Saudi Arabia moves nuclear bid deadline

2 November 2023

Saudi Arabia's Duwaiheen Nuclear Energy Company has extended the tendering process for the contract to build the kingdom's first large-scale nuclear power plant facility.

According to a source close to the project, the client expects to receive proposals for the contract by 31 December, two months later than the previous bid submission deadline.

Companies that have been invited and are expected to bid for the contract include:

  • China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC, China)
  • Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco, South Korea)
  • Rosatom (Russia) 
  • EDF Group (France)

    Neither King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-Care) nor the apparent bidders have confirmed the bidders list.

    The project is in the so-called bid invitation specification stage, and there are no direct negotiations taking place between the client and the potential bidders at this stage, as MEED reported in July.

    Saudi Arabia plans to build a large-scale nuclear power plant facility as part of its energy diversification agenda. 

    Earlier this month, a source close to the project said the ongoing conflict in Gaza is not likely to help advance negotiations between the countries with a key stake in the project.


    Duwaiheen Nuclear Energy Company this year received three bids for the project management consultancy package for the nuclear plant project.

    MEED understands the following companies submitted proposals for the contract:

    • Atkins (UK/Canada)
    • Worley (Australia)
    • Assystems (France)

    Two of the three bidders have had previous engagements with the Saudi nuclear energy project. 

    In July 2018, France’s Assystem was appointed to conduct a site characterisation study, environmental impact assessment and preliminary safety analysis report to assist with the selection of the preferred site for the kingdom’s first planned nuclear power project.

    A site at Khor Duwaiheen, on the coast near the UAE and Qatari borders, was subsequently chosen for the first project.

    The same year, KA-Care appointed Worley for the project management office consultancy role for the nuclear energy programme. Worley is understood to have previously completed the Large Nuclear Power Plant (LNPP) site selection study for KA-Care.

    KA-Care also awarded three separate contracts for the project's legal, technical and financial advisory works.  It awarded a team led by UK-headquartered EY the financial advisory contract in May 2022. Legal and technical consultancy contracts for the project were signed earlier. 

    2.8GW project

    The Duwaiheen nuclear power plant is expected to be procured using a traditional design-and-build model. 

    In September 2016, MEED reported that Saudi Arabia was carrying out technical and economic feasibility studies for the first reactors, and was also looking at possible locations for the kingdom’s first nuclear project, a 2.8GW facility.

    In March 2022, Saudi Arabia announced the establishment of a holding company – understood to be the Duwaiheen Nuclear Energy Company – to develop nuclear power projects in the country to produce electricity, desalinate seawater and support thermal energy applications. 

    Related reads: 

    Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Sultan, Saudi ambassador to Austria and permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said at the time that the kingdom was working on a framework programme for nuclear energy in 2022-27, which includes “capacity building and collaboration with international institutes for research and development”.

    This followed Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman al-Saud's announcement in January 2022 that Saudi Arabia has uranium resources that it wants to exploit transparently through partnerships.
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
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