Saudi Arabia has decided to set up a nuclear city that would use atomic energy for peaceful purposes, especially in industry, agriculture, mining, desalination and medical field.
A royal decree issued by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz said the King Abdullah Nuclear and Renewable Energy City will be set up in Riyadh, the capital of the kingdom.
“The development of atomic energy is essential to meet the Kingdom’s growing requirements for energy to generate electricity, produce desalinated water and reduce reliance on depleting hydrocarbon resources,” it said.
Electricity power demand in the Kingdom grew by eight per cent last year and is expected to grow more than 60,000 Megawatt by 2020.
The decree said nuclear and renewable energies would ensure continued supplies of drinking water and electricity to Kingdom’s growing population and save hydrocarbon resources such as petroleum and gas for use by future generations, thus making them a source of income for a longer period.
A supreme council chaired by King Abdullah has been set up to supervise the city. Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defence and aviation, is the deputy chairman of the council.
Second Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Prince Naif is a member of the 13-member council.
“The peaceful use of nuclear energy will enable the state to meet the requirements of society through proper planning,” an official statement said. It said the new city would serve as a scientific and specialized authority to draft and implement national policies relating to nuclear and renewable energy, and revise related regulations.
The decision was based on the recommendation of a ministerial committee chaired by Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal. The city will encourage the private sector to develop research material on medical, agricultural, industrial and mineral products, generate electricity and produce desalinated water using atomic energy.
It will also work to enhance the capabilities of the national cadre in the field. “The city will be exempted from all taxes and tariffs on its machinery and equipment that it imports for its scientific activities,” it said.