The government will invest AED375m ($102m) in the Nuclear Energy Implementation Organisation, which will work in conjunction with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The move indicates the UAE will be the first GCC member state to develop civilian nuclear power. Significantly, the cabinet said uranium would not be enriched in the country. Instead the fuel will be imported from overseas.

In January, three French companies announced they would submit a plan to build a nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi. If the plan is accepted, Total, Areva and Suez will build two 1,600MW evolutionary power reactors in the emirate (MEED 18:1:08).

In a seperate move, Bahrain signed a memorandum of understanding with the US on 24 March covering the development of civilian nuclear power.