Saudi Arabia Could Enrich Uranium, Adviser Says

Saudi Arabia could be interested in developing a uranium enrichment capability as part of the kingdom's efforts to establish a civilian atomic power sector, an adviser hired by the Middle Eastern state to devise its nuclear strategy said Wednesday (see GSN, Aug. 24, 2009).

The uranium enrichment process can produce nuclear-weapon material as well as fuel for civilian applications.

Over time, Riyadh is expected to want to be involved in as many parts of the atomic energy production process as it can be, said David Cox, a consultant whose firm was hired by Saudi Arabia to prepare the nuclear strategy.

"Enrichment could happen there and the same with mining uranium," Cox said, adding that "outsourcing will happen initially."

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy chose Cox's firm, Poyry, to analyze the potential for Saudi participation in all aspects of the atomic-energy production process, Reuters quoted the consultant as saying.

Cox said his firm's study "is to evaluate what part of [nuclear energy production] is possible at a reasonable economic cost."

The feasibility study would be finished in several months and would contain comprehensive guidance on the economic, institutional and technical aspects needed for beginning nuclear plant construction, he said (Reuters/Daily Star, June 18).

June 18, 2010
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Saudi Arabia could be interested in developing a uranium enrichment capability as part of the kingdom's efforts to establish a civilian atomic power sector, an adviser hired by the Middle Eastern state to devise its nuclear strategy said Wednesday (see GSN, Aug. 24, 2009).

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