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Chinese, Saudi Leaders Witness Signing of MOU on an HTGR Desalination Joint Venture


On August 24, during his visit to Saudi Arabia upon invitation, Zhang Gaoli, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of China’s State Council, joined Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman to co-chair the second meeting of a China-Saudi Arabia high-level steering committee for coordinating bilateral cooperation. On the sidelines of the meeting, the two leaders witnessed the signing of “Memorandum of Understanding on HTGR Desalination Joint Venture between CNEC and TAQNIA” by Zu Bin, deputy general manager of China Nuclear Engineering & Construction Corporation (CNEC), and Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed Al-Saud, chairman of the King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology (KACST) and chairman of the board of directors of The Saudi Company for Technology development & investment (TAQNIA). According to the MOU, the two parties will work together to carry out feasibility study on developing seawater desalination projects using high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGR) and start negotiations and preparations for the establishment of an HTGR desalination joint venture, so as to deepen the two countries’ cooperation in HTGR projects and pave the way for tapping into nuclear desalination market of Saudi Arabia.

After the signing ceremony, Zu Bin and Prince Turki discussed details about the proposed cooperative project. Zu Bin introduced CNEC’s competitive edge as a forerunner in the field of nuclear engineering as well as the development and pilot projects of China’s HTGR technology. Prince Turki introduced Saudi Arabia’s market demand for seawater desalination and its development of seawater desalination technology. Both sides also exchanged views on carrying out feasibility study on launching an HTGR desalination in Saudi Arabia and starting negotiations and preparations for the establishment of an HTGR desalination joint venture, and reached consensus on next step’s of work.