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US Competes with Russia Over Saudi Nuclear Reactors

US Competes with Russia Over Saudi Nuclear Reactors

Wednesday, 28 February, 2018 - 14:30
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry delivers a speech during the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Austria, September 18, 2017.Ronald Zak/AP
Kuwait- Wael Mahdi
It seems that competition will be fierce on building Saudi nuclear reactors, in which the United States shows great interest after Russia has applied an official tender to build them.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry will travel to London to discuss the Saudi nuclear energy project with his Saudi counterparts, primarily Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih, reported Bloomberg on Tuesday. Perry scrapped a trip to New Delhi to accommodate meetings at the White House this week, creating an opening for him to lead an inter-agency delegation to London.

The administration is considering permitting Saudi Arabia to enrich and reprocess uranium as part of a deal that would allow Westinghouse Electric Co. and other American companies to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East kingdom.

Some American agreements with other countries have prohibited the enrichment and reprocessing of uranium in exchange for the use of nuclear technology, and that had scuttled negotiations for Saudi projects during the Obama administration.

Two weeks earlier, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak announced, during a joint news conference with his Saudi counterpart, that the state-owned nuclear company Rosatom had applied for a tender to construct two power plants in Saudi Arabia.

Media reports quoted a source from King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy as saying that the kingdom received tenders from five international companies from China, France, US, South Korea and Russia to carry out engineering and construction works of the two nuclear reactors.

Constructions are anticipated at the beginning of next year, with a joint funding from the Saudi government and the executing company. The two reactors are expected to have a capacity of 2.8 gigawatts

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