Saudi Arabia, represented by the Ministry of Energy, King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, the Kingdom’s Embassy in Austria and a number of other concerned parties participated in the 63rd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria. The conference will last until September 20.
According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Dr. Khalid Al-Sultan headed the Saudi delegation to the conference on behalf of the Minister of Energy and President of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, with the participation of Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Sultan, Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to Austria, the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom to International Organizations in Vienna.
During his speech at the conference, the president of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy confirmed the peaceful uses of atomic energy according to the ambitious Saudi vision 2030, such as its use in electricity generation, and some medical diagnostic and therapeutic uses, which is an important aspect in achieving the vision goals of sustainable growth in all areas and regions in Saudi Arabia, pointing out that Saudi Arabia’s vision and its executive programs view many of these peaceful applications, as enablers of the growth and development of local communities in various areas of life. Dr. Al-Sultan said: “The Kingdom has endeavored to develop advanced programs aimed at introducing atomic energy into the national energy mix, through a comprehensive national program for the use of atomic energy in the fields of electricity generation, desalination and some medical fields, following the highest standards in safety, transparency and cooperation at the international level such as SMART, the first Saudi reactor for peaceful purposes
In accordance with this framework, the National Atomic Energy Project of Saudi Arabia was approved, which consists of elements that will contribute to achieving the sustainable development that the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 aims to achieve.
Al-Sultan added: “The Kingdom’s National Atomic Energy Project takes into account the careful planning and high-level preparation for each stage, by setting the timetable, costs, and technical specifications, and preparing and qualifying the necessary national competencies”.
Al-Sultan stressed that the comprehensive and careful planning of this program is due to the Kingdom’s awareness of the quality and nature of atomic energy projects, which require special attention to contain and deal with nuclear materials, where they must be dealt with under the highest internationally-applicable standards of security and safety, in accordance with the comprehensive safeguards agreement requirements signed with the IAEA.
Al-Sultan pointed out that Saudi Arabia has worked to complete the regulatory structures necessary to deal with atomic energy projects, and is still working on the adoption of a package of domestic laws to regulate the atomic energy sector in the Kingdom, within the organization of the Nuclear and Radiological Safety Authority, noting that the Kingdom received the IAEA’s mission, in July last year, to review the nuclear infrastructure and benefit from the IAEA’s expertise in assessing the progress of the National Atomic Energy Project and the readiness of the Kingdom’s infrastructure to build the first nuclear power plant, SMART.
The General Conference of IAEA is the highest body for formulating and operationalizing the agency’s policies, which is composed of representatives of all Member States. This conference will be held annually to consider and approve the Agency’s program, budget, and other issues presented by the Board of Governors, the Director General and the Member States. A scientific forum and an exhibition for the Agency’s members are held annually on the sidelines of the General Conference adding to the participation of the accredited agencies, the latest projects and developments in the field of atomic energy will be presented.