Lost Among the Scandals, Saudis Begin Enriching Uranium

September 10, 2019


 Saudi Arabia new energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has announced the kingdom plans to enrich uranium for its future civilian nuclear power program. The move could mark the start of a race for nuclear weapons in the Gulf as attempts by the United States and European Union to strike a new deal with Iran on its nuclear plan falter. 

Reuters reported that the kingdom’s new energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, told a meeting of the OPEC oil cartel in Abu Dhabi on Monday: “We are proceeding with it cautiously … we are experimenting with two nuclear reactors.”
It comes after the kingdom, which is the world’s largest oil producer, said it wanted to expand its energy resources at home beyond fossil fuels in order to free up more oil for export. The nuclear reactors could be one alternative.
Saudi’s former energy minister said in April that Riyadh’s use of the reactors would be peaceful and in compliance with “international framework governing … nuclear energy and its peaceful use.” However, the kingdom previously said it would not sign any deal that would restrict its nuclear program. The same technology used to enrich uranium for civilian reactors can also be used to produce fuel for nuclear weapons  


Ultimately the kingdom wanted to go ahead with the full cycle of the nuclear program, including the production and enrichment of uranium for atomic fuel, he told an energy conference in Abu Dhabi. 

The tender is expected in 2020, with U.S., Russian, South Korean, Chinese and French firms involved in preliminary talks about the multi-billion-dollar project.

Reuters has reported that progress on the discussions has been difficult because Saudi Arabia does not want to sign a deal that would rule out the possibility of enriching uranium or reprocessing spent fuel – both potential paths to a bomb. 
International concerns about the dual technology helped lead to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and global powers. Under the deal Iran can enrich uranium to around the normal level needed for commercial power production. 
But in response to U.S. sanctions imposed since Washington withdrew from the deal in May last year, Iran has been breaching the limits it imposed on its atomic activities step by step.

3 Responses to “Lost Among the Scandals, Saudis Begin Enriching Uranium”

  1. […] via Lost Among the Scandals, Saudis Begin Enriching Uranium | Climate Denial Crock of the Week […]

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Oh joy.

  3. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    Oh shit!

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