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Issue: №12 (27)

This research paper explores the Middle Eastern energy demand, carefully analyzing the factors that have led the regional countries to a decision to develop the nuclear industry. The paper sheds light on the advantages and disadvantages of various nuclear suppliers, including the Russian Federation. That makes the paper a matter of interest for nuclear energy specialists, policymakers, and a broad audience. It could also be useful research to read amid the upcoming Tenth Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.

Key findings:

  • There are numerous reasons why the Middle Eastern states are eager to develop nuclear energy, namely economic, political and social ones, significant energy needs, as well as the role of prestige.
  • Iran is one of two states in the region that has a NPP (first unit) in operation. It also has ambitious plans for further developing the nuclear industry. However, uncertainties regarding the JCPOA could be a stumbling block for its PUNE plans.
  • In 2011, Saudi Arabia announced its plans to develop peaceful nuclear energy. However, as of 2021, those plans are still on paper.
  • The UAE nuclear program does not have a long history but it has already proven to be effective. The country established all necessary bodies and adopted a successful legislative system. Moreover, the UAE is very transparent and shows no intention to redirect nuclear technologies into the military field. As a result, it has the first NPP in the Arab world.
  • Jordan has made some attempts to progress in the PUNE field, though the idea to build a NPP in the country seems to be waived indefinitely, and Jordan concentrates on SMR option today.
  • Egyptian attempts to implement a nuclear energy program showed what difficulties a country could face in the nuclear field due to developments in the political sphere.
  • Further implementation of nuclear projects in the region is dependent on ongoing political tensions, developments in bilateral relations between the regional states and nuclear supplier countries, compliance with nonproliferation norms and changes in the world’s nuclear industry.



Security Index Occasional Paper Series presents reports, analytical articles, comments and interviews that reflect the positions of Russian and foreign experts on the current challenges of global security and Russian policy in this sphere. The newsletter aims at providing clear analysis of global security problems and suggesting practical solutions. Security Index Occasional Paper Series continues the Security Index journal published by PIR Center in 1994 – 2016. Authors and editors will be glad to receive comments, questions and suggestions on our e-mail address [email protected]