Saudi Arabia has established a holding company to develop nuclear power projects in the Kingdom, local newspaper Saudi Okaz reported on 12 March. The newspaper quoted the Saudi ambassador to Austria and permanent representative to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Sultan, saying that the the Saudi Nuclear Energy Holding Company (SNEHC) would participate in nuclear economic projects locally and internationally. It aimed to develop nuclear power plants to produce electricity, desalinate seawater, and for thermal energy applications.
The new firm, therefore, appears to combine the functions of a conventional nuclear electric utility, its financing arm, and possible export functions. It suggests that the Saudi government is moving forward with its plans to build at least two and possibly a total fleet of 16 full size light water reactors.
Prince Abdullah said the Kingdom is working on a framework programme for nuclear energy during 2022-2027, which includes capacity building and collaboration with international institutes for research and development.
The King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), which is headed by the Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, describes the nuclear holding company on its website as “an independent legal entity to follow up and achieve the commercial interests of the National Atomic Energy Project in the Kingdom by participating and investing in projects and assets of economic feasibility locally and globally, in addition to developing, owning and operating nuclear assets for the production of electric power and desalination of saline water through companies. affiliated or jointly established”.
It adds: “The company represents an important component in localizing technology, building human capabilities in the nuclear industry, and enhancing local content according to performance indicators and standards set by the city.” Its objectives include, but are not limited to:
- Possessing an independent legal legl capacity that enables it to conduct business for the National Atomic Energy Project in the Kingdom.
- Building a financing pool to obtain the necessary financing for the project.
- Working as a strategic partner with private investors and technology suppliers targeted in the National Atomic Energy Project.