South Korea to build Saudi nuclear power plants

Saudi Arabia and South Korea are to co-operate on nuclear power development, the two nations have announced.

At a meeting this week between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman (pictured), the countries signed a memorandum of understanding which included plans for the construction of at least two small- to medium-sized reactors in Saudi Arabia, with assistance from South Korean companies.

In a statement, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA CARE) said the MOU was “centred on mutual nuclear co-operation for peaceful uses” and covers “co-operative programmes under the umbrella of a Partnership the focus of which will be a Modular Integrated Units Reactor, plus building joint capacities of nuclear human resources as well as enhancement of academic research activities.”

A previous agreement between the two countries, signed in 2011, specified co-operation on nuclear R&D, construction and worker training.

In a related move this week, the state-owned Saudi Electricity Company announced that it had signed agreements with GE (for co-operation on power plant operation and maintenance), Korea Electric Power Corporation (for “mutual co-operation in the fields of research, development, training, electricity transmission, nuclear, and renewable energy generation and development of projects”), Doosan Heavy Industries (for “promoting mutual co-operation in the fields of training, development of power plants and renewable energy generation”) and the Export Bank of Korea (for a three-year loan of $3bn).

Saudi Arabia aims to add 17 GW of nuclear power capacity by 2032, from zero today.

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