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Russia Plans to Sell Nuclear Power Plants to Arab States

By Yaver Kazimbeyli March 23, 2017

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Arabs will use nuclear plants to desalinate seawater

Russia may sell floating nuclear power plants (NPP) to Arab countries, according to Sergei Ivanov, Russia’s Special Presidential Representative for Environment Protection, Ecology and Transport.

In an interview with Rossiya 24 TV Channel on Wednesday Ivanov revealed Arab states have expressed interest in procuring the Russian manufactured plants, primarily due to the Middle East’s water needs. 

"Arab countries are more and more interested in buying these floating nuclear power plants from us in terms of sea water desalination, rather than from the standpoint of electric power generation," Ivanov said.

The Middle East is home to 70 percent of the world’s desalination plants, located mostly in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Bahrain. Gulf countries have been spending billions of dollars to expand their desalination capacity, as they have no other alternative for providing clean drinking water due to the region’s hot, dry climate and desert terrain.  

Saudi Arabia alone has allocated $24.3 billion for this purpose and is building the world’s largest solar powered desalination plant, which is expected to come online later this year.

Russia is the only country that manufactures floating NPPs. Its first, dubbed “Akademik Lomonosov,” is currently being built in Russia’s Baltic Yard, a plant located near St. Petersburg city center. Russia will deploy the plant, which runs on about 360 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, to its east Arctic coast in the Kamchatka region, in November 2019.