Reactor vendors are lining up to pursue potential contracts in Saudi Arabia's fledgling nuclear power program, with the announcement of two separate memoranda of understanding both involving the nuclear operational expertise of Exelon.
One of the agreements sees Toshiba, Westinghouse and Exelon Nuclear Partners (ENP) join together to work on proposals for the construction of nuclear power plants in the Middle Eastern country, while another sees GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy joining forces with ENP to discuss the feasibility of further collaboration.
Saudi Arabia relies almost entirely on oil and gas for its power generation, but is aiming to reduce its dependence on hydrocarbon energy sources. With plans to build 16 reactors for water desalination as well as electricity generation over the next two decades, nuclear energy is very much at the heart of its strategy.
Exelon's 35,000 MWe of owned generation capacity includes over 19,000 MWe of nuclear, making it the largest nuclear generator in the USA.
GE Hitachi has agreed to work with ENP to look at the feasibility of providing its advanced boiling water (BWR) technology, engineering, procurement and project management expertise, alongside Exelon's experience in operational and other services. The company points out that its Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) and Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) designs are already under evaluation by the King Adbdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE), the government body charged with pushing ahead Saudi Arabia's nuclear program.
Meanwhile, the memorandum signed by Toshiba, Westinghouse and ENP will see Toshiba and Westinghouse provide the nuclear expertise related to their advanced reactors - Toshiba's ABWR and Westinghouse's AP1000 - with ENP providing operations and associated services. The new partnership is setting its sights on winning multiple orders for nuclear power plants.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News