The International Atomic Energy Agency is working with an institute affiliated with China to search for and develop uranium for Saudi Arabia, even though UN nuclear surveillance inspectors are not allowed into the Kingdom, the report said on Tuesday.
The IAEA has released a document showing that it helps the kingdom produce nuclear fuel – a key component of nuclear energy and weapons, according to Bloomberg News.
At the same time, Chinese geologists are working with colleagues in Saudi Arabia to search for uranium deposits in the northwest, and promising sites were presented to the Saudi Deputy Minister of Mining late last year, the Beijing Uranium Geological Research Institute said in a statement. the report says.
The institute has cooperation agreements with the IAEA, according to Bloomberg.
“It is very important that the agency be present and cooperate with any country that wants to carry out any activity related to the nuclear fuel cycle,”; said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi.
Saudi Arabia has said it wants to develop uranium for peaceful purposes, but Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has said he will develop nuclear weapons if Iran’s regional rival does so.
Grossi also noted that the Vienna-based agency had provided the Saudis with limited information on how to produce uranium fuel and was in talks with Saudi officials to allow inspectors to monitor the way fuel is produced and used.
Grossi said the agency was considering repealing the rules if it could determine that nuclear development was for peaceful purposes.
“I approach them, telling them that in 2020 it is already inadequate,” Grossi said. “We have to meet minimum standards.”
Saudi Arabia, which is nearing completion of its first reactor, is one of 31 countries subject to old IAEA regulations banning inspectors.
The Institute of Geology referred further issues from Bloomberg to China National Nuclear Corp.