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Saudi Arabia has plans to build 16 nuclear reactors by 2030 with a combined capacity of 22GW at an estimated to cost of more than US$100bn
Abdul Ghani bin Melaibari, coordinator of scientific collaboration at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, confirmed the plan recently adding that the first two reactors will be ready within 10 years.
Melaibari, however, pointed out the cost building nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia will be comparatively higher than other countries because of its extreme climate. He also stressed on the need to train the Saudi Arabian youth to operate and maintain such plants.
Melaibari added that the cost of building and operating nuclear plants in France, Russia, South Korea and Japan differs from one country to another, depending on the technology adopted, infrastructure facilities in place and the availability of cheap manpower.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbours have been increasingly considering nuclear power as a way of meeting the rising electricity demand while reducing reliance on polluting fossil fuels.
Melaibari told Arab News, “After 10 years, we will have the first two reactors. After that, every year we will establish two reactors, until we have 16 by 2030. We would like to cover 20 per cent of electricity needs using nuclear energy.”
Melaibari estimated the cost of each reactor to be around US$7bn, adding that Saudi Arabia has been in the process of concluding deals with specialised companies to implement the project.