Saudi Arabia built a yellowcake uranium facility
Image Credit: Energy Fuels Inc
Saudi Arabia has built a facility to process yellowcake uranium from ores, with the help of China. Uranium yellowcake is a powdered form of uranium ore that occurs naturally in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. It can be processed into a fine powder where it can than be further enriched, to be used for nuclear energy plants. The yellowcake can be highly enriched to create a nuclear weapon.
The facility’s location is unknown, but it is thought to be in a sparsely populated area in NorthWest Saudi Arabia. They denied that they have a facility, but acknowledged that they have a contract with China to aid them in Uranium enrichment.
There are concerns that Saudi Arabia might be trying to enrich the uranium to build its own nuclear weapons. This has prompted US senators to ask for full details of their contracts in an attempt to establish a nuclear cooperation with the Saudis. The concern that Saudi Arabia might be trying to build a nuclear weapon is not baseless. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s pledge in 2018, where he vowed that, ‘If Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.’ Ever since the nuclear negotiations between US and Iran fell apart, the risk of both countries developing nuclear weapons became real. Israel has suggested ways for Saudi Arabia, to steer away from nuclear weapon proliferation and seek nuclear energy for peaceful purposes only.
Recently, news of UAE’s startup of its first nuclear reactor for peaceful purposes has prompted experts to suggest that a Middle East nuclear arms race could be in the making. Some experts believe that UAE might eventually seek a nuclear weapon. Read more about this here: