Saudi Arabia plans to invite bids for nuclear plants in 2020
Kingdom is in talks with bidders and the US, which fears it will use the technology to develop military capacity
Dubai/Riyadh/Paris — Saudi Arabia plans to issue a multibillion-dollar tender in 2020 to construct its first two nuclear power reactors and is discussing the project with US and other potential suppliers, three sources familiar with the plans said. The world’s top oil exporter wants to diversify its energy mix, adding nuclear power so it can free up more crude oil for export. But the plans are facing Washington’s scrutiny because of potential military uses for the technology. Saudi Arabia, which aims to mine for uranium, says its plans are peaceful. But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in 2018 the kingdom would develop nuclear arms if Iran did.
US, Russian, South Korean, Chinese and French firms are in talks with Riyadh to supply reactors, a promising deal for an industry recovering from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. “Saudi Arabia is continuing to make very deliberate steps forward although at a slower pace than originally expected,” one of the sources familiar wit...