Kingdom makes significant progress in nuclear reactors: Envoy

South Korean Ambassador Kwon Pyung-oh
Updated 16 March 2017

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.


Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 15 September 2019

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen
  • ‘Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war.
But the Wall Street Journal has reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied reports Iraqi territory “was used for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said in a statement.
“The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.