Even if we were a little more, um, self-centered, we probably wouldn't try out a sentence like this:
Nuclear power rather than renewable sources like the wind or sun are the best option for oil-rich Gulf Arab states to meet growing energy demands, especially if produced collectively, say regional experts.
Not that we don't agree, but it does seem counter-intuitive: we're not sure about wind, but one thing we do know, there's a lot of sunshine in those parts. So why the focus on nuclear?
[Saudi Electricity Company president Ali Saleh al-Barrack] said that while Saudi Arabia was conducting research into renewable energies, options such as wind and solar power were either limited or less attractive for technical reasons.
Given the high demand for power and the population growth in the Gulf region, "I think the only immediate solution is nuclear energy," which is the best option in economic and environmental terms, Barrack said.
And here's where we really started to like Mr. al-Barrack:
He dismissed fears of environmental damage from nuclear energy as "driven by Hollywood-style fiction."
There's been some concern over development of nuclear energy in the middle east because of the region's fractious history and a somewhat tendentious concern over proliferation, but the countries there (let's leave Iran to the side for now) have approached nuclear energy responsibly. Most have pacted with the United States and/or France to explore the technical options and several (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) are working as a unit, initiating talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Raja Kiwan, an analyst with energy advisers PFC Energy, throws a wet blanket over the party - which is what analysts of any field are paid to do, right? - by noting that most of the partners are pursuing separate agendas, with UAE likely to get a plant first. (Well, if they can get Dubailand up and running, a nuclear energy plant should be a snap.) But even he does not deny or downplay the inevitability of nuclear energy:
"Nuclear is probably the most tested and the most applicable source of energy for the (level) of demand growth that this region is going to be seeing over the next 20-25 years," he said.
It's enough to make a nuclear energy advocate self-centered.
Note: The picture above is of Dubailand. Looks like fun in the sun.