BEIJING – China and Saudi Arabia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to push forward cooperation on nuclear energy, China’s top state assets regulator said Monday. 

The two sides will speed up uranium and thorium exploration in Saudi Arabia to meet the country’s demand for radioactive resources, according to the agreement between China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Saudi Geological Survey. 

Under a previous MOU signed in March this year, the CNNC has already completed a two-month field geological survey in nine Saudi Arabian regions and targeted a number of areas for next-stage development, said the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC). 

Saudi Arabia has launched a nuclear development plan and is seeking international partners to build its nuclear industry and improve the country’s energy mix to ease its dependence on oil and gas in power generation. 

The CNNC has been working closely with Saudi Arabian authorities and progress has being made in sectors such as uranium resources, nuclear fuel recycling and nuclear-powered water desalination, the SASAC said. 

China and Saudi Arabia agreed to set up a series of bilateral energy cooperation mechanisms during Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli’s visit to the Gulf Arab country last week. 

The two sides have also reached broad consensus on bilateral cooperation in fields including energy, finance and industrial capacity.