Russia, Saudi Arabia Sign Accord On Nuclear Power Cooperation

Russia and Saudi Arabia have announced an agreement that allows for cooperation in the use of nuclear energy for producing electricity in the country that is famous for its oil exports capacity.

Saudi Arabia mapIn yet another signal that the Middle East is concerned about the longevity of its oil export business and is growing as a nuclear power market, the two countries signed the agreements in Russia at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that allow for construction of nuclear power reactors, which would be a first for Saudi Arabia, and for various supportive endeavors, such as transportation and use of nuclear fuel, handling of radioactive waste, production of radioisotopes and nuclear energy applications in medicine, industry and agriculture.

"It is planned to exchange of experts, scientific and technological information, organization of seminars, symposiums, cooperation in the preparation of scientific and technical personnel. All this became possible for the first time in the history of Russian-Saudi relations," it was announced in a joint statement.

The document was signed by the general director of the state corporation ROSATOM Sergey Kiriyenko and president of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) Hashim Abdullah Yamani.

But the big prize for Russia is the potential for as much as $80 billion in nuclear construction build projects in the foreseeable future – and perhaps more. Last week, In 2012, Saudi Arabia made known its intention to develop nuclear power capacity of 17GW by 2032, while building up a solar power capacity by 41GW.

Last week, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia had plans to build “more than one reactor,” at least. “It is possible that we will build 16 reactors,” he said.

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