Abdul Hannan Tago | Arab News
Publication Date: 
Sat, 2012-03-17 01:53

Dr. Hashim Yamani estimated the total cost of the program at $140 billion by 2030. He said 60 percent of the entire atomic industry would be nationalized in due course. Similarly, he added, 80 percent of the renewable energy industry in the Kingdom is based on technical and economic studies prepared by the city.
Yamani disclosed the figures on Sunday night while discussing the future role of nuclear energy in the Kingdom.
He was the guest of honor at the 13th annual meeting of the MIT Alumni Association in Saudi Arabia held at the InterContinental Hotel in Riyadh. The meeting was attended by graduates and prominent Saudi personalities, businessmen and journalists.
Yamani said nuclear power was an option for the Kingdom’s energy mix.
Outlining the salient features of the project, Yamani said Saudi Arabia is keen to develop a model to achieve the optimum utilization of nonrenewable natural resources through the establishment of a sustainable pattern of production and consumption. Manufacturing such a facility would ensure continued economic growth and social prosperity.
Speaking on the probable cost of alternative energy, Yamani said nuclear energy is in many respects competitive with fossil fuels for electricity generation though the initial capital expenditure might be high. However, it has multiple advantages as a source for the production of electricity and desalination of seawater.
Yamani also reviewed a number of scenarios for economic output, which relied on different global prices for oil. Overall, he said, it is the most feasible option in terms of generating additional revenues for the country. It will help in preserving oil wealth for future generations.
From an organizational point of view, Yamani mentioned a number of mechanisms the city is adopting to develop a scientific base. This includes declaration of a national strategy for atomic energy.
It also involves creating a renewable energy system and also an investment fund on behalf of King Abdullah Fund for Atomic Energy and Renewable Energy. There will also be a holding company for the Atomic Energy Agency and other public investment in sustainable energy, he added.
He said the city is also seeking to establish entities for the manufacture, export, education and training of personnel besides an R&D unit to acquire technology. He then reviewed the technical issues related to the capabilities of different sources and their suitability for the patterns of demand for power supply, especially the difference in demand during summer and winter on one hand and night and day on the other.
Yamani spelled out the advantages of atomic energy and renewable energy sources as well as the risks associated with various sources of energy. He assured the audience that there would be low risks associated with nuclear energy vis-à-vis other sources like fossil fuel and renewable energy.
Referring to the call for giving up the nuclear energy option, Yamani said there are more than 30 countries that operate nuclear reactors for energy production. Of these, 19 are European countries, besides other countries working to add atomic energy to their energy mix. He assured them of the safety of atomic energy from a technological aspect. The whole process would be technically sound and environmental friendly, he said.
At the end of his presentation, Yamani said the Kingdom would go ahead with its plans to build a system of energy that is technologically sound and foolproof in order to promote sustainable socioeconomic development.
In his welcome address, MIT Association President Mohammed Bakr said the topic of atomic and renewable energy is one of the most important issues in the Kingdom.
Considering its importance, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah had ordered in 2010 the establishment of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy. The study team was led by Yamani, who has high academic qualifications and practical experience in the fields of atomic and renewable energy.
Speaking on MIT history, Bakr said 77 of MIT’s faculty members have won the Nobel Prize. "Last summer marked the 150th anniversary of MIT University. During this period it distinguished itself with a track record of many achievements and important discoveries in science and technology," he said.
In fact, since 1944 members of MIT have received Nobel prizes every year, he claimed.
Bakr said MIT is a private educational institution and an independent nonprofit organization known to promote dialogue and new frontiers in science and technology as well as issues that serve the business sector.
He said perhaps a distinctive feature of the university is its focus on the dissemination of knowledge. It participated in the establishment of research facilities and universities in many parts of the world.
"Information on all subjects taught in the curriculum is available on its website, which is a vital initiative to promote the dissemination of knowledge and learning for all human beings," Bakr said.
In 1998, MIT Alumni Association was founded in the Kingdom and since then the assembly began to establish a new tradition. It gives a greater role for university graduates in the service of their community by hosting seminars that bring together officials, industrialists and academics to present specialized topics and issues at the same time. He said Yamani was the first high-ranking official hosted by the assembly at a meeting in January 2004 when he was Minister of Commerce and Industry.

old inpro: 
Taxonomy upgrade extras: