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24 Feb 15:14

About our Saudi Nuclear Programme news

Latest news on Saudi Arabia's plans to establish a civil nuclear power industry to diversify its economy and energy sources, and to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The country has signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and is a member of the coalition of countries demanding a Nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. However, there have been media reports of Saudi Arabia's intent to purchase a nuclear weapon from an outside source, such as Pakistan.

The country has established the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) to oversee its nuclear and renewable energy projects. The country initially announced a plan to build 16 nuclear reactors by 2032, but this target was abandoned two years later. In 2017, the country approved a National Project for Atomic Energy, including plans to build large and small nuclear reactors for electricity production and water desalination. In 2018, the country signed an agreement with the US to cooperate on civil nuclear energy, but it did not accept the US demand to limit its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities. In 2019, the country was reported to have built a facility for extracting uranium yellowcake from uranium ore with the help of China.

The Saudi government has said that it intends to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, such as generating electricity and desalinating water. However, some countries have expressed concerns that Saudi Arabia could use nuclear technology for military purposes.

In 2023, it was reported that Saudi Arabia is demanding uranium enrichment capabilities on its soil, possibly leading to a U.S.-Saudi-Israeli agreement. Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, indicated that Israel might be open to Saudi Arabia's demand to develop a civil nuclear power plant. Saudi Arabia is keen on developing nuclear power for civilian purposes and is setting specific conditions for normalising relations with Israel. These include access to advanced American defence technology, a defence alliance with the U.S., and U.S.-backed nuclear development.

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