Skip to main content

Saudi Arabia inches closer to nuclear power with wider IAEA access

The kingdom's energy minister said that the country plans tougher checks by the International Atomic Energy Agency on its nuclear activities.
Prince Abdulaziz

Saudi Arabia moved to advance its nuclear power program on Monday, saying that it would update its policy and give the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) wider access to its facilities to account for atomic materials. 

The news comes amid rising concerns that the kingdom has ambitions to eventually build its own nuclear weapons amid heightened rhetoric from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). 

Speaking in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Monday at the IAEA’s annual conference, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud said the kingdom would discard an outdated set of rules that has stymied progress on its nuclear program. 

Saudi Arabia's program was monitored under the Small Quantities Protocol, an agreement with the IAEA that exempts countries with little to no nuclear material from many reporting obligations and inspections.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.