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June 20, 2015 9:30 am

Saudi Arabia and Russia Sign Major Nuclear Energy Deal

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Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting with Saudi officials in 2007. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting with Saudi officials in 2007. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. Saudi Arabia and Russia on Friday signed a series of agreements to cooperate on nuclear energy development.

The deal came amid a visit to Russia by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, who met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

According to Rosatom, the state-run Russia nuclear body, the deal is the “first in the history of Russia-Saudi relations” and includes the “construction of nuclear power reactors, provision of services in nuclear fuel cycling, including those for nuclear power stations and research reactor facilities,” Russia Today reported.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer, currently has no industrial nuclear power plants.

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The move by the two nations comes as Saudi Arabia, along with several other Arab Gulf states and Israel, have expressed deep concern about the emerging Iran nuclear deal with the P5+1 powers (U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, and Germany). Many analysts fear that the deal would force other countries in the Middle East to develop their own nuclear programs, possibly setting off a nuclear arms race in the region.



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