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Iran has resolved two outstanding inquiries from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) related to the presence of highly enriched uranium (HEU) particles at several sites. The confidential quarterly report by the IAEA, which is routinely leaked to the press, said inspectors no longer had questions on uranium particles found to be enriched to 83.7% at its underground Fordow facility. This had resulted in tension for the past several months although some resolution was achieved in March following a visit to Tehran by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. Iran had insisted at that time that those particles were a by-product of its current enrichment as particles can reach higher enrichment levels in fluctuations. “The agency informed Iran that, following its evaluation of the data, the agency had assessed that the information provided was not inconsistent with Iran’s explanation ... and that the agency had no further questions on this matter at this stage,” the report said.

Date: Wednesday, 07 June 2023
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsiaea-resolves-some-outstanding-issues-with-iran-10918237

Even oil-rich companies of Middle East are eying reactors, as more nations announce plans for SMRs Russian troops occupied the Zaporizhzhia nuclear station, which was damaged by shelling. File photo courtesy IAEA. 2022 was a year of mega milestones for nuclear energy.

Countries around the world turned to nuclear as a reliable low-carbon energy source as they looked for ways to wean themselves off Russian imports and lower carbon emissions.

New plants began operating, deals for small modular reactors were signed and countries announced ambitious plans for new-build.

On the political front, US president Joe Biden signed into law new legislation that will help to finance struggling nuclear reactors and could save dozens from being shut down early. In Europe, the nuclear industry celebrated when members of the European parliament decided to “follow the science” and support legislation which includes nuclear in the bloc’s sustainable finance taxonomy for green investment.

Date: Tuesday, 10 January 2023
Original article: nucnet.org/news/five-major-developments-that-are-setting-the-stage-for-2023-and-beyond-1-1-2023

The Wall Street Journal has claimed that Saudi Arabia has constructed a facility – with assistance from China – to extract uranium yellowcake from uranium ore, citing western officials with knowledge of the matter.

The US newspaper reported that the processing facility, which has not been publicly disclosed, is in Saudi Arabia’s northwest region and is raising concerns from US officials. It said the main concern is that as the kingdom moves ahead with developing a commercial nuclear programme, it is keeping the door open for the creation of nuclear weapons.

Press reports said the Saudi energy ministry has “categorically denied” that it has built a uranium ore facility in the area described by the western officials. However, the reports quoted Saudi officials as saying that the extraction of uranium is a key component of the kingdom's economic diversification strategy, which looks to move away from its dependence on oil exports.

The energy ministry confirmed Saudi Arabia has a contract with China on uranium exploration in certain areas.

Date: Thursday, 06 August 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/saudi-arabia-press-report-claims-kingdom-has-built-uranium-processing-facility-8-3-2020

US energy secretary Rick Perry. US energy secretary Rick Perry confirmed that talks are continuing with Riyadh about supporting Saudi Arabia’s planned civilian nuclear programme.

Mr Perry told an energy forum that Saudi Arabia wants to sign a ‘123 agreement’ with the US.

A 123 agreement sets out rules governing US nuclear cooperation with other nations.

Under the terms of a 123 agreement, Riyadh must sign an accord with Washington committing to the peaceful use of nuclear technology before US companies can compete for its nuclear energy projects in Saudi Arabia.

Date: Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Original article: nucnet.org/news/talks-continuing-with-us-about-new-nuclear-says-perry-11-2-2019

Saudi Arabia has sent a request for information (RFI) to international suppliers to build two nuclear power plants, the first step towards a formal tender, Reuters reported on 31 October citing “three sources”.

Date: Saturday, 04 November 2017
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newssaudi-arabia-prepares-for-nuclear-construction-5964434

Saudi Arabia and China are to cooperate on nuclear energy projects following discussions on ways to support the Saudi kingdom’s nuclear energy programme during the official visit of Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli to Saudi Arabia, state news agency SPA reported. Saudi Arabia launched a renewable energy programme earlier this year and is in the early stages of feasibility and design studies for its first two commercial nuclear reactors, which will total 2,400MWe. China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) on 24 August signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) to promote further existing cooperation between the two sides to explore and assess uranium and thorium resources, SPA said. The MOU builds on existing cooperation in this field. Under an MOU signed in March, CNNC said it will explore nine potential areas for uranium resources in Saudi Arabia within the next two years.

Date: Monday, 28 August 2017
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newssaudi-arabia-and-china-boost-nuclear-co-operation-5910620