The reactor launched on November 5 is among 16 that Saudi officials, citing archrival Iran’s continued development of nuclear energy, have said they plan to build over the next two decades at a cost of $80 billion.
While Riyadh insists its goal is to diversify away from oil and gas, the main drivers of the kingdom’s economy, the nuclear plans have raised concerns in the West about the possibility of a nuclear race between the two Middle Eastern rivals.
Like Iran, Riyadh insists its only goal is the development of peaceful nuclear technologies. But Prince Muhammad warned in March that if Iran develops a nuclear weapon, Riyadh will do so as well. Continue reading