October 22, 2009 / 10:03 PM / 10 years ago

US-UAE nuclear deal to take effect soon-State Dept

* Pact takes force after diplomatic notes exchanged

* U.S. industry hopes for big share of UAE nuclear project

By Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - The United States and United Arab Emirates are finalizing a landmark nuclear power cooperation agreement now that Congress has given its tacit approval, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

“We are entering into the final stages of efforts to bring the proposed agreement into force,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

The pact, which President Barack Obama approved in May and sent to Congress for a 90-day review period, is potentially worth billions of dollars to General Electric Co (GE.N) and Westinghouse Electric, a subsidiary of Toshiba Corp (6502.T).

The UAE was the third-largest oil exporter in 2007. But it is planning to build a number of nuclear reactors to meet an expected need for an additional 40,000 megawatts and is expected to award the primary contract soon.

The U.S.-UAE Business Council estimates the pact could generate more than $40 billion in commercial opportunities and well over 10,000 American jobs.

Congress could have blocked the deal by passing a resolution of disapproval before the end of the 90-day review period last Saturday. Despite concerns some lawmakers raised about the UAE’s relationship with Iran, there was no push in the Senate or House of Representatives for a vote.

The Obama administration calls the pact a model for the region that contains several unprecedented commitments that ensures the UAE will not use American technology to develop a nuclear weapon or to help others in the region do that.

The UAE has pledged not to enrich uranium or reprocess used nuclear fuel and to import all fuel for its nuclear reactors.

The agreement will go into force once the two countries have exchanged diplomatic notes verifying they have fulfilled all the necessary requirements.

“The next step is to talk to the government of the UAE to see what their own requirements are for us to enter into this formally,” Kelly said.

U.S. industry official hope that final legal move could be done in the next week to 10 days.

The National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hailed the nuclear deal.

“This agreement will usher in closer commercial ties between the U.S. and the UAE, which is already America’s top export market in the Arab world,” said Danny Sebright, president of the U.S.-UAE Business Council. (Additional reporting by Andrew Quinn; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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