China Nuclear Energy Engineering Group (CNEC) president Jun Gu met with Walid bin Hussein Abu al-Faraj, vice-president of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE), on 15 May to discuss the feasibility of building high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) in Saudi Arabia. A joint working group aims to complete the feasibility study report later this year. Al-Faraj said he hopes the study will be a starting point to accelerate full cooperation between Saudi Arabia and China on the HTGR supply chain and to begin the Saudi HTGR project "as soon as possible".
The first meeting of the joint working group, which marked the start of the feasibility study, was attended by some 40 experts from Saudi Arabia and China, including from Tsinghua University's Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology. CNEC said China will fully share with Saudi Arabia its experience in developing and constructing HTGRs and will assist with training plant operators and in supply chain localisation. China and Saudi Arabia signed a cooperation agreement for the joint study in March. A demonstration HTR-PM unit under construction at Shidaowan near Weihai city in China's Shandong province is scheduled to start commercial operation later this year.