AVA- Progress on the site under construction at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Riyadh has been confirmed by satellite imagery.
Former director for inspections at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Robert Kelley described progress on the reactor as “expeditious,” saying it could be operational within “nine months to a year.”
The next phase, however, would require intensive international inspections.
"They've been exempt for 30 years since they signed a non-proliferation treaty," said Kelley. "Now they're going to have to make some serious paperwork and agree to inspections" if they want to acquire nuclear fuel.
He further downplayed concerns that the reactor in Riyadh could be used to create a nuclear weapon, telling CNN that it would take a century to enrich enough plutonium.
“It’s the size of a waste basket and has no strategic importance,” Kelley said, adding it was only meant for training scientists.
In an interview with CBS on Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration would “not permit [Saudi Arabia becoming a nuclear-armed nation] to happen."
“We will not permit that to happen anywhere in the world. The President understands the threat of proliferation. We will never write a $150 million check to the Saudis and hand them over the capacity to threaten Israel and the United States with nuclear weapons, never.”
The US nuclear deal with Saudis, however, is assumed to be lucrative enough to match the money-driven politics of the American president, a businessman-turned-politician who is not afraid of overstepping boundaries for more dollars.
On Friday, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano asked Saudi Arabia to implement safeguards for its nuclear reactor.
Monday 8 April 2019 22:27