IAEA Director General visits Saudi Arabia

19 December 2023

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, during a visit to Saudi Arabia, met with Minister of Energy Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud as well as the Saudi regulator and a wide range of other organisations. “The Kingdom has taken a very wise decision to add nuclear power to the options in this integrated energy mix,” Grossi said. “We have greatly intensified our cooperation in the past few years because of the faster pace with which Saudi Arabia is preparing itself for the introduction of nuclear power.”

Grossi also visited the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), the Nuclear & Radiological Regulatory Commission (NRRC) headquarters, the NRRC laboratories and its nuclear and radiological Emergency Preparedness Centre.

“I am very impressed by the degree of professionalism I see in the Saudi nuclear sector,” he said. “I see a wide panoply of institutions that work very well together and that have a clear way forward, and my impressions are indeed very positive.”

He also visited the Low Power Research Reactor at the King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology (KACST). The reactor, which is not yet in operation, will provide technical experience and training opportunities for nuclear scientists and engineers. Grossi underlined the essential role of this facility – the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia -- in preparing for the nuclear power programme.

“Saudi Arabia is at the doorsteps of nuclear operation starting with the research reactor and later with bigger facilities,” he said.” The workforce here, the professionals, the women and men that work in the Saudi nuclear sector are perfectly prepared to look toward this new chapter in the life of the Kingdom.”

Saudi Arabia has sought the IAEA’s advice and invited multiple IAEA review and advisory missions on nuclear safety and nuclear power programme development. “We have a programme of certain milestones that need to be followed and all of this is being applied here,” Grossi said. “When the time comes, you will know that this was done in a very systematic, orderly way. I am very satisfied.”

Image: Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi (left) met with Minister of Energy Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud during his visit to Saudi Arabia (courtesy of IAEA)

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