Middle eastern countries have been experiencing economical growth at an annual rate of more than 5% and some of the highest population growth rates in the world. Many (>13) have recently expressed interest in nuclear power for meeting future demands of electricity and fresh water. A challenging, but possible goal, particularly for the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and for the countries in North Africa, would be to secure 30% of future needs of electricity and process heat for industrial applications and seawater desalination from nuclear power by 2030. For the GCC states alone, this would be equivalent to building two new, 1500 MWe nuclear power plants each year starting in 2016. Some of the challenges and important consideration include: (a) stimulating private investments, (b) establishing education and training programs that are among the world's best; (c) maintaining close cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and countries with advanced nuclear technology and fuel cycle capabilities to ensure safety and compliance at all levels, (c) establishing viable indigence heavy industry and international alliances on all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle; (d) coordinating with other countries in the region on the development of a common electric grid; (e) investing in uranium mining and exploration to secure future resources, (f) identifying and licensing suitable sites for future construction of nuclear plants; (g) establishing a regulatory and safety board with government oversight and sound regulations that would make it possible to build and operate new nuclear power plants within 40-50 months, (h) investing in high technology and R&D infrastructure, and (i) investigating the options of standardization versus diversification in the nuclear reactor types. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.