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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Qatar joins IAEA convention on nuclear safety

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Qatar has previously asked IAEA to intervene in UAE’s building of a nuclear power plant

Qatar has become the latest signatory to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s convention on nuclear safety, authorities announced, after expressing concern about the development of nuclear energy power plants in the Gulf region. 

The agreement was “in accordance with its responsibilities and powers, to provide the required assurances to it, the countries of the region and the international community regarding the safety and security of the reactors currently existing or under construction“, according to Sultan bin Salmeen Al-Mansouri, Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and international organisations in Vienna said.

Qatar has previously called on the IAEA to intervene and suspend the construction of a nuclear power plant by neighbour United Arab Emirates, which is also a part of the quartet that has imposed an illegal blockade on Qatar. 

In a letter to the IAEA last year, Qatar stated specific environment and security concerns such as the possible leak of radiation into Qatar’s water supply from UAE’s $24 billion Barakah plant. The plant’s radioactive plume could also reach Doha within five-13 hours.

Read more: GCC crisis: ‘Deal to be finalised at this month’s summit’

“Qatar believes that the lack of any international co-operation with neighbouring states regarding disaster planning, health and safety and the protection of the environment pose a serious threat to the stability of the region and its environment,” the letter from Qatar’s foreign affairs ministry to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said at the time.

The letter also stated that the technology used by the Barakah power plant is new and untested, with South Korea being the only country that uses the same technology commercially. 

Saudi Arabia, along with Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt, have imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Qatar since June 2017 over their claim that the state of Qatar is too close to Iran and groups associated with terrorism in the Middle East. Qatar has always denied the charges. 

In recent weeks, Gulf countries have confirmed movements to finalise an agreement that would put an end to the illegal blockade on Qatar and the subsequent Gulf crisis at the upcoming GCC summit this month, Kuwaiti media reported.


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