French companies AREVA and EDF have signed a cooperation agreement with the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Bahrah with the aim of contributing to the development of technical nuclear skills in Saudi Arabia.

The agreement will contribute to the training of Saudi technicians in various nuclear specialties, including welding, electrical installation, mechanics and electro-mechanics, according to a joint-statement.

Saudi Arabia plans 18 GW of nuclear capacity by 2030, according to a recent presentation by Khalid Al-Sulaiman, vice president for renewable energy. First nuclear concrete is scheduled to be poured in early 2016, with Saudi Arabia’s first three reactors targeted to come online in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

A vendor shortlist is expected to be released in 2013.