Confidential documents prepared by Chinese geologists and obtained by the Guardian show that those geologists had been rushing to help the kingdom map out its uranium reserves as part of their nuclear energy cooperation agreement with the Communist nation.
The geologists identified reserves that would be able to produce more than 90,000 tons of uranium from three “major deposits” in the center and northwest of the country.
Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that the International Atomic Energy Agency is working with a Chinese-linked institute to find and develop uranium for the Saudis — despite the fact the UN nuclear watchdog’s inspectors are still not permitted in the kingdom.
The IAEA published a document detailing how it was helping the kingdom develop nuclear fuel, something necessary for nuclear power and weapons.
The geologists’ work was also referenced in a statement from the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology, which stated that promising locations were presented to the Saudis’ vice minister for mining affairs at the end of last year.
Saudi Arabia has said it wants to develop uranium for peaceful uses, but Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has said it would develop nukes if regional rival Iran did.
Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called nuclear proliferation by Saudi Arabia a real “risk.”
“We’ve made it a real priority in this administration, working on these proliferation issues,” Pompeo told The Post during an exclusive interview last month.
“We’re trying to take down risk of proliferation all across the world, whether that’s in Iran, Saudi Arabia, or North Korea, or Russia,” he said, naming the oil-rich country along with basket-case regimes.