Saudi Arabia affirms commitment to nuclear energy at international conference|Arab News Japan

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Arab News

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will sign up its nuclear power program to a comprehensive international safeguards framework in keeping with the Kingdom’s principles of transparency, reliability, and safety.

Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman made the announcement at the 67th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Austria, as he outlined his belief in the positive contributions of the power source to energy security, as well as its social and economic benefits.

He stressed the Kingdom is actively working to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy in various fields in close cooperation with the IAEA, adhering to international best practices and experiences.

This includes Saudi Arabia’s National Atomic Energy Project, which encompasses the construction of its first nuclear power station.

“The Kingdom has recently taken the decision to rescind its Small Quantities Protocol and to move to the implementation of a full-scope Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement,” said the minister.

He revealed that Saudi Arabia aims to activate a regional cooperation center in partnership with the IAEA to enhance its preparedness for nuclear emergencies. 

During his address, Prince Abdulaziz outlined that the center will work toward improving human capabilities in radiological emergency preparedness and response, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The center will also address regulatory aspects at national, regional, and international levels.

This initiative aligns with the Kingdom’s commitment to global efforts to uphold the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Prince Abdulaziz emphasized the importance of countering nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, which requires the full implementation of a resolution to establish a nuclear weapons-free zone in the region.

Additionally, the energy minister announced Saudi Arabia’s support for the “Rays of Hope” initiative by the IAEA, contributing $2.5 million. This initiative focuses on using nuclear technologies to combat cancer and save lives.

Furthermore, Prince Abdulaziz also commended the IAEA and its member states on the upcoming inauguration of the Nuclear Security Training Center in Seibersdorf, scheduled for October. 

He highlighted the Kingdom’s role in initiating the idea and providing financial support in collaboration with other nations.

The minister praised the agency’s commitment to neutrality and its efforts in addressing non-proliferation concerns. He reaffirmed the fundamental right of states to utilize peaceful nuclear technology, encompassing participation in the nuclear fuel cycle and the commercial utilization of natural uranium resources, in alignment with pertinent international treaties and agreements.

Prince Abdulaziz reiterated Saudi Arabia’s backing for the IAEA in utilizing nuclear technology for the improvement of humanity. He urged the international community to engage in constructive cooperation for its advancement while strongly addressing any instances of non-peaceful and unsafe utilization of nuclear technologies.

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