Efforts to tap nuclear energy accelerated

Saudi Arabia is working to finalize key agreements with four countries, including the United States, on the peaceful use of nuclear power.
The nuclear cooperation accords currently under discussion would give a major boost to bilateral cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. The four countries already hold leading positions globally, Mohammed bin Ahmed Garwan, an atomic energy team leader at the Riyadh-based King Abdullah City for Atomic & Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE), said here Monday.
While making a presentation on “a sustainable energy mix for Saudi Arabia” at the first roadshow featuring cooperation between the Kingdom and South Korea, Garwan said: “The nuclear cooperation agreements are under discussion with the United Kingdom, Hungary and Russia, besides the US.” Saudi Arabia, he said, had already signed bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements with South Korea, France, China and Argentina.
The “Nuclear Value Chain Roadshow” was organized by a large number of South Korean companies led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) at the local Ritz Carlton Hotel here. The event was attended by top Saudi and South Korean officials, including Ambassador Jin-Soo Kim; Deputy Minister for Energy and Resources Kim Jundong; KEPCO President Hwan Elik Cho; KEPCO chief nuclear officer Hee-Yong Lee; and Ahmed M. Al-Sadhan, chief of international cooperation at K.A.CARE.
Referring to the goals to achieve a sustainable energy mix for Saudi Arabia, Garwan said that the current energy peak demand in Saudi Arabia would exceed 120GW by 2030. While stressing the need for offsetting fossil energy, he said the goal is to achieve a 50-percent rate of generation from nuclear and renewable sources by 2032. Saudi Arabia’s investment in renewable energy could help diversify an oil-centric economy, alleviating unemployment issues while creating additional value from their existing resources, he added.
In fact, the K.A.CARE’s Renewable Energy procurement program is among the largest of its kind, that will create 54GW of power generation capacity by 2032.
The program has strong underlying economic fundamentals given the value of saved oil and the development of the local value chain. The program is being assessed within the framework of the IAEA guidelines, he added.
Garwan said that the Kingdom had moved forward in terms of atomic power generation and the “the screening of potential sites” has been undertaken. “We believe that the small modular reactor market has a very large potential in the Kingdom and even in the Middle East and North Africa region,” said the Saudi atomic energy expert.
In such a situation, the Korean model has a lot to offer to the Kingdom, said KEPCO chief nuclear officer Lee during his presentation. He said that KEPCO, together with many other Korean companies, have potential to deliver various components to the Saudi market. Korea has gone far ahead in terms of installing nuclear power plants and generation.

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