Saudi Arabia Announces Domestic Uranium Extraction Plan for Nuclear Fuel

BE2C2 Report— Saudi officials announced on Monday that they would seek to limit imports of uranium to generate nuclear energy by developing a domestic extraction program to foster “self-sufficiency in producing nuclear fuel.”

“Regarding the production of uranium in the kingdom, this is a program which is our first step towards self-sufficiency in producing nuclear fuel,” the Saudi official in charge of the atomic energy, Hashim bin Abdullah Yamani, said on Monday, report Reuters. Yamani was speaking before an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conference in Abu Dhabi, according to Reuters.

Yamani stated that the harvesting of uranium domestically was meant “to introduce nuclear power for peaceful purposes.”

“The IAEA also has been requested to conduct an integrated review of our nuclear infrastructure during the second quarter of 2018,” he added.

In a separate report on Tuesday, Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia had sent official requests to international nuclear reactor builders for more information on commissioning the construction of reactors to be used in new plants. Reuters cited an “industry source” who told the outlet, “Saudi Arabia has just sent the request for information to various companies and it is being examined.”

Reuters noted in its report that Saudi Arabia’s plan proposes “building some 17.6 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2032, the equivalent of about 17 reactors.”

A nationwide overhaul of energy infrastructure is part of Saudi regime’s “Vision 2030,” a plan to bring the nation into non-oil economy with the development of giant infrastructure developments, industrial projects and renewables on public-private partnership.

Vision 2030 is a pet project of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has taken on a prominent role as the leader of the “modernization” of the country. Bin Salman has made said in public statements that he does not see modernization as merely economic. Last week, he said the purpose of the 2030 plan was to create “a tolerant country with Islam as its constitution and moderation as its method.”

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