Saudi Arabia wants to enrich uranium for its nuclear power program, its energy minister said on Monday, potentially complicating talks with Washington on an atomic pact and the role of U.S. companies.
Uranium enrichment has been a sticking point with the United States, especially after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in 2018 that the Sunni Muslim kingdom would develop nuclear arms if regional rival Shi’ite Muslim Iran did.
The world’s top oil exporter says it wants to use nuclear power to diversify its energy mix, but enrichment also opens up the possibility of military uses of uranium.
“We are proceeding with it cautiously … we are experimenting with two nuclear reactors,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said, referring to a plan to issue a tender for the Gulf Arab state’s first two nuclear power reactors.
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