CNEC to bring nuclear power to Saudi Arabia
ChinaNuclear Engineering Group Corp signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to develop its homegrown fourth-generation nuclear technology in the oilrichMiddle East country.
Gu Jun, president and general manager of CNEC, said the agreement was a major step toward the export of high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, an indigenous nuclear technology jointly developed by CNEC and Tsinghua University.
He made the remarks during a ceremony in Beijing held by the Fuzhou New Economic Area, in which theChinese company plans to invest nearly 16.3 billion yuan ($2.48 billion) to build a nuclear manufacturing equipment industrial cluster and a production base for nuclear graphite, a key material used in high-temperature gas-cooled reactors.
“The timing is right for the export of such a type of nuclear reactor,” CNEC said in a statement.
About 95 percent of the high-temperature reactor, which uses a graphite-moderated core with a uranium fuel cycle to generate heat with less radioactive effect and higher efficiency, can be manufactured domestically, apart from the nuclear graphite, which relies largely on imports.
Experts said despite Saudi Arabia being a fossil-fuel rich country, the country still needs to meet demand from growing energy consumption.
plants with a design life of more than 40 years cannot only provide energy security but also have the potential to resolve growing emissions concerns in theMiddle East,” said Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University.
Saudi Arabia hopes to build 16 reactors by 2032 to meet its growing energy demand, involving a total investment of more than $80 billion. Its first reactor is likely to go on line in 2022, earlier reports said.
CNEC said it is also targeting other foreign markets including South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
It said that the agreement with Saudi Arabia will bring other possibilities for nuclear cooperation between China and other partners along the Belt and Road Initiative, which includes more than 60 economies along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
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