13:10 GMT +318 January 2020
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    Saudi Arabia continues to move towards nuclear energy development, including uranium enrichment. That’s according to the Kingdom’s new Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.

    “Our approach to nuclear power is to experiment with two nuclear reactors”, the minister said at the World Energy Congress on Monday in Abu Dhabi, but “we are proceeding with it cautiously”, he added.

    Saudi Arabia has said before that it’s interested in diversification and expanding its energy resources beyond fossil fuels, to produce and enrich uranium for its peaceful nuclear programme.

    Saudi political analyst Shahir al Nahhari believes that it’s a step that Rhiyad should have taken a long time ago considering its resources, ambitions and capabilities.

    “Saudi Arabia needs nuclear power to desalinate water and for other energy-consuming projects in the Kingdom.”

    He added: “The Kingdom has every right to build nuclear reactors and enrich uranium. The country has numerous ties with world leaders that can help realise its ambitions.” the expert said.

    If the Americans refuse to help in this matter, then “you can turn to Russia, China, India, Pakistan, European countries,” al Nahhari said.

    The Trump administration approved the transfer of US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia several times, including just weeks after the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.

    The move sparked concern among Democratic and Republican lawmakers and some worry that Saudi Arabia could develop nuclear weapons if US technology is transferred without proper safeguards in place.

    US Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette has said that the US won’t allow Saudi Arabia to bypass the 123 agreement if they want civilian nuclear power that includes US technologies.

    A 123 agreement refers to a section of the US Atomic Energy Act of 1954, under which Washington can co-operate with Ryihad after Saudi Arabia first adopts a set of regulations that are designed to ensure the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

    But Saudi Arabia has refused to adopt the rules.

    Saad bin Omar, director of the Saudi Century Center for Strategic Studies, believes that “everyone knows that the Kingdom has its own Vision for 2030 and aims to diversify energy sources, thus seeks to enrich uranium.” The expert pointed out that since nuclear power plants are being built in the Kingdom, why can’t it produce fuel for its own needs?

    The Saudi Vision 2030 is a plan first announced in 2016, to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and diversify the economy.

    When it comes to objections that some US lawmakers are trying to make about the non-peaceful use of that energy, Saad bin Omar says that “the Kingdom has already signed an agreement on nuclear inspections. The issue of Saudi Arabia’s nuclear development is only being raised in Congress because of the upcoming US elections,” he explained.

    Saudi military and strategic expert, retired general Ali al-Tawati, has reiterated that “the Kingdom is looking to develop its nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes. The nuclear weapons issue will be relevant only if Iran creates a nuclear bomb,” he stressed.

    Al-Tawati didn’t rule out cooperation with America, but said the country could work with other nations:

    “Perhaps cooperation in the nuclear field can be established with the United States, or perhaps with Russia, India, China or Pakistan. We have good relations with these states. In addition, the United States does not want any Arab or Muslim country to possess nuclear weapons,” the military expert concluded.

    Views and opinions, expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik. 


    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    uranium enrichment, nuclear reactor, nuclear energy, Saudi Arabia
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