The Kingdom is currently developing and implementing national plans to enable nuclear energy to contribute in the national energy mix in order to meet the national development requirements making the nuclear energy part of the power sector integration to ensure that the Kingdom remains a pioneer and effective in the energy field as part of Kingdom's Vision 2030 targets. One of the essential benefits of introducing atomic energy to the Kingdom is the diversity of energy sources instead of the complete reliance on oil and its products for power production, which will maximize the utilization of oil resources over time for future generations.
Nuclear energy will also contribute in generating electricity and addressing the water scarcity by expanding its uses for the desalination of salty water, which will have an impact on citizens and several sectors in the Kingdom. Including agriculture and industry fields, and the creation of new and broad job opportunities with an advanced technical nature. The Saudi National Atomic Energy Project (SNAEP) is entirely consistent with the Kingdom's international obligations and its national policy in adopting peaceful nuclear technologies for energy development and production. SNAEP includes works, activities, and projects that are being implemented in an integrated manner according to the following summary : -
Nuclear energy has a specific feature on the other energy sources in terms of national obligations towards society, environment, and the international community concerning security, safety, and non-proliferation safeguards. The preceding results in need for a “national nuclear infrastructure" for atomic energy that enables the Kingdom to implement nuclear energy projects successfully while ensuring the fulfillment with all requirements and obligations. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has developed an integrated methodology that allows countries to introduce atomic energy into their national energy mix that covers all necessary infrastructure aspects. This methodology is known as the Milestones Approach. It identified 19 issues or aspects of the required infrastructure, which is developed through 3 phases, each phase ends with a main milestone.
In this context, K.A.CARE, since its establishment, has developed infrastructure aspects according to the methodology of IAEA. K.A.CAE hosted an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) carried out by the Agency back in 2018. In light of the results and recommendations of the INIR Mission, K.A.CARE is currently implementing these recommendations and working on completing all aspects of the infrastructure related to the second phase in preparation to launch the request for proposals for building the first nuclear plant in the Kingdom.
K.A.CARE conducts technical studies to identify, prepare sites and infrastructure to build the first two reactors nuclear power plant in the Kingdom. K.A.CARE has ensured that these studies are incompliance with Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Commission (NRRC) requirements and are consistent with the latest standards derived from the IAEA's guidelines and recommendations. According to these criteria, the methodology for selecting sites takes place in gradual stages, and extent in-depth study covering various technical characteristics of the sites, leading to the nomination of the best ones for building the 1st nuclear power plant. In this context, K.A.CARE has adopted a methodology for conducting site studies in three phases, including:
1- Survey, review, and inspect sites phase.
2- Classification and site selection phase.
3 Evaluating sites through the field study of the technical characteristics phase.
K.A.CARE completed the first and second phases in 2013 and is currently carrying out the third and final phase, identifying and configuring the nuclear plant site process. A specialized global consulting company is currently implementing a project to study the technical and engineering characteristics of the sites nominated for the 1st nuclear power plant in the Kingdom . In addition to the site characteristics reports, the project outputs include the Site Evaluation Report (SER), the initial Safety Analysis Report (SAR), and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on which the NRRC will rely on issuing a site license and construction license for the 1st nuclear power plant in the Kingdom. The project outcomes also include site-specific engineering information to be used in developing the plant's engineering designs.
The Kingdom has approved the light Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) as an ideal option for the power reactors. Within the framework of the ongoing works to implement the construction of the first nuclear plant, K.A.CARE has done the following: -
- Preliminary technical study for engineering designs to prepare the construction of the first nuclear plant in the Kingdom. K.A.CARE is working on developing a detailed construction plan and formulating an appropriate mechanism for evaluating and selecting the awarded technology supplier. These preliminary studies aim to achieve the following objectives:
K.A.CARE has worked on establishing the Saudi Nuclear Energy Holding Company (SNEHC) as an independent legal entity to follow up and achieve the commercial interests of the SNAEP via participating and investing in projects and assets with a local and international economic viability. In addition to develop, own, and operate nuclear assets through affiliate or jointly established companies to produce electricity and desalination of saltwater. The company represents an essential component in technology localization building human capabilities, and enhancing local content according to K.A.CARE's performance indicators and standards. The company's objectives include, but not limited to: