Adviser appointed for Saudi nuclear power programme

25 May 2022
Adviser appointed for Saudi nuclear power programme

UK-based EY has been appointed as the transaction adviser (TA) for Saudi Arabia’s first nuclear power project

UK-based EY has been appointed as the transaction adviser (TA) for Saudi Arabia’s first nuclear power project.

EY had submitted the lowest bid during a competitive process in 2021, according to sources close to the programme. Energy & Utilities had reported that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah City for Atomic & Renewable Energy (KA-Care) had received bids from three financial consultancy firms for the transaction advisory role on the kingdom’s first planned large-scale nuclear power project, a two-reactor project planned to have a capacity of 2.8GW.

According to sources close to the project, bids were submitted from Deloitte (UK), EY (UK) and PwC (UK).

In July 2018, France’s Assystem was appointed to conduct a site characterisation study, environmental impact assessment and preliminary safety analysis report to assist with the selection of the preferred site for the kingdom’s first planned nuclear power project.

A site at Khor Duweihin on the eastern coast was subsequently chosen for the first project.

In November 2018, Australia’s WorleyParsons was appointed by KA-Care for the project management office (PMO) consultancy role for the kingdom’s nuclear energy programme. WorleyParsons was appointed to provide consultancy services including: project governance, resource management, project services, training and compliance across the full scope of the large nuclear power plant (LNPP), small modular reactors and nuclear fuel cycle.

Saudi Arabia is the Middle East & North Africa (Mena) market which the international nuclear energy providers are closely watching, with the kingdom having previously announced its intention to develop significant nuclear power capacity.

Riyadh is planning to develop atomic energy in the kingdom through a three-pronged approach. The majority of capacity to be constructed through conventional nuclear power plants, with the two-reactor 2.8GW plant the first proposed scheme.

The kingdom is also planning to press ahead with plans to develop a number of smaller system-integrated modular advanced reactor technology (Smart) nuclear projects. Riyadh signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Korea in November 2016 to develop the technology, with each reactor expected to have a capacity of about 100MW.

The final pillar of the country’s planned nuclear energy programme will involve mining uranium reserves to fuel the plants.

While Saudi Arabia has not set a formal target for nuclear energy capacity, the government had previously indicated the kingdom would seek to develop 17-19GW of nuclear power capacity.

The Arab World’s first nuclear power plant began commercial operations in April 2021, when the 1.4GW first unit of the UAE’s 5.6GW Barakah nuclear power plant was commissioned.

Energy & Utilities reported in June 2021 that construction works on the entire 5.6GW project had reached 95 per cent completion.

 In July 2021, it was reported that Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA) had applied for the construction permits for the first and second units of the planned 4.8GW El-Dabaa nuclear power plant, which would be the Arab World’s second nuclear power facility.

Russia’s Rosatom, which was awarded the contract to develop Egypt’s first nuclear power plant in 2015, has revealed that the NPPA has submitted the permit application and all of the required documents to the Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulation Authority (ENRRA).

“It is expected that the permit on construction of the first two units will be granted in the first half of next year [2022],” Ayman, Hamza, a spokesman for the Egyptian Electricity & Renewable Energy Ministry was quoted in a report by Tass, the Russian News Agency. “[will be followed] by procedures on drafting documents for units 3 and 4.”

Cairo signed an agreement with Rosatom to construct and operate the $30bn El-Dabaa project in November 2015, with the deal covering the development of a 4,800MW plant consisting of four 1,200MW reactors. In October 2019, Australia’s Worley was appointed to provide a number of engineering and design services for the scheme.

The project is being largely funded by a government-to-government loan from Russia’s Finance Ministry, which will provide a $25bn loan to cover 85 per cent of the construction costs for the scheme. The Egyptian government will finance the remaining 15 per cent capital cost of the plant.

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