Saudis stick with oil, rule out nuclear energy

Thursday, February 26, 2004

ABU DHABI Saudi Arabia has again ruled out the prospect that it will develop nuclear energy.

Instead, the kingdom will continue to rely on oil and natural gas for Saudi needs, officials said. They said the kingdom will continue to develop nuclear research for industrial and medical purposes.

Dr. Khaled Al Eissa, deputy director of the Institute of Atomic Energy Research, rejected reports that Saudi Arabia seeks nuclear weapons from Pakistan, Middle East Newsline reported. Al Eissa, who is part of the state-owned King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, said nuclear research has been civilian and funded mostly by local industries including Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corp. and the state-owned Saudi Aramco.

Al Eissa said major institutions such as the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, the Armed Forces Hospital and the Saudi-German Hospital have employed nuclear technology or radio isotopes for diagnosis and therapy. He said the kingdom has drafted a plan to double the network of radiation monitoring centers to 30 by 2006.

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