Kuwait scraps nuclear power in light of 3/11

Kyodo

Kuwait is no longer pursuing nuclear power following the disaster in Japan, scrapping a plan last July to build four reactors by 2022, officials of a Kuwaiti government research body said Tuesday.

While a number of countries, including Germany, Switzerland and Italy, have decided to turn away from nuclear power due to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant crisis, it is rare for a country that has signed a civil nuclear power cooperation agreement with Japan to do so.

Nuclear energy was intended to be part of Kuwait’s strategy to preserve its oil resources and it had set up a national nuclear energy committee in 2009.

But in July, four months after the radiation-leaking crisis broke out at the Fukushima plant following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Emir Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah issued an order to dissolve the committee, according to Osama Al-Sayegh, a research scientist at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research.

Some of the duties previously undertaken by the committee are now assigned to the institute.

Al-Sayegh and two of his colleagues told reporters that Fukushima generated strong public questions over why it was necessary to build reactors in Kuwait. It also faced the problem of where to store radioactive waste.

Kuwait had also signed accords the United States, France and Russia to boost cooperation in atomic energy.