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Saudis, Emirates push nuclear power plans via UPI.com

Saudi Arabia is pressing ahead with its ambitious plans to develop nuclear power to meet rising electricity demand, and save oil for export.

“Unless action is taken, the kingdom could find it needs the oil price to be $320 a barrel by 2030 just to balance the budget,” the weekly, published in the United Arab Emirates, warned.

Nuclear power is seen as the solution. But, as MEED stressed, “time is of the essence.”

For one thing, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt, have no wish to lag any further behind Iran and Israel in developing nuclear technologies.

In 2010, the King Abdallah Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy, known as KAcare, was established to oversee the gulf state’s nuclear program under its president, Hashim bin Abdullah Yamani, who was accorded ministerial powers.

KAcare consultant Ibrahim Babelli said in 2010 it took 3.4 million barrels of oil equivalent a day — known as boe/d — to power electricity generation. This is expected to more than double by 2028 to 8.3 million boe/d.

The aim of the Saudis’ $100 billion nuclear program is to achieve an electricity output of 110 gigawatts by 2032.

The Financial Times reports that in 2009, the latest data available, Saudi electricity capacity was 52GW from 79 power stations.

At least 16 nuclear reactors, each costing around $7 billion, are planned, with the first producing by 2019.

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