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Saudi hosts IAEA for review of nuclear plans

Saudi Arabia’s nuclear energy organisation is hosting a delegation from the intergovernmental International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for a 10-day review of its nuclear plans

The review comes as the kingdom pursues the building of at least two nuclear plants to help diversify its energy mix. It has been in talks with firms from South Korea, the US, Russia and China regarding the project.

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy said it would host the IAEA delegation from July 15 to 24.

The assessment period is intended to promote transparency and allow an “integrated and comprehensive assessment” in the presence of international experts, according to state-run Saudi Press Agency.

It will also provide an opportunity for member states “to assess the atomic energy infrastructure, focus on areas requiring further work and improvement in the atomic energy infrastructure, establish a forum for expert discussions and exchange experiences related to infrastructure development”.

At the end of the visit, the IAEA will make recommendations and proposals to develop the kingdom’s nuclear infrastructure.

Industry specialists estimate the deal for Saudi Arabia’s two reactors could be worth around $12bn, according to Reuters.

This is based on the $24.4bn total cost for the only other nuclear project in the six-nation GCC, comprising four reactors at the UAE’s Barakah.

That project, awarded to a South Korean consortium led by KEPCO in 2009, has been hit by delays with the first reactor now expected to come online at the end of 2019 or early 2020.

Saudi has said it could build 17.6GW of nuclear capacity by 2032, equivalent to 17 reactors.

Source: Gulf Business