Saudi Arabia cabinet approves national atomic policy

Saudi Arabia's cabinet on Tuesday approved the national policy of its atomic energy programme, state media said, as the kingdom prepares to award contracts for its first nuclear power plants.

Published: 13th March 2018 09:06 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th March 2018 09:06 PM   |  A+A-

By AFP

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's cabinet on Tuesday approved the national policy of its atomic energy programme, state media said, as the kingdom prepares to award contracts for its first nuclear power plants.

The policy insists on limiting nuclear activities to peaceful purposes and calls for enhanced safety measures as well as the use of best practices for radioactive waste management, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, is seeking nuclear power to diversify its energy supply mix in order to free up oil to boost exports.

The policy announcement comes ahead of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit to the United States on March 19-22, which is likely to see efforts to reach a civilian nuclear cooperation accord with Washington.

The kingdom has accelerated plans to build 16 nuclear reactors over the next two decades, officials and analysts say, at a cost of some $80 billion.

Negotiations are underway with the United States for its agreement to export technology needed for their construction.

Besides the US company Westinghouse, Russian, French, Chinese and South Korean firms have all been seeking the Saudi contracts.

Some analysts have voiced concerns that Saudi Arabia seeks to use its atomic programme as a hedge against its arch-rival Iran, which signed a deal with the United States in 2015 to curb its own nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

Saudi Arabia, which insists its intentions are peaceful, has signed cooperation agreements with over a dozen countries in recent years to boost nuclear cooperation, including France, China and Russia.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.