Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) — Historically, it has proven extremely difficult for countries in the Middle East to build nuclear power plants. The idea of commercial reactors secretly processing weapons-grade nuclear material has always alarmed Washington, which for decades has used its clout in the region to keep the Mideast as nuclear-free as possible.
Today the U.S. is leading the way in imposing sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program. Israel also remains ready to protect its interests, as it did when its air force bombed the unfinished Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981.
The situation is gradually changing, as Arab allies of the U.S. increasingly petition Washington to bless their plans for civilian nuclear programs. The U.S. is proving pliable, since the programs do not appear to have a sinister intent, at least in the medium term, and offer a business opportunity for multinationals such as General Electric Co., Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Aug. 9 issue.