Kuwait Cancels Plans for Nuclear Power Plants, Going Solar

Post by Mark


The Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) retracted its plan to build a nuclear power plant, as Kuwait had planned earlier to obtain a license from the UN in this regard. MEW said its decision to scrap the project was because studies proved it was unfeasible and of high cost, in addition to having alternative projects that are better in production and cost such as solar energy and wind. An official said Kuwait needs water desalination stations, but as for power stations, plans provide for several stations. Some of them will be built soon, and some between 2020 and 2030. [Source]

Back in 2010 the Ministry of Electricity had stated Kuwait was going to build four nuclear reactors and they would be up and running by 2022. But then in 2012 after the Fukushima disaster those plans got scrapped. So no idea why they’ve just announced it again that they’re scrapping their nuclear plans, unless somewhere between 2012 and 2016 they had reinstated the plan.


In any case, solar should have been the priority in the first place and our neighbors UAE are already ahead of the game in the region with their Shams Solar Power Station (pictured above and video below) which is one of the largest solar power plants in the world.

Update: Just a few figures to help you understand why Kuwait looked at nuclear power plants to begin with.

– Kuwait consumes around 13,000MW of electricity
– The new Shamal Al Zour Al Oula gas power station in the north of Kuwait that is under construction will produce 1,500MW when complete
– The Shams Solar Power Station in the UAE produces 100MW
– The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility in the USA is the largest solar station in the world and it produces 392MW
– The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in Japan is the largest in the world and produces 7,965 MW

So one nuclear power plant could supply more than 60% of Kuwait’s power needs while the largest solar station would supply just 3%.

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38 comments, add your own...

  1. Zero says:

    This is amazing, so the government decided solar was better than nuclear after the Fukushima incident? WHAT ABOUT CHERNOBYL? You know, Chernobyl tells a better story of a nuclear disaster (caused by human error) than Fukushima (caused naturally by earthquakes and tsunamis).

    I don’t know squat about alternative energy (theory-wise) but even the most troglodytic and uneducated bloke can second guess solar energy as being the most ‘feasible’ of all energy sources. And i mean what about the political climate in this region huh? You want to build a nuclear power plant as if we are not even situated in the middle of a violent hotpot of ideological and armed conflict? Nuclear, i mean wow, amazing, just…very reassuring critical thinking on behalf of the Ministry. I don’t think it’s feasible for us to have that kind of decision making. Nuclear shouldve been a no-go from the start.

    • meh says:

      You are already in a radiation death zone from the Iranian nuclear plant.

      • K- says:

        Exactly. And I wouldn’t trust my life with the fucking Iranians, what if we have Chernobyl scenario all over again?

        We have to get rid of the Iranian nuclear program one way or another.

    • aaa says:

      It’s clear you don’t know squat because Nuclear is nowhere near as dangerous as you think it is and is a clean source of energy, and Solar until recently was not that efficient. Solar plants on this level didn’t make sense 10 years ago.

      • Abdul9 says:

        And solar is still not near efficient (efficiency being around 18% at its maximum and most ideal conditions). Nuclear is currently the best source of energy, and I don’t think people understand that. It is much safer than oil, environment wise, and much more efficient than solar and wind. When talking about nuclear energy people always assume the worst because of Chernobyl, though that was cause by human error and low safety measures. Also we aren’t living in a “natural disaster zone” for anything like Fukushima to happen.

      • Ipsom says:

        True, nuclear energy is safer than what most think. But I just can’t see it working in Kuwait. And despite the very minor risk, one mistake would just be too much.

    • Crazykuwaiti says:

      Kuwait only went for the nuclear project because it wanted to gaude the US in the iran talks i.e. if iran gets nuke power then all of us will get nuke power.

      As we all know the United States was not fazed and went ahead with a nuclear agreement with Iran and we were caught with our shorts down and a bluff that was historically comedic cause we can barely run a traffic light let alone a nuclear project.

  2. Ahmed says:

    With the heat highest in Kuwait. Nuclear plant is a bad idea. Also considering how tiny Kuwait is. One accident is enough.

  3. Ipsom says:

    I just can’t see Kuwait with nuclear. One of the main reasons: After the whole oil strike I don’t believe our engineers are competent enough with such a big responsibility.

    I think solar is definitely is the way to go. People just tend to forget how much potential there is: “Every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year.”

    • Mark says:

      I’m not sure how the strike makes the engineers incompetent but in any case i don’t think it would be Kuwaitis mostly running the nuclear power plants. Check out this video from the 6min mark
      Thats an electric station in Kuwait and you’ll notice its mostly expats there (Based on this short video)

      • Mark says:

        the video made me realize something, the new power plant being built in kuwait which i linked to would produce 1,500MW of power according to the CEO which equals to around 10% of Kuwait’s demand. The UAE solar power plant which they say is one of the largest in the world produces just 100MW. That means we would need 15 of those solar stations to equal the power generated from one regular power plant. Insane.

        The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Japan on the other hand produces 7,965MW of electricity. So it’s pretty self explanatory why Kuwait looked at the nuclear option first. One giant nuclear power plant would produce more than 50% of Kuwaits power compared to a solar plant that would produce 0.6% (if my maths is correct)

        • meh says:

          Most of the tree huggers don’t realize that Solar/Wind power are expensive to build and produce little power in return. They are getting better, but they are not feasible at all.

