The push for nuclear power in Saudi Arabia’s future energy mix is set to get a boost next month when the Kingdom launches the tender process for its first nuclear reactors.
Saudi Arabia is expected to reach out to potential vendors from countries including South Korea, France and China, according to a Reuters report, quoting industry sources.
The sources added that construction on two plants with a total capacity of up to 2.8 gigawatts is expected to start next year.
This will make it the second country in the Arab world to tap nuclear power as a way to diversify its energy supply for its 32 million population. The UAE’s first plant is expected to come online next year after delays.
While a possible multi-billion-dollar Saudi tender would be smaller than those being considered in India and South Africa, Saudi Arabia’s deep pockets and the lack of any anti-nuclear movement in the country could make it one of the strongest prospects for an industry struggling for contracts following the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, according to Reuters.
“Competition will be fierce,” an industry source said, adding Saudi Arabia was expected to send a Request for Information (RFI) to suppliers in October, marking the official start of the tender process following feasibility studies.