Saudi plans to ex­tract ura­nium

Ex­tract­ing its own ura­nium also makes sense from an eco­nomic point of view, said Hashim bin Ab­dul­lah Ya­mani, head of the Saudi gov­ern­ment agency tasked with the nu­clear plans

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

ABU DHABI: Saudi Ara­bia plans to ex­tract ura­nium do­mes­ti­cally as part of its nu­clear power pro­gramme and sees this as a step to­wards “self-suf­fi­ciency” in pro­duc­ing atomic fuel, a se­nior of­fi­cial said on Mon­day.

Ex­tract­ing its own ura­nium also makes sense from an eco­nomic point of view, said Hashim bin Ab­dul­lah Ya­mani, head of the Saudi gov­ern­ment agency tasked with the nu­clear plans, the King Ab­dul­lah City for Atomic and Re­new­able En­ergy (KACARE).

In a speech at an in­ter­na­tional nu­clear power con­fer­ence in Abu Dhabi, he did not spec­ify whether Saudi Ara­bia seeks to also en­rich and re­pro­cess ura­nium.

Saudi says it wants to tap atomic power for peace­ful pur­poses only in or­der to di­ver­sify its en­ergy sup­ply and will award a con­struc­tion con­tract for its first two nu­clear re­ac­tors by the end of 2018.

“Re­gard­ing the pro­duc­tion of ura­nium in the king­dom, this is a pro­gramme which is our first step to­wards self-suf­fi­ciency in pro­duc­ing nu­clear fuel,” Ya­mani told a con­fer­ence or­gan­ised by the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA). “We utilise the ura­nium ore that has been proven to be eco­nom­i­cally ef­fi­cient.”

Saudi Ara­bia would be the sec­ond coun­try in the Gulf Arab re­gion to tap nu­clear af­ter the United Arab Emi­rates, which is set to start up its first, South Korean-built re­ac­tor in 2018.

The UAE has com­mit­ted not to en­rich ura­nium it­self and not to re­pro­cess spent fuel.

In­dus­try sources have told Reuters Saudi Ara­bia is reach­ing out to po­ten­tial ven­dors from South Korea, China, France, Rus­sia, Ja­pan and the United States for its first two re­ac­tors.

The plans have re­ceived ex­tra mo­men­tum as part of Saudi Ara­bia’s Vi­sion 2030, an am­bi­tious eco­nomic re­form pro­gramme launched last year by Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man.

Ya­mani said Saudi Ara­bia will soon pass laws for its nu­clear pro­gramme and will have set up all of the reg­u­la­tions for its nu­clear reg­u­la­tor by the third quar­ter of 2018. Full story @ time­so­fo­man.com/world

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