Saudi Arabia is keen on tapping into nuclear energy

Saudi Arabia is keen on tapping into nuclear energy

Korean help for nuclear reactors

01 April 2015

Saudi Arabia and South Korea have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate on the development of nuclear energy, Saudi state news agency SPA said, building on a deal signed in 2011.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman in Riyadh during an official visit, SPA said.

The MoU calls for South Korean firms to help build at least two small-to-medium-size nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, the South Korean presidential office said in a statement.

“If the two units go ahead, the cost of the contract will be (near) $2 billion,” the statement said.

Saudi Arabia aims to build 17 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear power by 2032 as well as around 41 GW of solar capacity. The oil exporter currently has no nuclear power.

Those plans are likely to take until 2040, the head of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (Kacare), which is in charge of overseeing such projects, said in January.

Kacare said in a statement: “The two sides will discuss the current mutual activities and ways and means of future collaboration, building on the bilateral agreement already signed between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of South Korea in 2011 with a view to developing and applying nuclear energy for peaceful uses.”

That agreement called for cooperation in research and development as well as in construction and training.

Separately, Saudi Electricity signed four energy-related agreements on Tuesday with US company General Electric as well as South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco), Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction and Eximbank.

The Kepco agreement calls for cooperation in the development of nuclear and renewable energy.

Al Hassan Ghazi Ibrahim Shaker Company also signed a non-binding MoU with South Korea’s LG Electronics on cooperation in cooling systems for nuclear reactors.

The UAE was the first Gulf Arab state to start building a nuclear power plant. In December 2009, it awarded a group led by Kepco a contract to build four 1,400 MW nuclear reactors to meet surging demand for electricity. 

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