Saudia Arabia to Build Nuclear, Renewable Energy Center
April 19, 2010
According to the Associated Foreign Press, oil giant Saudi Arabia has announced a new center for nuclear and alternative energy technologies. Former commerce minister Hashem bin Abdullah Yamani was named to head the King Abdullah City for Nuclear and Renewable Energies, to be built in Riyadh, said an announcement on the official SPA news agency. The government said the center would undertake research and develop projects in nuclear and alternative energies toward the goal of diversifying the kingdom''s power generation away from oil and natural gas. The latest move confirmed its interest in nuclear energy. The new entity is to draft a national policy on nuclear energy development and supervise all commercial use of nuclear power and the handling of radioactive waste, the announcement said. It pointed to high growth in demand for electricity from Saudi Arabia''s mainly oil- and natural gas-fired power plants, especially for energy-intensive water desalination projects. "The use of alternative sources of sustainable and reliable electricity and desalinated water production reduces the reliance on hydrocarbon resources, and thus provides an additional guarantee for the production of water and electricity in the future," it said. In January the government announced a project for a solar power-fueled desalination plant in the Gulf coast city of Al-Khafji that could produce 30,000 cubic meters of fresh water daily from seawater. The second phase of the project would expand the capacity ten-fold.