Saudi Arabia has appointed a group of advisers to work on the development of its planned nuclear power programme.

The advisory group includes US management consultancy Oliver Wyman, France’s BNP Paribas and Riyad Bank. The three were appointed during the summer and a kick-off meeting has already been held in early September.

The King Abdullah Centre for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-Care), created in 2010 to develop renewable energy sources, is planning a 17GW nuclear power programme by 2032. Although still in the early stages, sources close to KA-Care suggest Riyadh’s nuclear plan could include 16 reactors spread around the country and costing $7bn each, but this could change as the programme develops.

The advisers will be involved in helping to establish a holding company for the ownership of the kingdom’s nuclear plants, setting up the regulatory framework for the nuclear sector, and advising on possible financing options.The mandate does not include taking a specific project out to the private sector or raising finance for the development of the nuclear programme.

“The first meetings have taken place already and KA-Care has an ambitious timetable,” says one source. By 2030, KA-Care wants 18 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s power to come from nuclear energy.