Saudi Arabia signs nuclear agreement with France

25 June 2015

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was part of delegation that met with French government

  • Agreement was signed at meeting of joint Franco-Saudi commission
  • Deputy crown prince was part of Saudi delegation in Paris
  • Saudi Arabia’s nuclear programme aims to produce upwards of 17GW of nuclear power by 2032

Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement with France for a feasibility study into developing nuclear power in the kingdom.

Under the agreement, France will conduct a feasibility study over developing two European pressurised reactors. The French will also train Saudi nationals on nuclear safety and the treatment of nuclear waste.

 The agreement was signed in Paris on 24 June during a “Franco-Saudi Joint Commission” meeting, which was attended by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.

The agreement comes days after Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with Russia for cooperation in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The agreement was signed on 19 June by Hashim Yamani, president of King Abdullah City for Atomic & Renewable Energy (KA-Care), and Sergei Kiriyenko, president of Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom).

The kingdom has signed several agreements over the past 12 months as it seeks to make progress with its ambitious nuclear energy programme, which is targeting upwards of 17GW through up to 16 nuclear reactors by 2032. The programme appears to have become a priority for Riyadh, following the failure of its 54GW renewable energy programme.

MEED reported in April that KA-Care is being lined up to become the regulator for the kingdom’s nuclear energy plans, following the stalling of its renewables programme.

It is understood the organisation is being reformed to become the regulator for the nuclear energy programme. State utility Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and state oil major Saudi Aramco are among the companies in consultation with the government regarding the nuclear power programme.

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.

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