Saudi Arabia commits to nuclear power

07 June 2016

Kingdom will spend $80m on identifying sites for potential atomic energy facilities

Saudi Arabia has reaffirmed its commitment to developing nuclear power, in the latest announcements on its ambitious National Transformation Plan (NTP).

In details revealed from the NTP on 6 June, Riyadh said it was planning to spend SR300m ($80m) on studies to identify locations for nuclear power plants and prepare the sites for construction.

The affirmation of the kingdom’s intention to develop nuclear power will please international nuclear energy providers, with the issue of nuclear power having been omitted from the previous announcements of targets from Vision 2030 in April.

While the latest announcements from Riyadh on its 2030 objectives do not reveal any targets for nuclear power, the kingdom has previously stated it is targeting to develop up to 16 reactors to provide upwards of 17,000MW of power by 2032. This target, similarly to its renewable energy target, is likely to be revised down due to slow progress with the nuclear preparations in recent years.

In September 2012, King Abdullah City for Atomic & Renewable Energy (KA-Care) appointed a group of advisers to work on plans to develop the nuclear programme. They included US management consultancy Oliver Wyman, France’s BNP Paribas and the local Riyad Bank. There has been little further information released about the country’s atomic energy programme since then.

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