Nuclear in focus: Saudi and France discuss controversial industrial collaboration
A delegation of 30 senior managers from 20 leading Saudi industrial companies headed by Eng. Walid Abukhaled, the Deputy Minister for Industrial Affairs, was in France to participate in a five-day industrial tour focused on nuclear supply chain development. It is anticipated that the nuclear sector creates billions of euros worth of business opportunities for Saudi companies and generate tens of thousands of skilled jobs in Saudi Arabia.
The industrial tour comprised a full day workshop in Paris where Saudi and French officials encouraged the companies to develop the nuclear industrial sector in the Kingdom through partnerships and joint ventures between companies from both countries. The Saudi and French companies then engaged in B2B bilateral meetings to explore partnership opportunities before participating in industrial visits across the country. The visits included the Flamanville-3 EPR construction site, and manufacturing plants for heavy components, handling equipment, cables, electrical switchgears, piping, etc.
This initiative is part of the ambitious industrial outreach program engaged more than a year ago by AREVA and EDF teams with the support of French and Saudi institutions such as UbiFrance. More than eighty Saudi companies were individually visited by AREVA and EDF experts, while collective engagements were performed through suppliers days organized in Riyadh and Jeddah and through B2B initiatives gathering French and Saudi suppliers organized in Riyadh and Al-Khobar. Furthermore, training programs were launched in order to provide the Saudi industry with a precise description of quality assurance and project management standards applied in the nuclear industry to reach the highest level of safety requirements.