Westinghouse Electric says it is seeking a role in the Kingdom’s nuclear power program.
“We see Saudi Arabia as a good market for us,” Westinghouse chief executive Danny Roderick was quoted as saying by the UPI news agency.
The report said Saudi Arabia is pressing ahead with an ambitious plan to build a chain of nuclear power plants to boost its electricity-generating capacity to free crude oil production for export.
According to UPI, Riyadh is expected to seek preliminary bids in early 2014 for the first of the 16 nuclear reactors it plans to construct by 2030 at an estimated cost of $100 billion.
Saudi Arabia plans to add 18 gigawatts of electricity from the nuclear plants to add to a planned 54 gigawatts of renewable energy in the next 10 years.
Westinghouse, a Pittsburgh company that’s part of Toshiba Corp., is already set to provide reactor components to the UAE for its program to build four nuclear plants.
The UAE is expected to get its first nuclear power program running by 2017, with all four plants up, built by a South Korean-led consortium, and producing 40 gw of electricity by 2020, compared to around 16 gw now.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the regional leaders in tackling the growing crisis over inefficient and wasteful energy use in which domestic oil consumption, largely for fueling electricity generation amid rapidly growing demand and for desalination, is eating into exports that are their economic mainstays.
The King Abdullah Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) was set up in 2010 to oversee the nuclear power program and to develop renewable energy sources.
It plans to have the nuclear program operational by 2032, with the first plant running by 2019.
Westinghouse is also eager to move into Turkey, which seeks to restore its former status as a regional power and is close to signing a deal on building its second 4.5 gw nuclear plant on the Black Sea, a $20 billion project.