UAE's Acceptance of the Nuclear Gold Standard

  • Mohamed AlMansoori

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The Korean Electric Power Company (KEPCO) reactor design is mainly based on the American Combustion Engineering 80+ design. As the design at Barakah comprises Korean APR-1400, which is heavily based on American technology, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) was obliged to form a bilateral agreement with the United States (U.S.) in order to use the technology. The agreement is known as the 123-agreement and commonly labelled as the Nuclear Gold Standard (NGS). The basis of the agreement is the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, specifically Section 123 'Nuclear cooperation with other countries'. The agreement went beyond norms outlined in the nuclear agreement, as it posed restrictions that could curb any country's plans of pursuing a full nuclear fuel cycle. These restrictions pertaining to the NGS included the fact that UAE will forgo the enrichment of uranium and reprocessing of spent fuel. The only country that has signed the US–UAE style NGS agreement is Taiwan, which signed the agreement in 2014. No other country has accepted the NGS, as countries have always strategically wanted to keep their enrichment options open for various reasons. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) states that it is within a country's right to enrich nuclear material for peaceful use. This thesis will investigate the reason behind why UAE accepted this strict agreement, and the reasons that led to their agreement. Moreover, the thesis will look into how UAE adopted the NGS into its legislative system in the form of new norm adoption. Various nuclear energy and policy experts will be interviewed as primary sources of data on this specific topic. The main goal will be to analyze the agreement from an in-depth point of view on how countries can adopt it. The topic comprises the case study of UAE, and this study can be taken further to investigate the reason behind why other countries did not adopt NGS at the global level.
    Date of AwardJul 2022
    Original languageAmerican English


    • nuclear energy; international agreements; non-proliferation; nuclear gold standard; international norms.

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