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Nuclear desalination system

Development of reactor safety concepts and nuclear desalination system

Cheap electricity and production of pure water by nuclear powered energy technology


In March, 2015, Kingdom has signed an agreement with South Korea for building up of dual purpose SMART nuclear reactor developed by Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI).Due to its passive safety features and inherent safety concept, this reactor would be most suitable to new countries willing to start nuclear power. Considering the design of the reactor, some of the safety features can be added to reactor design to get it safer. These features can improve safety while mitigating the accident scenarios. The choice of adopting safety features includes addition of passive system and pool type reactor concept. The concept is very useful to improve the safety performance of the reactor and the concept can be applicable to any nuclear reactor. Fresh water is one of the main concerns in Gulf countries for their sustainable development, the actual production of electric power and desalted water in Saudi Arabia is about 40 GW and 3.3 Mm3/day, which require consumption of about 2.5 M barrel/day of petrol. Since SMART reactor is a dual purpose plant used for electricity and for desalination applications. Therefore, there is a need to developed coupled nuclear desalination systems not only for SMART reactor but also for other SMRs as well.

Our Research

At SET center, we are developing theoretical model and conduct simulation for reactor safety specifically for small modular reactors. Currently, our main emphasize is on developing safer model for SMART reactor with coupled desalination unit. We have already performed technical and economical analysis for three reactors namely ABV, CAREM and SMART. The viability of nuclear desalination option across MENA regions have also been studied and published in reputed journal.

Technology Impact
  • Dual purpose plant produces cheap electricity and purified water production as compared to any other technologies
  • Increased safety thus lessen probability of accident and viable solution for pure water production

Prototype: Simulation model for safer reactor and coupled desalination unit

Current Applications: Nuclear power generation and desalination

Future Applications: Investigate safety performance and cost estimation before reactor operation

Industrial scope: Cheap electricity, hydrogen production, sea water desalination, district heating


  1. Salah Ud-Din Khan et al, Development and techno-economic analysis of small modular nuclear reactor and desalination system across Middle East and North Africa region, Desalination, xxx, 2016
  2. Salah Ud-Din Khan et al, Theoretical calculation simulation studies of ABV nuclear reactor coupled with desalination system, Int. J. Energy Res. 39:1554–1563.2015.