DUBAI (Reuters) – French companies Areva, Total and Suez are involved in plans to build two third generation nuclear plants in the United Arab Emirates, Jazeera Television said on Sunday.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office has said that he will sign a framework agreement on civilian nuclear power with the UAE during a visit to the Gulf country on Tuesday.
The chief executive of French reactor maker Areva, Anne Lauvergeon, and Total Chief Executive Christope de Margerie will accompany Sarkozy on his tour.
France has already signed civilian nuclear development accords with Libya and Algeria, both oil producing Arab countries.
Sources close to the situation told Reuters in Paris on Friday that UAE authorities would prefer to sell their oil, which is trading at close to $100 a barrel, rather than use it to produce electricity and have started talks with French groups such as Areva.
Areva was also set to sign a power transmission and distribution contract worth between 300 million euros and 500 million euros (226.3 million pounds – 377.2 million pounds) in Qatar, the sources said.
The Gulf Cooperation Council, a loose gathering of Gulf Arab states including the UAE, has said it was studying the possibility of developing a joint nuclear energy programme and has already been in touch with the U.N. atomic energy watchdog about cooperating on such a scheme.