US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and UAE Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan signed the memorandum of understanding on 21 April, in the lead up to a wider Arab-US summit in Manama.

The agreement follows the signing of a similar pact between the US and Bahrain in Washington in March.

On 20 April, the UAE issued a white paper outlining its plans to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes. The document projects that peak electricity demand in the UAE will grow from 13,224MW in 2007 to 40,858MW by 2020, with growth of approximately 9 per cent a year. In this context, nuclear power generation is deemed a reliable and economically viable option (MEED 21:4:08).