France eyes Saudi nuclear reactor sales via Al Arabiya news

A top French minister and the chief executives of French utility EDF and reactor builder Areva are visiting Saudi Arabia this weekend to build a case for selling French nuclear reactors to the oil-rich country.

Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg will meet with Saudi officials and with representatives of EDF and Areva, who opened a joint office in Riyadh six months ago to lay the groundwork for a French nuclear offer.

Montebourg will build on a November 4 visit by French President Francois Hollande to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and a 2011 agreement between France and Saudi Arabia that offered the Saudis atomic know-how and training for local staff.

The kingdom has not yet launched a formal tender offer but is widely expected to do so, and nuclear equipment vendors worldwide are gearing up for when it does.

“We are still in a very early stage of the game in Saudi Arabia,” an EDF spokeswoman told Reuters.

Eager to reduce domestic consumption of oil and diversify its energy mix, Saudi Arabia is considering building 17 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2032, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) says on its website.

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