KA-Care being lined up as nuclear regulator

10 May 2015

Alternative energy body is set to be reformed to focus on Saudi Arabia’s nuclear energy plans

  • KA-Care was formed in 2010 to oversee the procurement of renewable and nuclear energy
  • It is understood that body is being reformed to focus on role as regulator for kingdom’s planned nuclear programme
  • Riyadh has signed MoUs for the development of peaceful nuclear energy with France and South Korea in 2015

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Centre for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-Care) is being lined up to become the regulator for the kingdom’s nuclear energy plans, following the failure of the country’s planned renewables programme.

According to sources in the kingdom’s electricity sector, the organisation is being reformed to become the regulator for the country’s planned nuclear energy programme.

It is understood within the kingdom’s energy sector that state utility Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and state oil major Saudi Aramco are among companies in consultation with the government regarding a nuclear power programme in the kingdom.

In September 2012, Ka-Care appointed a group of advisers to work on plans to develop the 17.9GW nuclear programme. The group included US management consultancy Oliver Wyman, France’s BNP Paribas and the local Riyad Bank. There has been little further information released about the programme since then, but with Riyadh shifting its focus away from renewables, the nuclear programme is expected to gain some momentum moving forward.

In April 2015, KA-Care signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for joint cooperation with France on peaceful uses of nuclear energy and training and development of nuclear cadres. In March, KA-Care signed a MoU with South Korea on the peaceful development of nuclear power.

It is understood that SEC and Saudi Aramco are both set to push forward with renewable energy projects in the coming months, however, these will be on a much smaller scale than what had been planned under the original 54GW programme.

A troubled history

KA-Care was formed in 2010 under royal decree to spearhead the kingdom’s ambitious renewable and nuclear energy plans, which included targets of installing 54GW of renewable energy and 17.9GW of nuclear power by 2032.

The alternative energy body’s initial focus was on starting the renewable energy programme, and in early 2013 released a draft white paper, outlining the procurement plans and strategy for the initial renewables phases.

However, since then no further progress was made and it is understood that following the failure to get the renewables programme off the ground, KA-Care is being reformed to focus on its planned role as nuclear regulator.

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