16 nuclear reactors to be ready by 2030

Updated 27 August 2013
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16 nuclear reactors to be ready by 2030

Saudi Arabia intends to become a leader in renewable energy by building 16 nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 22GW, which is about half of the Kingdom’s current electricity output. The project is estimated to cost of more than $100 billion.
Abdul Ghani bin Melaibari, coordinator of scientific collaboration at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, confirmed the plan, adding that the first two reactors would be ready within 10 years.
However, he pointed out the cost building nuclear reactors in the Kingdom would be comparatively higher because of its extreme hot climate. He also stressed the need to train Saudis to operate and maintain such plants.
Melaibari said the cost of building and operating nuclear plants in France, Russia, South Korea and Japan differs from one country to another, depending on the technology they adopt, infrastructure facilities in place and the availability of cheap manpower.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbors regard nuclear power as a way to meet rising electricity demand while reducing reliance on polluting fossil fuels, say analysts.
“After 10 years we will have the first two reactors,” Melaibari told Arab News. “After that, every year we will establish two, until we have 16 by 2030. We would like to cover 20 percent of electricity needs using nuclear energy.”
He estimated the cost of each reactor to be around $7 billion, adding that the Kingdom is in the process of concluding deals with specialized companies to implement the project.
Many nations have taken a step back from nuclear plans following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. But GCC states are pursuing their plans with major investments in nuclear power.
The UAE in December 2009 awarded a South Korean consortium the contract to build four nuclear power plants worth $20.4 billion.
Power demand in Saudi Arabia is estimated to grow seven to eight percent during the next 10 years. It is the largest economy of the GCC, with an annual GDP of $622 billion and a GDP per capita of $24,200.


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 25 June 2018
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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”