Saudi Arabia will buy 16 nuclear power plants from Russia for $100 billion despite terrorism concerns, according to a Monday announcement from a government-controlled nuclear power company.
Saudi Arabia has a long history of terrorist attacks within its borders, and the country itself has been accused of directly funding Islamic terrorism. The planned reactors would be incredibly vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Saudi Arabia’s new reactors would not produce the weapons-grade plutonium necessary to make a nuclear weapon, but materials from them could be used to create dirty bombs. A dirty bomb combines radioactive material with conventional explosives that could contaminate the local area with high radiation levels for long periods of time and cause mass panic, though it would be millions of times weaker than an actual nuclear device. The Islamic State wants to steal this kind of radioactive material for a dirty bomb.
“There are prospects for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy,” Yury Ushakov, aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, told journalists. “Our company, which has the most advanced technologies, is ready to join the project on construction of 16 nuclear power reactors in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The project is provided until 2030, its cost is $100 billion,”
Russia and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement last year to work together on “peaceful” nuclear energy projects. The stated purpose of these reactors is to generate electricity, power desalination plants and reduce domestic oil consumption so Saudi Arabia can sell the oil abroad. The reactors will be built by the Russian government controlled Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Cooperation.
Russia has supported the development of nuclear power in other countries with terrorism problems, such as Algeria, Iran and Egypt.
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