Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.
WASHINGTON – Saudi Arabia is looking to 2020 to have online its first nuclear power plant and potentially to 2030 to construct up to 60 reactors, a rather optimistic forecast for an already overburdened electrical grid system, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Such a scenario means that from 2020 to 2030, up to six reactors would have to be built annually.
Saudi Arabia is just one of the Middle East oil producers – including Iran – that sees nuclear energy as an alternative approach to maintain economic growth considering what is viewed as a continually diminishing finite resource of oil.
The Saudis consume more than 1.5 million barrels of oil domestically a day at $4.50 a barrel. They would rather sell that oil on the international market, where it goes for some $125 a barrel.
Analysts say, however, that Saudi Arabia’s nuclear intentions are overly ambitious and they will have to resort more to an energy mix of alternative fuel sources as a substitute for fossil fuels.
Plans for coming up with alternative fuel sources to cope with an overworked electrical grid system are being drawn up at the recently constructed King Abdullah Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy, or KACARE.
A survey of sites to construct the nuclear reactors now is under way, as is a study for technology selection of other alternative energy sources.
Ground-breaking for the first nuclear reactor site is to take place in 2014. Not only is Saudi Arabia involved in developing nuclear energy for civilian use but so are Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Besides their increasing energy demand, there also is a political motivation to pursue nuclear energy seriously. The reason is that the Arab states do not want to fall behind Iran and Israel in developing nuclear technologies.
Iran’s nuclear ambitions, however, are the subject of Western sanctions out of concern that the Islamic republic wants to use its nuclear development program to make nuclear weapons.
Iran strongly denies that its nuclear program is to make nuclear weapons and has expressed similar reasons as the Saudis for wanting to pursue nuclear development as an alternative source of energy, given that its fossil fuel resources similarly are finite.
Yet, there has been no concern expressed by Western countries over other Arab countries’ intentions of developing nuclear energy as has occurred over Iran’s program, although the Saudis have expressed publicly the possibility of using their nuclear program to develop nuclear weapons if Iran does.
Those Arab countries joining Saudi Arabia in pursuing nuclear energy similarly either have ratified or acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as has Iran.
Israel, along with India and Pakistan, refuses to sign the NPT, even though they all have nuclear weapons. North Korea at one time was a signatory but since has pulled out of the treaty.
One of the areas where nuclear energy will be important to these Arab countries is in nuclear desalination to change salt water to fresh water.
Some 60 percent of worldwide desalination occurs in the Middle East region, with Saudi Arabia accounting for some 18 percent of that total.
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