France eyes nuclear reactor sales in Saudi Arabia

French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg and top officials from France-based Areva and EDF are scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia this week to build a case for selling French nuclear reactors to the kingdom.

Nuclear firm Areva and energy utility EDF have unveiled a joint office in the capital city of Riyadh six months ago to lay the groundwork for a French nuclear offer.

The latest meet will build on a visit by President of France, Francois Hollande, to Saudi Arabia in November 2012, reports local news channel Al Arabia.

The two countries already signed an agreement in 2011 that offered the Saudis atomic know-how and training for local staff.

Saudi Arabia is yet to launch a formal tender offer, meanwhile nuclear equipment vendors across the world are gearing up for the announcement.

EDF spokeswoman told Reuters that “We are still in a very early stage of the game in Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Arabia is planning to construct 17GW of nuclear capacity by 2032 in order to diversify its energy mix, according to the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE).

“Saudi Arabia will only deploy the most advanced and thoroughly tested technologies, paying maximum attention to safety, security and safeguards of the highest international standards,” KACARE noted.