Minister: Kuwait to build four nuclear reactors

Push for new energy could see launch of contract map by January 2011

A 'roadmap' for nuclear projects could be ready by January. Picture illustration only.
A 'roadmap' for nuclear projects could be ready by January. Picture illustration only.

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Kuwait is planning to build four nuclear reactors over the next 12 years as part of the oil-rich state’s drive to expand into alternative forms of energy.

The country’s National Nuclear Energy Committee is preparing a ‘roadmap’ for its future in atomic energy, Ahmad Bishara, secretary general of the body, said in an interview with Bloomberg. The plan, which includes a timetable for tenders, may be ready for as soon as January 2011.

Kuwait is looking to boost revenues from oil exports by selling the barrels it is currently using for the operation of its thermal power plants, which will rise to around 20% of the daily crude production. The announcement comes as the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) – of which Kuwait is a member – this weekend discussed the export price for crude oil that would acknowledge the stutter in recovery in the global economy that would reduce demand.

At the same time, demand for electricity in Kuwait is expected to grow as much as 7% annually from 11,000 megawatts to 25,000 megawatts by 2030, Bishara said. The state may build four 1,000 megawatt reactors.

It is the second nuclear-related announcement in the last six weeks to interest contractors. At the beginning of August, Egypt announced it had opened the international tender process for its first nuclear energy facility.

“Egypt's nuclear project is progressing steadily and we expect to start the tender before the end of this year," said Hassan Younes, electricity eand energy minister told reporters.
The French nuclear reactor-maker Areva, and engineering group Alstom and Westinghouse Electric Co., were among those invited to tender, he added.

Osama Saleh, chairman of the Egyptian General Authority for Investment, told ConstructionWeek last month, “Egypt needs to work hard on both development and infrastructure."

“It would be very hard to attract foreign investors with an extreme deficiency in the infrastructure area.”

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