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Mon 7 Sep 2015 11:28 AM

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Saudi and Russia agree nuclear energy tie-up

Kingdom reportedly plans to build 16 nuclear power plants in the next 25 years

Saudi and Russia agree nuclear energy tie-up

Russia and Saudi Arabia have signed an agreement to work together on “peaceful” nuclear energy projects, according to local media.

The kingdom intends to form a committee with Russia to implement mutually beneficial nuclear energy schemes, the Saudi Gazette reported, citing Arabic daily Al Watan.

It quoted Nikolai Drozdov, international projects director at Rosatum State Nuclear Energy Cooperation, as saying: “We are interested in projects that will benefit Russia and Saudi Arabia.

“The agreement [with Saudi Arabia] includes expansion in the field of nuclear fuel, establishment of desalination plants, exploring the interdisciplinary fields of nuclear energy and other domains such as medicine and agriculture and training sessions between the two countries.”

A particular goal for Saudi is to use nuclear energy to solve electricity and water shortages in the country. It plans to establish 16 nuclear power plants across the country within the next 25 years, Drozdov said, but must first build the necessary infrastructure.

“[Saudi] plans to meet at least 20 percent of its electricity needs from nuclear power generated in the kingdom. The nuclear power projects will empower the Saudi economy as generating energy will become more proficient,” Drozdov said.

“Considering the lack of infrastructure in the Kingdom, its goal is quite ambitious. However, there is a great need for Saudi Arabia to establish nuclear power plants,”

Russia is already working with Egypt to establish water desalination plants and proposes a similar cooperation agreement on nuclear projects with the Saudis, Drozdov said.

He added Russia intends to host a conference this year showcasing Russian scientists’ 70 years of research in the field of nuclear energy. “The conference will be held this year and showcase project opportunities Russian scientists can offer to the Saudi market.”

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