nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Satellite images reveal that Saudi Arabia has almost completed its first nuclear reactor site

Saudi Arabia has almost completed its first nuclear reactor site, satellite images reveal

Saudi Arabia’s latest construction is raising eyebrows in the West, with these new satellite images sparking fears about the kingdom’s quest for power. News.com.au, Gavin Fernando, @gavindfernando, 8 Apr 19

Saudi Arabia has nearly completed construction of its first nuclear reactor, sparking fears about the country’s quest for nuclear power.

New satellite images, first published by Bloomberg, show construction on the building site has made significant process over the past three months.

The three images below [on original] show the rapid developments on the site between April 2017 and today.

The images show the construction of a 10-metre high steel vessel, which would contain nuclear fuel, and construction work on the surrounding concrete building.

The facility is located in the southwest corner of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Riyadh.

………Robert Kelley, a nuclear expert and veteran of the US Department of Energy, said the reactor could be completed in “nine months to a year”.

He said the construction appears to be small in size and intended for research and training purposes.

Mr Kelley also said that, before the kingdom can insert nuclear fuel into the reactor, it would have to abide by international agreements.

He said it had been surprising to him “how non-transparent” the kingdom had been in the process of building the reactor and “how they seem very cavalier about modifying their arrangements with the IAEA”.

Mr Kelley was referring to agreements the kingdom has signed. The kingdom agreed to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty three decades ago. In 2005, it signed an agreement with the IAEA known as the “small quantities protocol” that allowed countries with negligible nuclear programs to be exempt from regular inspections or nuclear monitoring.

However, once nuclear fuel was brought into the country to operate this small reactor, inspections by the IAEA would be required, Mr Kelley added.

…….. He said the Saudi reactor was being built by the Argentinian government-owned company INVAP. Before Argentina brings nuclear fuel to Saudi Arabia for the reactor, the IAEA agreement in place that exempts Saudi Arabia from inspections would need to be rescinded, Mr Kelley said.

“I think it’s a 100 per cent certainty that Argentina is not going to supply uranium fuel to a country that doesn’t have a safeguards agreement in force,” he added.

……….  the kingdom has previously pushed back against agreeing to US standards that would block two paths to potentially making fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Last Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was adamant that it was unacceptable for Saudi Arabia to become a nuclear power.

“We will not permit that to happen. We will not permit that to happen anywhere in the world,” he told CBS. “The President understands the threat of proliferation. We will never write a $150 million check to the Saudis and hand them over the capacity to threaten Israel and the United States with nuclear weapons, never.”

The publication of the satellite images follows a struggle between the Trump administration and Congress over the sale of nuclear technology to Riyadh.

Last month, The Daily Beast revealed the US Department of Energy had approved six authorisations for US companies that were looking to conduct nuclear-related work in the Middle Eastern kingdom.

The approvals, known as Part 810 authorisations, would allow companies to do preliminary work on nuclear power ahead of any deal but not ship equipment that would go into a plant………https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/saudi-arabia-has-almost-completed-its-first-nuclear-reactor-site-satellite-images-reveal/news-story/64346c4fbf0906ee7c2ddb3b95541c4d

 

Advertisements

April 9, 2019 - Posted by | politics, Saudi Arabia

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: