Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The leaders of Saudi Arabia and South Korea agreed to cooperate to build more than two small and medium-size nuclear reactors in projects worth as much as $2 billion, The Korea Herald reported Tuesday.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday and met with King Salman to discuss ways to enhance bilateral relations.
Before visiting Saudi Arabia, Park concluded a three-day visit to Kuwait. She is scheduled to continue to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
The two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding to build the Asian country’s SMART reactors, designed by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute specifically for Middle Eastern countries to generate electricity and desalinate seawater, said the report.
The agreement calls for a feasibility study to construct the reactors in Saudi Arabia, which should be completed by 2018.
“The agreement is expected to open opportunities for South Korean firms to participate in Saudi Arabia’s nuclear reactor project,” said An Chong-bum, Park’s senior secretary for economic affairs, the Korea Herald
If the deal goes through, it would be the first time the country’s small and medium- sized reactors would be exported, officials said.
The nuclear agreement comes as the West is reportedly close to reaching a nuclear deal with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s nemesis.
Experts worry that if Iran goes nuclear or if a deal is reached, it will lead other Sunni Middle Eastern countries to follow suit with their own programs.
Saudi Arabia previously signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with South Korea in 2011.