The Middle East and Gulf region faces unique challenges and perceived opportunities when it comes to nuclear power. The tense geopolitical environment makes nuclear power an even more controversial issue here than elsewhere as competing states share the unease that neighbors may use civilian nuclear programs for military ends. It is not that nuclear military interests are sole drivers of support for civil nuclear power, but the fact is dual-use technology comprises a significant complementary factor. This dynamic plays out via a range of safety and security concerns. Unless enrichment of uranium and reprocessing technologies are effectively regulated against diversion of civil materials for military purposes, the reality is that new nuclear power plants can and will provide the cover to develop and make nuclear weapons. Whether that capability is turned into actual weapons largely depends on political inclination. For example, in response to developments in Iran, Saudi Arabia has made it clear on more than one occasion that there is another reason for their interest in nuclear energy – the relationship between civil and nuclear weapon programs.
NCT Middle East (accessed) 1st July 2021 read more »