Saudi Arabia Plans Domestic Uranium Utilization

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman said Thursday that the Kingdom was exploring options for harvesting and utilizing its own uranium for nuclear fuel, stating a variety of domestic supplies were available.

Uranium in Middle East“Recent explorations of activities showed a diverse portfolio of uranium in different geological locations within the Kingdom, such as Jabal Saeed, Madinah, Jabal Qarigh in the north,” he said at the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh.

“This would involve the entire nuclear fuel cycle, which involves the production of yellowcake, low enriched uranium and the manufacturing of nuclear fuel both for our national use and, of course, for export.”

The Middle Eastern Kingdom that has been a major oil exporter for decades has plans to build 16 nuclear reactors which would produce about 20 percent of the country’s electricity. There are also plans to deploy small modular reactors at various locations for electricity generation and for desalination.

Saudi Arabia has put out feelers for cooperative nuclear power agreements with Russia, Japan, South Korea and China.

It has signed agreements with the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Invap of Argentina and the China Nuclear Engineering Corporation.

“Along with uranium, rare minerals such as titanium have been identified in significant quantities in the Kingdom, unlocking even greater investment opportunities,” the Energy Minister said, as quoted by Nuclear Engineering International.

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