Saudi Arabia plans to use uranium for entire nuclear fuel cycle, minister says
Saudi Arabia has discovered “significant quantities” of uranium in the Kingdom and will use it to fuel the development of its nuclear power industry, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Wednesday.
The Kingdom wants to use nuclear power to diversify its energy mix, Prince Abdulaziz told a mining conference in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia “intends to utilize its national uranium resources, including in joint ventures with willing partners in accordance with international commitments and transparency standards,” he said.
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 UAE has the Arab world’s only multiunit operating nuclear energy plant. It has pledged not to enrich uranium itself and not to reprocess spent fuel.
Addressing the second day of the Future Minerals Forum, Prince Abdulaziz set out the government’s plans to be a global leader in the mining sector, and reinforced the Kingdom’s determination to develop renewable energy and its ambition to become a global hub for green metal industries that would lead to more investment in the sector.
He said the Kingdom had an abundance of metals and minerals now greatly in demand in the world and was developing the structure and partnerships that could exploit them to the best advantage.
“Recent explorations showed a diverse portfolio of uranium in different geological locations within the Kingdom such as Jabal Saeed, Madinah, and Jabal Qariah in the north,” he said.
“Along with uranium, rare minerals such as titanium have been identified in significant quantities in the Kingdom, unlocking even greater investment
Prince Abdulaziz said the conference was a “stage for us as Saudi Arabia to reconfigure the perception of Saudi Arabia.”
He said: “Saudi Arabia has of course a leading global oil industry and we are well on the way to becoming a global leader in all forms of clean energy encompassing hydrocarbons, renewable and clean hydrogen to complement our artificial skills in oil and gas.”
The minister said the government had set “ambitious targets for its energy mix,” and this would require “a large scale of deployment of solar, wind and battery storage projects across the Kingdom. Manufacturing these components will also create a demand surge for minerals like copper, aluminum, zinc, nickel, lithium, and silicon,” he said.