The United Arab Emirates will set up an agency to assess and develop a civilian nuclear energy programme, local newspapers reported on Monday.
The Emirati cabinet authorised the creation of the Nuclear Energy Authority which will have "the mandate to evaluate and develop a peaceful nuclear energy programme in line with the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," a daily quoted the official news agency as saying.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited the UAE in January and agreed to help the pro-Western state develop civilian nuclear energy.
The UAE is a member of the pro-Western Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) along with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Amid concerns over Iran's nuclear aims and regional clout, GCC members decided in December 2006 to develop a joint nuclear technology programme for peaceful uses.
The UAE is expected to double its power capacity over the next decade to supply a rapidly-growing population and a myriad of huge industrial projects. (AFP)
UAE to set up nuclear agency