SNC-Lavalin's Atkins wins Riyadh design services contract
SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business has been awarded the lead design consultant services contract for the Six Flags Qiddiya theme park project in Saudi Arabia from Qiddiya Investment Company.
Located within Qiddiya – the Kingdom’s upcoming capital of entertainment, sports, and arts – the project is south-west of the Saudi capital of Riyadh. A core element of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, Qiddiya has a dual economic and social purpose of advancing economic diversification and unlocking new professional pathways for the country's youth.
Under the terms of the three-year contract, Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, will provide integrated lead design consultant, construction supervision, and cost management services. The scope of work includes public realm and necessary infrastructure within the plot area, along with validation of the pre-concept design.
In addition, the international consultancy will develop sustainability and environmental assessment methods, design criteria and standards for the project.
“This win is a testament to our proven track record for delivering flagship projects worldwide, and market-focused approach to a dynamic and sustainable business growth in the Middle East,” said Cris Dedigama, CEO of Atkins Middle East & Africa, Engineering, Design and Project Management, SNC-Lavalin.
“We are proud to work with Qiddiya on this one-of-a-kind project that supports Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the acceleration of the country’s economic diversification agenda.”
Atkin’s relationship with Qiddiya Investment Company began in 2019 when it provided master planning and infrastructure engineering services for the destination-resort community.
Scheduled to open during the first phase of development for the megaproject, Six Flags Qiddya will cover an area of 32 hectares (79 acres) and will feature 28 uniquely themed rides and attractions across six ‘lands’: The City of Thrills, Discovery Springs, Steam Town, Twilight Gardens, Valley of Fortune and Grand Exposition.
The theme park will also provide both recreational and professional opportunities to the local Saudi population. It will feature several record-breaking attractions, including The Falcon’s Flight, the longest, tallest and fastest rollercoaster in the world.
His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs and of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced the project on April 7, 2017. Ground-Breaking took place on April 28, 2018 and the company, Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC), was incorporated as a closed joint-stock company wholly owned by PIF on May 10, 2018.
“With over 50 years’ presence in the Middle East, Atkins has delivered some of the region’s most iconic amusement parks,” says Ian Redmayne, managing director of Atkins KSA, Engineering, Design and Project Management, SNC-Lavalin.
“We are proud to support the Six Flags Qiddiya project that is set to redefine the entertainment industry not only in the region, but also globally. We look forward to delivering this project to the highest quality, safety and sustainability standards,” he adds.
In 2020, Qiddiya says things haveprogressed from the planning to the construction phase as the mass grading and site preparation began on site, supported by security fencing around the entire premises.
A strategic partnership with DETASAD was also announced, building on the milestones of 2019, which included the approval of the Master Plan, the release of the design of Six Flags Qiddiya and the opening of the Welcome Centre and first site office.
China starts building underground lab for high level waste
China has begun constructing its first underground research laboratory in the Gobi Desert - following more than 35 years of research - to determine its suitability for storing future high level radioactive waste.
As part of the support from the International Atomic Energy Agency, 35 Chinese and 11 international experts took part in a six-week virtual expert mission earlier this year to provide input, guidance and recommendations to support plans for the in-situ laboratory.
“The safe disposal of high level radioactive waste is one of the critical missions for the sustainable development of China’s nuclear industry,” said Liang Chen, Vice President of the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology (BRIUG), which is constructing the underground research laboratory.
China has been working on identifying a suitable site for a HLW repository since 1985, and since 1999 those efforts have been supported by the IAEA.
The country’s strategy for HLW disposal consists of three stages, with stage one – laboratory studies and preliminary site selection – completed in 2020. The second stage, underground in-situ testing, is set to take place from 2021 to 2050, following the construction of the underground research laboratory. The final stage – the construction of the disposal facility – is planned to take place from 2041 to 2050, assuming the in-situ testing confirms the area’s suitability.
High-level radioactive waste can remain radioactive from thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. The internationally accepted solution for its safe and secure long term management is geological disposal in a facility several hundred metres underground. A geological disposal facility is under construction in Finland. (Watch the video Onkalo – A Solution for Nuclear Waste for more details).
“The construction of an underground research laboratory is an opportunity for advancement in the science and engineering of geological disposal facilities and an essential component in a sustainable energy future for countries,” said Stefan Joerg Mayer, Head of the Disposal Team at the IAEA. “Despite the constraints of the pandemic, we were able to design, organize and lead an innovative virtual mission to provide expert assistance to China in the construction of this new R&D facility.”
BRUIG requested the IAEA to provide support on characterisation of the rock mass, as well as scientific research, prior to construction.
The broad range of areas covered resulted in recommendations related to construction, but also guidance related to the implementation of its laboratory R&D plans during the construction phase.
“This virtual Expert Mission was very timely as construction of the underground laboratory began this summer and it provided critical support to this effort,” said Chen. “It has made a great contribution in promoting the sustainable development of China's nuclear industry.”
Nuclear power, as well as hydro power and other renewable energy sources, could collectively replace coal as China’s primary sources of power.
China could have an installed nuclear capacity of 182 gigawatts by 2030, an increase of 74 gigawatts over the policy scenario’s goal, according to McKinsey.
China manufactures 70 percent of the equipment necessary for nuclear plants, and the cost for this equipment has been falling. If the country develops nuclear power to the fullest extent, by 2030 carbon emissions could fall by 470 million tons, at a cost of €3 per ton.