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Feasibility Study for Saudi Arabian HTGR Project Launched


Gu Jun, general manager and deputy Party secretary of China Nuclear Engineering & Construction (CNEC) Corporation, met with Dr. Waleed Hussain Abulfaraj, vice-president of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), on May 15, in Beijing. The visiting 13-member delegation also included KACARE CEO and other Saudi Arabian officials. Also attending the meeting were Zhang Zuoyi, director of Tsinghua University’s Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology, and principals of CNEC’s HTGR and energy companies.

Gu Jun gave a warm welcome to the visiting delegates, saying that Vice President Abulfaraj’s personal attendance at the launch of the HTGR feasibility study, which was jointly held by CNEC and Tsinghua University, testified that Saudi Arabia had attached great importance to the HTGR supply chain cooperation with China. He stressed that CNEC would like to take the opportunity of the Belt and Road Initiative to actively join hands with KACARE to promote the HTGR project in Saudi Arabia, and that the Chinese side will fully share its experience in HTGR and nuclear power development with its Saudi partner and assist Saudi Arabia in training personnel for the operation of HTGRs and in supply chain localization, aiming to make the HTGR project a highlight in the Sino-Saudi energy cooperation and the Belt and Road construction.

Vice President Abulfaraj noted that KACARE highly values the strategic partnership with CNEC and Tsinghua University in the HTGR project. Answering to the call of not only the Belt and Road Initiative, but also Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Program 2020, the project is set to help improve the energy structure of Saudi Arabia and promote its economic and social development. He expressed a hope to take this joint feasibility study as the starting point to accelerate full cooperation between the two countries on the high-temperature gas-cooled reactor supply chain and to push through the Saudi HTGR project “as soon as possible”.

Following the meeting, Gu Jun and Vice President Abulfaraj co-chaired the first meeting of the joint working group, marking the start of the feasibility study. About 40 experts from both sides attended the meeting and listened to the reports made by Director Zhang Zuoyi and KACARE CEO on HTGR development in China and nuclear energy development plan of Saudi Arabia, respectively.

During the three-day meeting, discussions of the joint working group centered around the application of the Saudi HTGR project, cooperation in intellectual property and the supply chain, financing of the Saudi project, and the country’s nuclear regulatory system. The meeting also determined the framework, content, division of tasks and work plans for the feasibility study report, while the joint working group aimed to complete the feasibility study report and submit it to the Saudi cabinet by the end of this year to obtain preliminary approval for the HTGR project.