Saudi Nuclear Plans Fuel Geopolitical Concerns

Saudi Arabia’s construction of a research reactor is stoking concerns about whether Riyadh’s plans for nuclear power plants include a hidden military element.

Saudi Arabia is nearing completion of a nuclear research reactor at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (Kacst) in Riyadh.

The plant is being built by Argentina’s state-owned Invap, under a contract signed with Kacst in 2014. The 30kW rated unit will produce neutron beams for research, training and manufacturing medical isotopes, as opposed to heat for driving steam turbines as in a nuclear power plant.

While this will be Saudi Arabia’s first reactor, eight Mena countries – Iran, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Algeria, Egypt, Libya and Morocco – already operate small research reactors, while Iraq has two that are shut down permanently, according to London’s World Nuclear Association. (CONTINUED - 1109 WORDS)

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table MENA Nuclear Power Projects