Russia and Saudi Arabia plan to develop and adopt a roadmap to deliver their joint nuclear power initiatives.
This follows from the minutes of the Russian-Saudi Intergovernmental Commission’s meeting held in Riyadh. According to the minutes, the plans are to involve Rosatom in the negotiations over the construction of a large-capacity nuclear power plant in Saudi Arabia. Other plans are to hold the second meeting of the Nuclear Power Coordination Committee, organize a visit of Saudi experts to Russian nuclear facilities and stage a seminar in Riyadh on Russian nuclear technology and solutions, including small and large capacity reactors.
In June 2015, Russia and Saudi Arabia signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement in Saint Petersburg. This document was the first in the history of the Saudi-Russian relations to create a legal framework for the two countries to cooperate across all sectors of the civil nuclear industry. The first meeting of the Nuclear Power Coordination Committee formed pursuant to the agreement was held in March 2016 in Riyadh. In early October, Rosatom and King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy signed a cooperation program for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The program provides for the cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia in several key areas, such as low and medium capacity reactors that can be used for both power generation and water desalination, nuclear infrastructure development for the Saudi national nuclear program, and human resources. Russia and Saudi Arabia will also consider the construction of a Nuclear Science and Technology Center based on a Russian-designed research reactor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
According to Rosatom’s Annual Report 2016, construction of two nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia is on the list of projects that can be started before 2030.
Earlier Saudi Arabia announced its plans, unprecedented for the region, to build 16 nuclear power reactors in the country to satisfy its power demand. In September, Rosatom’s CEO Alexei Likhachev told reporters on the margins of the IAEA General Conference in Vienna that the Russian nuclear corporation and its Saudi partners were negotiating a ‘broad range of prospects, from a large-capacity nuclear power plant with desalination facilities to low and medium capacity power sources, including floating nuclear plants’.