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Powering the Middle East and North Africa with Nuclear Energy: Stakeholders and Technopolitics

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Abstract

Nuclear power produces only 2.1% of electricity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) today. Abu Dhabi’s Barakah nuclear plant began commercial operations in 2020, Turkey’s Akkuyu is under construction, Iran is adding reactor units to Bushehr, Egypt’s El-Dabaa is in the pre-construction phase, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are drawing up their own plans, while Kuwait considered and rejected nuclear power. Consequently, by 2050, nuclear energy could account for 6–12% of the region’s electricity. This chapter uses the multi-level perspective framework to analyse the extent to which a niche technology in MENA, such as nuclear power, can be mainstreamed into the domestic power mix. Through this approach, the interplay between domestic stakeholders, regional influences, and international context are considered alongside the attributes of nuclear energy technology. Consequently, this chapter offers an in-depth study of nuclear power in Abu Dhabi enriched by comparative assessments of experiences in other MENA countries. In particular, it argues that the initial decision to ‘go nuclear’ is merely the first step. It is the ability to craft and sustain enabling coalitions of stakeholders (domestic and foreign) in favour of nuclear power, as Abu Dhabi has done, that explains much of the variation within MENA countries concerning the successful uptake of nuclear power.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-59554-8_10
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Fig. 10.1

(Source BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2020)

Fig. 10.2

(Source Levelized Cost of Electricity Analysis, Lazard, 2019)

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Correspondence to Li-Chen Sim .

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Sim, LC. (2021). Powering the Middle East and North Africa with Nuclear Energy: Stakeholders and Technopolitics. In: Mills, R., Sim, LC. (eds) Low Carbon Energy in the Middle East and North Africa. International Political Economy Series. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-59554-8_10

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