Saudi calls on US to develop the Kingdom’s nuclear energy capability

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has called on the United States to allow the kingdom to develop its nuclear power capability as it seeks to lessen its domestic consumption of oil.

The country plans to spend $80 billion extra on 16 nuclear reactors over the quarter of a century and is seeking participation from the US in the expansive programme – which is dependent on Saudi signing a “123 Agreement”, or a declaration of peaceful intent.

Saudi Arabia has its own uranium deposits. Now the Kingdom is seeking the same rights as countries in the MENASA region such as India and, perhaps more pertinently, Iran.

Saudi stated its nuclear energy ambitions back in 2006 and in 2010 a royal decree was issued that stated nuclear energy was “essential to meet the kingdom’s growing requirements for energy to generate electricity, produce desalinated water and reduce reliance on depleting hydrocarbon resources”.

Saudi foreign minister Adel Al Jubeir recently spoke at the Munich Security Conference on the issue. He said that they are “talking to… roughly 10 countries or so around the world and we have not made a decision yet with regards to which path we will take and which country we will be focusing on more”, but stressed that they are pursuing the path “in order to produce energy so that we can save the oil and export it in order to generate revenue”.
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