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Saudi Arabia to award construction contracts for its first nuclear reactors

Saudi Arabia is joining a regional shift towards nuclear power for domestic energy needs [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 October, 2017

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Saudi Arabia says construction contracts for the kingdom's first-ever nuclear reactors will be signed by the end of 2018.

Saudi Arabia is preparing to award a construction contract for its first-ever nuclear reactors, a top government official cited by Reuters said on Tuesday.

The contracts are expected to be awarded by the end of 2018.

"With sponsorship from the highest levels in the state, the contract will be signed by the end of 2018," Reuters quoted Maher al Odan, chief atomic energy officer of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, as saying at a press conference in Riyadh.

Riyadh's move towards nuclear power comes amid a broader regional drive towards renewable energy, as Middle Eastern states attempt to secure their energy needs through alternative sources.

Nearby in the United Arab Emirates, a South Korean consortium is seeing through the construction of four commercial nuclear reactors.

The first unit is expected to be completed this year.

In Jordan, plans are also underway to build two nuclear power units that will deliver almost half of the country's electricity needs by 2025.

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