Sunday, July 12, 2015

'CHANGE' - "Saudis are well on their way to achieving their ambitious goal of building 16 nuclear reactors by 2032"


'CHANGE' - "Saudis are well on their way to achieving their ambitious goal of building 16 nuclear reactors by 2032" (MEE).

As US Secretary of State John Kerry leads the P5+1 group - the US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany - in last-ditch talks aimed at thwarting any ambitions Iran may have to build a nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia has been on a hectic multi-billion dollar spending spree in the global nuclear technology marketplace.

The French and the Saudis will undertake feasibility studies aimed at securing contracts for two nuclear reactor facilities to be built by Areva, a French company that has struggled to secure export sales for its EPR reactor.

That followed hard on the heels of a deal with Russia to cooperate on nuclear energy development.

Add that to a similar agreement signed with South Korea in early March, as well as deals with China and Argentina, and the Saudis are well on their way to achieving their ambitious goal of building 16 nuclear reactors by 2032.

The thing is, the Iranians have said pretty much the same thing. But unlike the Saudis, Iran publicly insists there is no hidden agenda toward building a nuclear weapon. There will be, they claim, no bomb. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei himself has said so. The world, however, is wise to take the claim with a large dose of salt. Iran is a rising power with a strong desire and the clear intent to challenge Saudi Arabia for regional hegemony. So we are right to be wary. Hence the forensic examination of Iranian claims and the stiff demands for extensive international oversight of the country’s nuclear reactor facilities.

The Saudis on the other hand have made it very clear and quite public that when it comes to the bomb, all options are on the table. Most recently, Nawaf Obaid, an analyst who often reflects official Saudi government policy wrote in the Telegraph newspaper of a “nuclear defence doctrine”.

He went on to claim that the kingdom already has the “capability to produce HEU (highly enriched uranium), the skills to add PMDs (possible military dimensions) and the advanced deliverable systems onto which nuclear warheads can be placed. It now possesses all three of these systems”.

Citing the widely held belief that Iran is poised to nuclear arm itself, Obaid concludes that nuclear weapons are “seen by the Saudi leadership as absolutely necessary to carry out their most important mission: the defence of the realm”. Hmmmm........Deal with Iran to make world a safer place, says Obama. Read the full story here.

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