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Introduction

As part of the National Strategic Plan for Science and Technology, the Nuclear Sciences Research Institute (NSRI) works on developing the nuclear technology and its peaceful applications in the Kingdom. The institute plays an active role in the national development plans and the development of the local infrastructure; human capital and research related to the technology. It comprises four national centers specialized in radiation technology, radiation applications, nuclear accelerators, and nuclear technology, in addition to a nuclear regulatory unit.

The National Center for Radiation Technology embarks on several development and applied research projects in the agriculture, manufacturing, and nuclear medicine fields, such as developing electrical cables and heat resistant materials, and improving the quality of crude oil.

As for The National Center for Radiation Applications, it works on several research projects in agriculture, environment, and radiological contamination. The center has contributed in producing several species of enhanced plants that are resistant to high salinity, drought, and diseases. In addition, it has developed national strategies and plans to deal with the natural radiation sources contained in some of the Kingdom’s aquifers..

The National Center for Accelerators Technology implements localization projects for accelerators and related technologies for industrial and research applications. For example, it has developed advanced radiation detectors that are owned by KACST, and It is currently developing engineering designs for advanced nuclear accelerators for medical and security applications with international collaboration.

Moreover, the National Center for Nuclear Technology (NCNT) works on localizing the industry of nuclear technology in the Kingdom. In this regard, the center has conducted leading research on the thermal, nuclear, and mechanical characteristics of construction materials of nuclear reactors. In addition, the center is establishing its first nuclear research reactor in the Kingdom which is designed by its local expertise in addition to other international experts under the supervision of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy. This is the first nuclear reactor to be built in the Kingdom. The center also provides the main national requirements for radiation detection and measurement, and for evaluating the effect of manufacturing and mining activities on the environment. As for the Nuclear Regulatory Unit, it is responsible for radiation protection in KACST. The unit handles the regulatory work and related issues including the documentation and follow-up of radiation doses records for the radiation workers, monitoring of work places and releases, setting security systems for monitoring and controlling radioactive sources and nuclear materials, managing nuclear waste, devising radiological emergency plan, in addition to the other regulatory services and consultation work. The center has also participated in joint studies on radiation protection, and nuclear safety and security.

As KACST has a great interest in the nuclear power and technology, it has signed several agreements with different developed countries and global expertise to promote the peaceful use of the nuclear energy. In addition, KACST participates actively in regional and global collaboration projects with the International Atomic Energy Agency in coordination with King Abdullah City for Nuclear and Renewable Energy.