Russia, Saudi Arabia strengthen ties in nuclear energy
10 October 2017 | World Nuclear News
Rosatom and the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) signed a 'program of cooperation' in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in Moscow yesterday as part of Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's state visit to Russia. The program aims to develop the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy the two countries signed in June 2015.
The latest document was signed by Khalid Al Falih, Saudi minister of energy, industry, and mineral resources, and Maher Al Odan, head of the nuclear energy division of KA-CARE, and Alexey Likhachov, director-general of Rosatom, and Evgeny Pakermanov, president of Rusatom Overseas.
Rosatom said they plan to cooperate in small- and medium-sized reactors, which can be used both for power generation and desalination of sea water; in the training of personnel for Saudi Arabia's national nuclear program; and in the development of the kingdom's nuclear energy infrastructure. Russia and Saudi Arabia will also "appreciate the prospects" of constructing a Russian-designed nuclear power plant in Saudi Arabia.
Although Saudi Arabia's nuclear program is in its infancy, it has plans to construct 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 years. A 2010 royal decree identified nuclear power as essential to help meet growing energy demand for both electricity generation and water desalination while reducing reliance on depleting hydrocarbon resources.
In January this year, Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum of understanding with China on the construction of high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) in the Middle Eastern country. They signed a cooperation agreement for a joint study in March and held their first meeting to discuss the feasibility of constructing HTGRs in May.