Assystem to assess potential Saudi sites

04 July 2018

French engineering group Assystem is to conduct site characterisation and impact studies for Saudi Arabia's first nuclear power plant under a contract from the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE). The contract was awarded recently following an international call for tenders launched by KA-CARE.

Assystem said the services to be provided under the contract include site characterisation studies - including geological and seismic analyses - as well as studies on the impact of a nuclear power plant on the environment, demographics and on electricity grids. These services will be provided over an 18-month period.

"These characterisations and impact studies enable choice of the most suitable site on which to build the first Saudi nuclear power plant," Assystem said yesterday. "They will also provide important technical details for the purpose of designing the right nuclear power plant technology, based on site specifications."

Assystem said it won the contract "thanks to synergies it can leverage between its long-standing expertise in the nuclear sector, its specific skills in site characterisation provided by its Turkey-based subsidiary Assystem Envy, and its local knowledge obtained through its Saudi-based subsidiary Assystem Radicon". Envy was previously awarded a contract to conduct site characterisation work for Turkey's first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu. Assystem said Envy will also provide the same services to Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom "for the start-up of a similar programme in Egypt".

In July 2017, the Saudi government announced that it intends to add nuclear power to the country's energy mix with the objective of diversifying and boosting its production capacity. KA-CARE announced last year that it was soliciting proposals for 2.9 GWe nuclear capacity from South Korea, China, Russia and Japan.

Saudi Arabia earlier announced plans to construct 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 years. A 2010 royal decree identified nuclear power as essential to help meet growing energy demand for both electricity generation and water desalination while reducing reliance on depleting hydrocarbon resources.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News