A senior US official has confirmed that Washington is in talks with Riyadh about supporting Saudi Arabia’s planned nuclear programme. Speaking in Abu Dhabi in October, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry Perry confirmed that talks were ongoing. Perry told the forum that Saudi Arabia’s leadership in Riyadh wanted to sign a ‘123 Agreement’ with the United States. A 123 Agreement is section of the US’ Atomic Energy Act of 1954 that sets out rules governing US nuclear cooperation with other nations.
Under the terms of a 123 Agreement, Riyadh must sign an accord with Washington committing to the peaceful use of nuclear technology before US companies can compete for its nuclear energy projects in Saudi Arabia. The US has an existing 123 agreement with 48 countries to date, according to the news agency MEED. Riyadh is reported to have been unwilling to commit to a deal that would rule out the possibility of enriching uranium or reprocessing spent fuel.
In November 2018, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah City for Atomic & Renewable Energy (KA-Care), the body overseeing the kingdom’s nuclear energy plans, appointed Australia’s WorleyParsons to the project management office consultancy role for the programme.
WorleyParsons will provide consultancy services including project governance, resource management, project services, training and compliance across the full scope of the large nuclear power plant (LNPP), small modular reactors and nuclear fuel cycle. WorleyParsons previously completed the LNPP site selection study for KA-Care.
Riyadh is planning to develop nuclear power through a three-pronged strategy. The majority of the nuclear power capacity will be developed through conventional large-scale nuclear facilities, the first of which will be a two-reactor 2.8GW plant.
South Korea and Saudi Arabia have already invested more than SR487m ($129.8m) in plans for Smart nuclear reactors across the kingdom. Riyadh signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Korea in November 2016 to develop the technology. The Smart reactors are expected to have a capacity of about 100MW each.
Source: Power Technology