Within the framework of the Agreement on Cooperation concluded on 30/3/1432 corresponding to 22 February 2011 between the Government of Saudi Arabia and the Government of the French Republic for the peaceful uses of nuclear power, Mr. Abdullah Ibn Abdulrahman Al-Hamoudi, Senior Advisor at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy and Mr. Pierre Abady , Executive Director of Radioactive Waste Management Department in the French Republic signed a Memorandum on Cooperation. The Memorandum aims at providing assistance to both sides to further improve the functions assigned to them in such areas as policy implementation, standards, directive regulations and guidelines in the field of radioactive waste management.
Mr. Al-Hamoudi has also signed another Memorandum of Understanding between King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy and the Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Institute in the French Republic. On the French side, the MOU was signed by Mr. Jacques Repussard , thee Director-General of the above institute. The MOU aims at the establishment of a far-reaching long term technical cooperation between the two countries. The net outcome of such a mutual cooperation would be sharing practices, experience and know-how which will ultimately lead to the protection of individuals, environment and future generations from onerous and harmful impacts of ionizing radiation in both countries. Hopefully, the envisaged cooperation will help improve the execution of the functions designated to both parties in fields such as policy implementation, criteria, standards, regulations , systems and guidelines governing and monitoring nuclear safety and radiation protection, environmental monitoring activities, transfers of nuclear fuel and radioactive material, as well as safeguards related to nuclear material and fuels, physical protection for nuclear installations and such other issued as related to the licensing of nuclear installations.
The event was concurrent with the current visit to the French Republic of His Royal Highness the Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense, Prince Mohammad ibn Salman. It is envisaged that the said Agreement will contribute further strengthening and enhancing the mutual relations which hopefully should prove to be to the best interest of both parties, economically and technically.
At the level of international arena, there are sixty-seven (67) new reactors now under construction, worldwide, most of which are in Asia and Eastern Europe. Energy demand forecasts indicate that the demand for nuclear energy is progressively increasing. The IAEA updated reference data for the period 2012-2030 indicate the world average demand for atomic energy will be 2.00 – 5.00%. The same source indicate further that the demand for nuclear energy in the Middle East and East Asia will average 10.4 – 14.7%.
The Saudi sagacious leadership, realizing that the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, while ensuring the safeguards related to radiation protection and nuclear security are factors of paramount importance for socio-economic development in the Kingdom, does encourage and motivate such a mutual cooperation in this field between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the French Republic. This mutually beneficial cooperation is no doubt an important venue for the support and enhancement of the ambitious program of the Kingdom aiming at the versification of energy resources in the Kingdom through the introduction of an integrated system the atomic energy in which will play such an active and essential role.