Saudi Arabia said it’s interested in studying technology for small modular nuclear reactors, as the Middle East’s largest oil producer looks to diversify its energy sources and generate cleaner power for domestic use and export.

The kingdom is "a late-comer” to nuclear power and aims to study all types and applications of atomic generation, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the Saudi energy minister, said Sunday at a climate conference in the capital, Riyadh. Saudi Arabia has been building a test reactor and is seeking U.S. assistance as it looks to develop a nuclear program.

The Persian Gulf is becoming the focus in the fight against climate change later this year as the United Arab Emirates prepares to host the annual United Nations summit aimed at protecting the environment and curbing emissions. But while OPEC members Saudi Arabia and the UAE work to develop renewable sources like solar power and carbon-capture systems, they’re also investing to expand oil-output capacity.