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Saudi Arabia is moving forward in implementing its national atomic energy project, says Al Falih before IAEA Conference

Sep 18, 2018, 9:00:00 AM GMT+3 Economics News

Vienna, SPA:
Eng. Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, delivered his country's address before the annual 62nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), held in Austria's capital, Vienna, from 17-21 September 2018.
At the start of his speech, Eng. Al-Falih conveyed the appreciation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s leadership of the great efforts exerted by the IAEA in promoting regulatory, scientific and technical cooperation and focuses attention on the safe and peaceful use of nuclear technology.

The Kingdom, he pointed out, is of the view that introducing atomic energy to electricity generation is a fundamental, strategic option for the development and integration of a sustainable, environment-friendly and efficient energy sector that enables the Kingdom to invest in all of its natural resources and highly competitive capabilities. This is in line with the Kingdom's keenness on implementing the objectives of its national aggressive developmental vision; the Kingdom 2030 Vision, and diversifying its electricity generation sources to meet increasing national electricity demand, he added.

The minister explained that in order to implement this strategic vision, the Kingdom launched two ambitious programs to diversify its energy sources, namely the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative and the National Atomic Energy Program, which was launched in July 2017.

He also indicated that in addition to developing atomic energy to be a part of the Kingdom's energy mix, the launch of the National Atomic Energy Program aligns with the Kingdom’s endeavor to create a technologically-advanced national industry consistent with the Saudi Vision 2030 which seeks to diversify the economy, create an attractive investment environment, generate new job opportunities and develop Saudi Arabia’s human capital.

Eng. Al-Falih further stressed that the Kingdom, recognizing the importance and sensitivity of atomic energy use, is implementing its National Atomic Energy Program in accordance with all international treaties and conventions and best international practices, adhering to the highest safety, security and transparency standards.

The Kingdom, he also indicated, honoring its commitment to all nuclear-related international treaties and agreements it is party to, has established the agencies and issued the required laws for implementing its National Atomic Energy Program and managing its components. He, specifically, referred to the Kingdom's issuance of the official National Policy Document of the National Atomic Energy Program, the Law for Control over Nuclear and Radiological Usages and the Law for Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages, as well as the establishment of the Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority in a manner that complies fully with IAEA requirements.

Before concluding the Kingdom's address, Minister Khalid Al-Falih stressed the Kingdom's strategic, unwavering position regarding the peaceful use of nuclear energy, which is based on the principle of maintaining balance between a state’s obligations towards non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and achieving nuclear security, on one hand, and its right to benefit from the peaceful utilization of nuclear energy and its indigenous natural resources on the other.

He also stressed the importance of the countries' compliance with the non-proliferation treaty, which calls for nuclear disarmament and stresses the commitment of nuclear power states to share their peaceful technologies with abiding member states.

Eng. Al-Falih reiterated the Kingdom's support for positive initiatives that call for the creation of nuclear weapons-free geographical zones, emphasizing the Kingdom's call for cooperation with the international community to make the Middle East Region, in its entirety, a nuclear weapons-free zone.

He voiced the Kingdom’s call to the international community to take a more stringent and transparent stance against all threats to regional and international peace and security, particularly Iran, given its alarming efforts to build its nuclear capabilities, in tandem with its increasing acts of sabotage and aggression against other states in the region, and its continued and substantial support for terrorist organizations, evidenced by its provision of strategic weapons which are considered to be a component of military nuclear capabilities.

He stated that the Kingdom calls for the highest levels of transparency regarding the safety of nuclear power plants. In this respect, he specifically noted that the safety standards of the Iranian Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant are a source of great concern in the region, given its location, which is seismically active and closer to some cities in the Arabian Gulf area than to the Iranian capital itself. He said that Agency and its technically-advanced member states are urgently required to assess the current risks associated with the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant and ensure its safety.

Concluding the Kingdom's address, Minister Al-Falih reiterated the Kingdom's commitment to all treaties and conventions governing the use of nuclear energy and exchange of its technology as well as the Kingdom’s determination to continue to provide material and moral support to the Agency, towards harnessing nuclear energy for the benefit of humanity and prevention of hostile and unsafe uses thereof.

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