Saudi group to sign nuclear/solar deal with Areva

KSA aims to meet increasing demand and reduce fossil fuel dependence.

French nuclear company Areva is set to enter the Saudi market.
French nuclear company Areva is set to enter the Saudi market.

Areva and the Saudi Binladin Group are set to sign an agreement on developing nuclear and solar power in the Kingdom, so reducing the dependence on fossil fuels in the race to increase power generation capacity to meet spiraling demand.

Anne Lauvergeon, chief executive of the French nuclear reactor company, told reporters that Areva will sign a partnership agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Binladin Group for nuclear and solar energy, writes Reuters. She declined to give details of the deal.

“We think that on solar thermal in Saudi Arabia there’s an important market and we are partnering with Saudi Binladin Group to develop this,” Lauvergeon said.

A top Saudi official told the Reuters that the deal will benefit the country, which holds the biggest fossil fuel reserves, but is struggling to match power supply with demand.

“Nuclear and renewable energy will reduce dependence on fossil fuels by 2050,” Hashim Yamani, president of the King Abdullah Atomic and Renewable Energy City, said.

He added that nuclear and renewable energy would free up more oil for exports.

“Saudi will need to invest upfront in nuclear energy, but the oil saved will contribute significantly to the costs.”

Total power demand in the Saudi kingdom is expected to triple to 120GW by 2050 from around 40 gigawatts in 2010, said Yamani.
In 2010, Saudi consumed 3.4 million barrels per day of oil equivalent, Yamani said, but declined to comment on when the first nuclear power plant would be built.


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