French companies Areva and EDF have signed two agreements with Saudi Arabian industrial partners and universities to support the nuclear energy programme in the country.
The companies have inked a deal with five local industrial partners including Zamil Steel, Bahra Cables, Riyadh Cables, Saudi Pumps and Descon Olayan to develop the industrial and technical skills.
The companies have also signed agreements with four Saudi universities including King Saud University, Dar Al Hekma College, Effat University and Prince Mohammed bin Fahd University. The agreements with universities will help develop nuclear expertise in the country.
The latest agreements are the result of previous successful operations carried out by EDF and Areva through their joint office in Riyadh.
The operations/events included the 'Suppliers' Days' in March and October 2013, and the signing of a cooperation agreement with the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Bahrah to develop technical nuclear skills in Saudi Arabia in July 2013.
The events also included the visits to French nuclear facilities organised for Saudi university faculty members in June 2013, a visit to France by Saudi industrial companies in November, and internship offers made to Saudi students since the summer.
EDF CEO Henri Proglio said, "These new agreements underline EDF and AREVA's commitment alongside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to enable it to successfully implement its national energy strategy and in particular to develop its future nuclear program by contributing to the development of a local network of manufacturers and by training qualified engineers."
AREVA president and CEO Luc Oursel said the agreements represent the common will of EDF and Areva to forge a long-term partnership with Saudi Arabia.
"They will enable the country to build a strong industrial base and a robust skills management program," said Oursel.