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Saudi Arabia signs nuclear cooperation agreement with South Korea

16/11/2011 02:54

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday signed with South Korea a nuclear cooperation agreement, which indicates the oil-rich kingdom's determination to gain access to this technology. This agreement was inked as the tension with nuclear weaponry in the Middle East is growing. It also comes a few months after Arab News reported that Saudi Arabia aims to construct, over the next two decades, 16 nuclear reactors with price tags of roughly $7 billion each.

Officials say the sole purpose is to meet Saudi Arabia’s growing demand for renewable energy sources. The agreement is aimed at establishing a “legal framework that strengthens scientific, technological and economic cooperation between the two nations, while reaffirming their desire to place the highest priority on nuclear safety and environmental protection,” an official at the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy said. He added, in his statement, that the deal was signed in Seoul.

Under its terms, the two countries will cooperate in the “design, construction, operation, maintenance and development of nuclear power plants.” the statement added.

He also added that the kingdom would launch an international invitation to tender for the reactors that would be used in power generation and desalination in the desert kingdom.

Even though the officials from both parties claim that the cooperation will be used exclusively for peaceful purposes, there have been some concerns that this might not be entirely true. These fears revolve mostly around the grooving urge for creation of atomic weapons in the Middle East and especially by Saudi Arabia's regional rival, Iran. 

Tags:    Saudi Arabia     nuclear energy
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