Saudi Arabia is eying initial work on two sites for its first nuclear power plants, a report in MEED said, as the Kingdom looks to bolster alternative sources of energy to free up oil for export and power the growth needed for its Vision 2030 program.
The kingdom has shortlisted two sites “and has invited consultants to submit proposals for the contract to conduct a site characterisation study, environmental impact assessment (EIA) and preliminary safety analysis report (PSRA),” MEED reports.
The locations of the two sites are at Umm Huwayd and Khor Duweihin, which are on the Arabian Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia near Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
According to the MEED report, the two sites were shortlisted following investigations conducted in 2011 and 2012 in accordance with sitting guidance issued by international regulatory agencies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Initially, 17 potential sites had been identified, which included nine potential sites close to the Red Sea coast, six sites on the Arabian Gulf and two locations further inland.
Abdul Malek Al M. Saberi, a senior official from King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), said the Kingdom has received proposals from five countries including China, Russia, US, South Korea and France to build the nuclear power plant and “hopes to announce the winner at the end of the year and will sign a joint venture in the early 2019.” His comments were made at the World Future Energy Summit in the UAE last week.