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France open to UAE investments in nuclear industry, minister says

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France is open to the United Arab Emirates investing in its nuclear energy industry, its finance minister said on Tuesday ahead of discussions in the Gulf state with UAE officials.

French Minister for Economy, Finance, Industry and Digital Security Bruno Le Maire, Reuters/Sarah Meyssonnier

France is open to the United Arab Emirates investing in its nuclear energy industry, its finance minister said on Tuesday ahead of discussions in the Gulf state with UAE officials.

Sources told Reuters in March that the UAE had approached several European countries about investing in their nuclear power infrastructure via its state nuclear power company.

Finance Minister Bruno le Maire told reporters in Abu Dhabi that he would have discussions in the UAE to see whether the Gulf state was interested in investing in France's nuclear industry.

He said there were many possibilities for how the UAE could invest, including in private companies such as nuclear fuel specialist Orano, which is majority owned by the government.

"We are open to that kind of cooperation," he said.

Le Maire was due to hold talks with Khaldoon Al Mubarak, a close confidant of the UAE president, managing director of the Abu Dhabi government fund Mubadala and chairman of the UAE's state nuclear energy company, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp.

He was also scheduled to separately meet with Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE's Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and chief executive of Abu Dhabi state oil company Adnoc.

The French finance minister was in Abu Dhabi to sign a strategic partnership with the UAE on artificial intelligence.

Le Maire said France was also willing to provide the UAE with assistance if the Gulf state decides to expand its own nuclear power industry. Sources told Reuters in April that the UAE was planning to build four new nuclear reactors.

"If there is any possibility to extend the cooperation to the UAE on the nuclear field, we stand ready for that," he said.

The UAE, a U.S. security partner, became the first Arab state to operate a nuclear power plant when in 2021 it opened in the South Korean-built Barakah facility in Abu Dhabi.

By Alexander Cornwell

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