Gulf petroleum exporter Saudi Arabia is setting up a nuclear and renewable energy organisation, the King Abdullah Nuclear and Renewable Energy City in Riyadh.

The authority will represent the country at the IAEA and draft a national nuclear policy. The country said it is planning to use nuclear power and renewables for industry, desalination and medicine, as well as agriculture and mining.

Its president has been named as Dr Hashem bin Abdullah Yamani.

An official statement said:

“The new scientific city will be established for the peaceful use of nuclear power and is to enable the Saudi kingdom to explore needs of the society and plans to meet these requirements in a carefully and thoroughly-studied manner that helps step up the development rate in the kingdom and accord it the information ability as per the the international conventions and treaties.”

Its neighbour the United Arab Emirates has been rapidly developing a civil nuclear power programme, and spent $20 billion bidding for four Korean APR-1400 reactors in December 2009.

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