Saudi Arabia is set to establish a civil nuclear and renewable energy centre to help meet demand for power, it has been revealed.

The King Abdullah City for Nuclear and Renewable Energy will be based in Riyadh, according to the Saudi Press agency.

While discussions have focused on civil uses of the technology, analysts note that Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states do not want to lag further behind Iran and Israel in developing nuclear technologies, writes the

On Friday, France and Kuwait signed a civil nuclear co-operation agreement, and Paris is negotiating a similar deal with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia possesses a quarter of the world’s oil reserves, but domestic and global demand has prompted plans to spend $80bn on power generation and transmission over the next eight years.