwater. Currently, oil and gas are the principal fuels for electricity generation and desalination, but this is expected to change in the future. Demand expectations, high oil and gas prices, export revenue maximisation, energy supply security considerations and strategic geo-political factors but also the cumulative advancements in operational safety and techno-economic performance have put nuclear power back on the energy agendas of many countries in the WANA region. This paper reviews the short- and medium-term prospects of nuclear power in a diverse region with energy rich and energy poor sub-regions. Key challenges include the development of prerequisite nuclear infrastructures, finance and proliferation issues.