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Saudi Arabia to set up civil nuclear energy centre

  • 14 years ago (2010-04-19)
  • David Flin
Middle East 317 North America 1004 Nuclear 644

Saudi Arabia is due to establish a civil nuclear and renewable energy centre to help meet demand for power as it pushes forward with economic expansion plans. According to reports from the Saudi press agency, the King Abdullah Centre for Nuclear and Renewable Energy would be based in Riyadh and be led by Hashim Abdullah Yamani, a former commerce and trade minister.

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The announcement puts Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, alongside Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar and the UAE as Arab states seeking to develop nuclear energy for civil use.

Saudi officials are said to be alarmed by rising domestic oil and gas consumption. The country faced “sustained growth in demand for power and desalinated water due to high population growth and subsidised prices of water and power,” the news agency said. Saudi Arabia subsidises energy for domestic, industrial and agricultural use. Although the market price of oil averaged around $70 a barrel last year, the government sells oil for domestic use at $5 a barrel.