Saudi Arabia plans to use domestic uranium for entire nuclear fuel cycle, says minister

Saudi Arabia has been looking to add atomic power capacity to generate electricity

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman says the kingdom has rich uranium deposits. AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Wednesday the kingdom intended to use domestic uranium for the entire nuclear fuel cycle.

He added that recent exploration had shown a diverse portfolio of uranium in the country.

“The kingdom intends to utilise its national uranium resources, including in joint ventures with willing partners in accordance with international commitments and transparency standards,” Prince Abdulaziz told 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 exportation”.

Prince Abdulaziz was appointed Minister of Energy in September 2019. He has previously said that Saudi Arabia was keen to use domestic uranium deposits to develop a nuclear power industry.

Saudi Arabia, which has been looking at wind and solar power to free up its oil for export, is exploring the use of atomic power capacity to generate electricity.

It expects to have 17 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2040 and bring two reactors with a combined capacity of 3.2GW online within the next decade.

Last month, Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom submitted documents to take part in a tender to build Saudi Arabia's first nuclear power plant, according to Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Updated: January 12, 2023, 3:37 AM