Utilities Middle East – August 2019

(Kiana) #1

absence of fresh-water sources.
Compared with traditional nuclear reac-
tors, the advanced ones can off er reduced
construction time and costs, and a wider
variety of sizes and outputs for diff erent loca-
tions and applications.
“Besides emission-free electricity gener-
a t i o n , t h e y m a y h e l p i n d e s a l i n a t i o n o f s e a
water, which could provide a new source of
fresh water to areas in need,” Bernhard said.
“A general benefi t of nuclear energy is its
potential role in producing carbon-dioxide
emission-free electricity for a number of pur-
poses. For the foreseeable future, renewable

partly from advanced reactors.”
The economic case for countries to
i n v e s t i n c i v i l n u c l e a r r e a c t o r s a s p a r t o f a
mix of alternative energy sources is com-
A case in point is Saudi Arabia. Among the
many goals of its Vision 2030 is a reduction
in dependency on oil revenues. To this end,
the government has set ambitious goals for
renewables, such as 9.5 gigawatts of solar
and wind power by 2023.
According to Lady Barbara Judge, former
h e a d o f t h e U K A t o m i c E n e r g y A u t h o r i t y,
advanced nuclear reactors are modern,
s a fer, sma l ler, more conven ient a nd com-
pact. So, “if a country like Saudi Arabia is
starting a nuclear program, it might as well
start with the best new technology on the
market because that’s a great advantage,”
s h e t o l d A r a b N e w s. “ S a u d i A r a b i a s t a r t s w i t h
a clean slate and it’s a very fortunate position
to be in.”
With their nuclear-export strategy linked
to their geopolitical ambitions, Russia and
China have an advantage in the development
o f a d v a n c e d r e a c t o r s t h a n k s t o s t a t e fi nan-
cial backing.

These reactors will generally have various advan-

tages — they are smaller and more flexible than tradi-

tional reactors, which means inter alia that in many

countries, including Saudi Arabia, they can be deployed

in remote and arid areas.”

John Bernhard, Partnership for Global Security


40% - Percentage of Saudi
Arabia’s electricity produced by
burning oil in 2016

9% - Percentage of electricity
used by Kingdom for desalina-
tion of sea water

9.5 giga wattes - Saudi
Arabia’s combined target in gi-
gawatts of solar and wind power
by 2023

40% - Percentage rise
expected in Saudi electricity de-
mand between 2019 and 2030

2x - Fuel burned by Saudi Elec-
tricity Company during summer
months as during the rest of the

energy sources like wind and sun will proba-
bly not be able to deliver the output needed,
such as in industrial development.”
Nuclear-energy experts say advanced
reactors off er interesting new possibilities,
especially for nuclear newcomers such as
Saudi Arabia.
“From a climate-change standpoint,
this may be a valuable contribution to the
achievement of the Paris Agreement goals
from some of the biggest oil-producing coun-
tries,” Bernhard said. “I would expect that
for various reasons, several Gulf states will
be interested in including nuclear energy,

http://www.utilities-me.com August 2019 / Utilities Middle East 11


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