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IAEA Delivers Report on Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development to Saudi Arabia

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Dr Khaled Al Sultan, President of K.A.CARE, receives the final report of the INIR Mission to Saudi Arabia from Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, Riyadh, 22 January 2019. (Photo: T. Stott/IAEA)

The IAEA delivered the final report of an expert mission that reviewed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure development for a nuclear power programme.

The Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission took place in July 2018 at the invitation of the Government of Saudi Arabia. The mission team reviewed the status of the country’s nuclear power infrastructure development using the Phase 2 criteria based on the IAEA’s Milestones Approach, which provides detailed guidance across three phases (consider, prepare, construct) of programme development.

Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, handed over the report to Dr Khalid Al Sultan, President of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) on 22 January 2019 in Riyadh.

“As is recognized in the INIR Mission report, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has made significant progress in the development of its nuclear power infrastructure,” said Chudakov. “It has established a legislative framework and carried out comprehensive studies to support the next steps of the programme.” He pointed out that Saudi Arabia has also developed strategic partnerships with countries experienced in the use of nuclear power and is extensively using their technical support.

To assist Saudi Arabia in making further progress in its nuclear infrastructure development, the INIR team made several recommendations and suggestions, where further actions would benefit the country’s programme development, including several related to the planning for Phase 3. The team of experts also identified good practices, one of which is related to the modelling of the competence and staff requirements for the regulatory body and the owner/operator.

As a next step, Saudi Arabia has developed a national action plan to address the recommendations and suggestions. The first meeting to discuss the ‘Integrated Work Plan’ between the IAEA and Saudi Arabia was held in early January to identify IAEA support for activities to implement the country’s action plan.

“This is indicative of the commitment of Saudi Arabia to make progress and to move the programme forward,” said Chudakov. He emphasized that embarking on a nuclear power programme is a sovereign decision. “While the IAEA can provide support, the responsibility for closing any gaps and moving the programme forward lies with the Member State.”

About INIR Missions

Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review missions enable IAEA Member State representatives to have in-depth discussions with international experts about conditions and best international practices in the development of a nuclear power programme. In developing its recommendations, the INIR team considers the comments made by the relevant national organizations. Implementation of any of the team's recommendations is at the discretion of the Member State requesting the mission. The IAEA publishes the INIR mission report on its website 90 days after its delivery to the Member State, unless the State requests in writing that the IAEA not do so.

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