Finland to help set up nuclear regulator


A team of nuclear experts from Finland will work with Saudi experts to establish a radiation and nuclear safety authority in the Kingdom.

"One nuclear expert from Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) has already arrived in Riyadh," Johanna Jokinen-Gavidia, charge d'affaires at the Finnish Embassy, said Saturday.

"The partnership between Stuk and King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A. CARE) will help in formulating legislation and exchanging experts as the first practical step toward a civilian nuclear energy program," said Johanna. 

Asked about the progress made in the field of nuclear cooperation following the signing of an agreement between K.A. Care and Stuk, Johanna said: "It will depend on how the partnership progresses from here ... we have just started." Stuk will support K.A. CARE in "designing and executing" the required activities to establish the nuclear regulatory body, she added.

The Finnish nuclear regulatory authority, which is considered one of the world's most outstanding regulatory bodies, has been entrusted with the task of developing safety regulations and providing training to Saudi personnel. The whole project involving K.A. CARE and Stuk is devised to be a multi-year cooperation between the two.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia has also brought in the engineering and consulting company Poyry to give advice on a strategy for the use of nuclear and renewable energy, according to an announcement made by the Finnish group Poyry. Philipp Elkuch from Poyry's business group said: "The firm will create a long-term road map for Saudi Arabia to diversify its energy sources over the next few months."

"We need to look at a long-term energy policy regarding what should be done in the next few decades to change the way electricity is currently being produced ... also to see what options are available to the Saudis -- what is possible and what is not," Elkuch said in a statement recently. He said the road map would include advice on, for example, the kind of regulatory bodies needed in the country and in the case of nuclear energy the kind of international treaties which would need to be observed.