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Saudi Arabia to extract uranium for 'self-sufficient' nuclear program

As reported by Reuters.

The article reports:

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 – steps in the fuel cycle which are especially sensitive as they can open up the possibility of military uses of the material.

As a matter of fact, Nobel Peace Price winner Mohamed ElBaradei, former Director General of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (UN IAEA) has indicated that the reason Saudi Arabia, and dozen other Arab countries, are interested in nuclear power programs, is the option that would provide them to pursue nuclear weaponry, if they someday so chose. Saudi Arabia, for example, could see nuclear weapons as a desired hedge against Israel's already established nuclear weapons arsenal, and Iran's potential for one.

Saudi Arabia is not only the "Saudi Arabia of oil," but also the "Saudi Arabia of solar," if the country only chose to tap it, as now U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has observed. This makes Saudi Arabia's claim that nuclear power is being sought for diversification of energy supply -- as opposed to a nuclear weapons option -- all the more suspicious.