The Guardian

Revealed: Saudi Arabia may have enough uranium ore to produce nuclear fuel

Confidential Chinese report seen by the Guardian intensifies concerns about possible weapons programme
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman declared in 2018 that if regional rival Iran develops a nuclear bomb, ‘we will follow suit as soon as possible’. Photograph: Reuters

Saudi Arabia likely has enough mineable uranium ore reserves to pave the way for the domestic production of nuclear fuel, according to confidential documents seen by the Guardian.

Details of the stocks are contained in reports prepared for the kingdom by Chinese geologists, who have been scrambling to help Riyadh map its uranium reserves at breakneck speed as part of their nuclear energy cooperation agreement.

The disclosure will intensify concerns about Riyadh’s interest in an atomic weapons programme.

The survey report describes how geologists worked all year round despite blistering summer heat to identify reserves that could produce over 90,000 tonnes of uranium from three major deposits in the centre and northwest of the country.

These are “inferred deposits”, estimated from

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