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Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

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Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

Unread postby Sixstrings » Sat 15 Feb 2014, 14:17:50

Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

President Obama wants an agreement with Iran to prevent a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race, but it’s pushing Saudi Arabia toward its own nuke program.

Last month, America’s top Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman had some bad news for ambassadors from America’s Arab allies. In a meeting with envoys from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states, Sherman said that any bargain with Iran would likely leave Tehran, the Gulf states long-time enemy, with the capacity to enrich uranium, according to U.S. officials briefed on the encounter.

And now, one of the countries in the region without a full-blown nuclear programs—Saudi Arabia—may be changing its mind. Riyadh has a long-standing interest in nuclear power. But Western and Israeli intelligence services are starting to see signs that this interest is growing more serious, and extends into nuclear enrichment. Until recently, the pursuit of nuclear enrichment—or the fuel cycle—was considered by arms control experts as a tell-tale sign of a clandestine weapons program. Nuclear fuel is sold to all members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it’s far more costly to build the infrastructure and produce it indigenously. Saudi Arabia appears to be getting more serious about going down that path.

If Saudi Arabia pursue nuclear enrichment even if there is an Iran deal, then the victory to curb atomic weapons that Obama has tried to achieve will be at least partially undone by his own diplomacy.

“They view the developments in Iran very negatively. They have money, they can buy talent, they can buy training,” said David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former weapons inspector. “The Saudis are thinking through how do you create a deterrent through capability.”

Albright said in this particular case, an indigenous Saudi program is in the very early stages. In 2012, the Saudi government announced plans to build 16 commercial reactors by 2030 and signed a technology agreement with China. But Albright said he has heard concerns expressed by a European intelligence agency that Saudi Arabia in recent years has quietly been developing the engineering and scientific knowledge base to one day master the nuclear fuel cycle, or produce the fuel indigenously for the reactors it’s trying to build. He said Saudi Arabia was hiring the scientists and engineers needed to build the cascades of centrifuges needed to produce nuclear fuel. “We don’t worry about the Saudis learning to operate a reactor,” he said. “I worry that they will learn the skills needed to master the fuel cycle.”

Late last year, the BBC reported that Saudi Arabia invested heavily in the Pakistani nuclear weapons program and could easily acquire nuclear technology or even weaponry if the Iranians cross a threshold. Albright, however, said he did not think Saudi Arabia would likely try to acquire a weapon from Pakistan.

A senior administration official told The Daily Beast that the U.S. was working to avoid enrichment proliferation in the Arab world and arguing to Gulf leaders that the Iranian nuclear deal is a net benefit for their own security.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/14/saudi-arabia-may-go-nuclear-because-of-obama-s-iran-deal.html


What a mess.

Don't even know what to say -- we estranged ourselves from our Israeli and Saudi-centered alliance in the middle east. Russia and China have free reign now. Who knows what will happen?

And all for what? A deal that Iran says doesn't even mean anything, and shouts as loudly as they can that this deal they are making means nothing, and they get angry when Obama tells Americans that the deal means something.
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Re: Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sat 15 Feb 2014, 14:26:00

I posted on this a couple of months ago when Obama signed the Iran deal. KSA expressed their disapproval and, since the alliance with the US was on the skids, expressed their right to protect themselves. Apparently KSA has "pre-paid" for Pakistani nukes.

These may have already been delivered to KSA, or may be delivered in the near future.
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Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious Plans for Nuclear Energy

Unread postby AdamB » Wed 17 Jan 2018, 10:27:42

It’s not clear that the plans will work as expected in terms of the announced timeline of completing 16 reactors (17.6 Gwe) by 2032. The cost of the program is close to $90 billion which over a period of more than two decades for a feasible schedule would involve a significant diversion of oil revenue even at $100/BBL. The current price is about $60/bbl and has been in that range since January 2015. