Kingdom makes significant progress in nuclear reactors: Envoy

South Korean Ambassador Kwon Pyung-oh
Updated 16 March 2017
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Kingdom makes significant progress in nuclear reactors: Envoy

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has made significant progress in terms of acquiring technology to build nuclear reactors, and is working closely with South Korea on nuclear safety and security, South Korean Ambassador Kwon Pyung-oh said Wednesday.
The Kingdom has sent 41 nuclear experts to South Korea for training and learning to design, construct and develop nuclear plants based on System-integrated Modular Advanced Reactor (SMART) technology, he added.
“The basis of nuclear cooperation between our two countries is an MoU (memorandum of understanding) that was signed in March 2015 on the occasion of an official visit by Korea’s president to Saudi Arabia,” Pyung-oh said.
“The MoU seeks to strengthen partnership in SMART reactor technology and human capacity-building in the nuclear sector between Korea and Saudi Arabia.”
As a follow-up measure, the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute and King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy signed a SMART pre-project engineering agreement in September 2015 that will remain in effect until November 2018, he said.
South Korea is widely recognized as a leader in designing and building SMART reactors. “I expect nuclear cooperation between Korea and Saudi Arabia to deepen further by building on recent developments,” said the diplomat.
The two countries signed another MoU to strengthen cooperation on nuclear safety, security and regulations, exchanging information, technical cooperation, education and training last November, he added.
“I am confident that such efforts will lead to the successful construction and launch of SMART nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia,” Kwon said, adding that SMART is a small-scale nuclear power plant equivalent to approximately a 10th of a full-scale commercial atomic power station.
It is able to supply heat for seawater desalination, district heating and industrial purposes, and can be built at a low cost and within a short period of time.


Sign language and Braille Qur’ans to help pilgrims at Two Holy Mosques

A blind Saudi reads in braille a copy of the Quran, Islam's holy book, inside a mosque on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in the coastal town of Qatif, 400 kms east of Riyadh, on May 27, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 9 min 32 sec ago
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Sign language and Braille Qur’ans to help pilgrims at Two Holy Mosques

  • Copies of the Qur’an in Braille along with other religious booklets are available, as are on-site specialists to help pilgrims during prayer times and guide them through the mosque sites

MAKKAH: Sign language, Braille Qur’ans and electric wheelchairs are some of the new features in Makkah and Madinah to help pilgrims with disabilities to execute the religious rites of Hajj and Umrah.
An official at the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques described those with disabilities as “highly motivated people with special powers” and that services had been established to aid them, providing them with ease and comfort and avoiding complications even during peak times.
Ahmed Al-Burqati, who is tasked with helping people at the presidency, told Arab News there were designated entrances to ease access to prayer areas, including the ones on the ground and first floors of the King Fahd expansion at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
Other provisions include a pen that serves as a Qur’an reader, and help for holding and carrying Qur’ans for people unable to hold them. Copies of the Qur’an in Braille along with other religious booklets are available, as are on-site specialists to help pilgrims during prayer times and guide them through the mosque sites, he added.
Ahmed Badawi, an Egyptian pilgrim performing Umrah, said he was not expecting to find such services awaiting him in the Grand Mosque compound.
Other special services at the holy mosques include: Wheelchairs transported in golf carts to prayer areas; designated entrances; sign language interpreters for those with hearing or speech impairments; canes for the blind and visually impaired; and electric wheelchairs to perform key religious rites such as tawaf.