          At the moment their role in providing energy is complimentary and a small step to reduce the carbon footprint.

        • aaa says:

          Yeah, exactly. Nuclear is actually the only feasible option to meet growing energy needs worldwide. Solar cells are getting more efficient but it’s still very expensive for the energy you get out of it, to the point where it’s usually cheaper to buy and burn fossil fuels (which is why it hasn’t been widely adopted until recently).

          There are more than 400 nuclear plants. If you count Newsworthy international incidents one happens every like… 10 years. Yeah that’s not perfect but also you live in a country whose economy is entirely reliant on fossil fuels with way more dangerous long term consequences

      • Yousef says:

        This video, despite being geared towards investment, is a positive spin on the future of Kuwait. It is not usual to see such a positive outlook, I feel, with the drop in oil prices and rising costs on the ground.

    • Abdul9 says:

      I don’t think you understand how the sun produces this energy, so let me explain. The sun is undergoing nuclear fusion which heat and light is a direct result of it. So when we use the solar panels we are actually harnessing the radiation that is being produced by the sun (i.e. heat and light). Furthermore, our ability to harness that energy is not efficient enough to sustain our energy consumption needs. So by using nuclear power plants we are actually creating a controlled nuclear fission, which is basically the opposite of fusion. As a result we are harnessing the energy created by it, rather than the sun which is much further away, so there is more heat to harness. Thus we are able to produce much much more energy using nuclear power plants than solar panels.

  4. saif says:

    Kuwait already uses solar energy panels


  5. Zero says:

    I’m not saying it’s dangerous, i’m saying that we are biting more than we can actually chew on this. We are not apt, and the preconditions to having Nuclear Energy are not there. We’ve got a ways to go and so much to improve in our country before undertaking such a task. Add these facts up along with the fact that we live in a politically unstable region, and you will make some sense of what i’m saying. Besides so what if we have to build a lot of solar plants? To me that sounds like more jobs and huge opportunities for Kuwaiti students that are forced to seek a career elsewhere because they can’t find a suitable job. I call that Intellectual-Capital flight, and if you know any Economics, you’d know that our Structural Unemployment Rate (mismatch between skills and jobs) is off the chart.

  6. Ahmad says:

    It’s actually good news since first, we cannot handle accidents due to the country’s size (where would we go in the case of a leak lol) also the area where the plant would be built has to be by the sea thus reducing the area at which the country could use for other developments (I know lol), and second, Kuwait doesn’t have uranium and she has to get it from other countries, this poses a security of supply risk, furthermore, there isn’t enough uranium anyway to supply the world at the current trend more than 40 to 80 years, so people will have to go for Thorium which will cost more to produce thus the cost per kWh will be a lot higher than anticipated in the future.

    Yes Mark, solar is pretty weak compared to conventional sources, but at the same time, if we get residential solar on every rooftop in Kuwait, it could at least reduce the power consumption by the residential sector and leave the leftovers to be handled by the MEW and there will be no cost for changing the grid to suite the intermittent renewable energy.

  7. Na says:

    If we cannot manage airport or roads, u think we are equipped to manage nuclear plants? On a separate note, I don’t think they just changed their mind, maybe we were not granted the permission to have nuclear facilities in Kuwait, even if managed by others.

  8. manofthemoment says:

    Your figure assumes only current sources of Uranium (5 million metric tons). Nuclear Energy Authority estimates another 10.5 million in reserves. This assumes no use of fast breeder reactors which generate more fuel than they consume. NEA estimates another 30 000 years without extraction of Uranium from seawater and assuming no fuel enrichment program, longer if you assume the use of those technologies. None of this assumes Thorium. There simply is not a supply problem. Can’t see any greater security risk than Iran has or France at the moment. If France can assume a level of risk, I’m pretty sure Kuwait could. France has many nuclear reactors and has had them for many years, are there lots of accidents in France leading to mega deaths? No, because of enhanced safety procedures.

  9. Omar says:

    one small fact people tend to forget is that solar panel’s efficiency drops with temperature increase.

    • Mark says:

      I guess that depends on the kind of solar station? The one in Nevada is a solar thermal plant so I would imagine the hotter he better.

  10. manofthemoment says:

    I also would imagine dust is a serious problem impacting efficiency.

  11. Mark,
    The video for Shamal Azzour Al Oula can be found on http://www.aznoula.com as the one you highlighted is KDIPA’s video of Shamal Azzour not ours.
    Thank you.

    • Mark says:

      Hey, yes the video I linked to is from KDIPA, but the youtube link links to the point in the video that discusses the power plant.

      • removing KDIPA’s video and adding ours will help alot since most of the information “comments” are incorrect and will benefit both if the full video is added.Especially that Shamal Azzour Al-Oula will have the highest number of Kuwaitisation in Kuwait after PCOD.

        • Mark says:

          Actually removing the KDIPA video and adding yours won’t help a lot. The KDIPA video I linked to highlight the main factors I wanted to get across via infographics, the amount of MW the plant produces and the fact that it will provide 10% of Kuwait’s power. That way if anyone wants to know where I got my numbers from (the source) they can click the link and see it right away. If I link to your video they’re going to have to watch 10 minutes of footage to get to that answer.

          In any case I emailed you awhile ago.

  12. mocman says:

    Doubt they will use panels. CSP is the way to go

  13. khalid says:

    thank god, kuwait cant manage the sewage system now they wana have nuclear plants?!

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