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Saudi cabinet approves national atomic policy

AFP  |  Riyadh 

Saudi Arabia's cabinet today approved the national policy of its atomic programme, said, as the kingdom prepares to award contracts for its first plants.

The policy insists on limiting nuclear activities to peaceful purposes and calls for enhanced safety measures as well as the use of best practises for radioactive waste management, the reported.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top exporter, is seeking to diversify its supply mix in order to free up to boost exports.

The policy announcement comes ahead of Mohammed bin Salman's visit to the on March 19-22, which is likely to see efforts to reach a civilian nuclear cooperation accord with

The kingdom has accelerated plans to build 16 nuclear reactors over the next two decades, officials and analysts say, at a cost of some USD 80 billion.

Negotiations are underway with the for its agreement to export technology needed for their construction.

Besides the US company Westinghouse, Russian, French, Chinese and South Korean firms have all been seeking the Saudi contracts.

Some analysts have voiced concerns that seeks to use its atomic programme as a hedge against its arch-rival Iran, which signed a deal with the in 2015 to curb its own nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

Saudi Arabia, which insists its intentions are peaceful, has signed cooperation agreements with over a dozen countries in recent years to boost nuclear cooperation, including France, and

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 13 2018. 21:45 IST