Saudi Arabia wants to meet rapidly rising power demand by using nuclear reactors

Saudi plans to build 16 nuclear reactors by 2030

Saudi Arabia plans to build 16 nuclear power reactors costing over $100 billion by 2030, a Saudi newspaper has reported.

Saudi Arabia is the world's top exporter of crude oil but is struggling to meet its increasing domestic power demand, and is considering boosting energy capacity by using nuclear reactors.

"After 10 years we will have the first two reactors," Abdul Ghani bin Melaibari, coordinator of scientific collaboration at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, told Arab News.

Many have backed away from atomic plans after the accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant but oil-rich Gulf states are among the few countries looking to make major investments in nuclear power plants.

"After that, every year we will establish two, until we have 16 of them by 2030," he said.

He estimated the cost of each reactor to be around $7 billion, adding that Saudi Arabia is in the process of planning for the nuclear project and coordination with specialized companies.

The country plans to cover 20 per cent of its electricity needs using nuclear energy, as domestic power demand is estimated to grow seven to eight per cent during the next 10 years.

Neighbouring United Arab Emirates awarded a South Korean consortium a contract in 2009 to build four nuclear power plants worth $20.4 billion.

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