Saudi agrees nuclear energy deal with China

Move comes as kingdom plans to build up to 16 nuclear power reactors by 2030
Saudi agrees nuclear energy deal with China
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was in Saudi Arabia as part of a trip to the Middle East
By Reuters
Mon 16 Jan 2012 06:40 PM

Saudi Arabia has agreed to cooperate with China on the civilian use of nuclear energy as part of a package of deals the world's most populous country signed over the weekend to strengthen ties with the top oil exporter, Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

SPA did not provide further details on the nuclear cooperation agreement which was signed on Sunday by Hashim Yamani, president of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) and Zhang Ping, chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

It follows similar agreements signed with France, Argentina and South Korea and the kingdom has held talks with Russia, the Czech Republic, Britain and the United States over increasing cooperation in the nuclear energy field.

Saudi Arabia, which sits on the world's biggest oil reserves, is looking to diversify its energy mix with solar and nuclear to reduce fossil fuel burning for power generation, demand for which is expected to triple by 2032.

It may build up to 16 nuclear power reactors by 2030, an official at KACare said last year.

China has one of the world's largest nuclear power plant building programmes, with several reactors already under construction.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was in Riyadh as part of a tour of the Middle East amid mounting US pressure on Asian consumers to tightening economic sanctions against Iran.

Wen was in the UAE on Monday and is expected to fly to Qatar later this week.

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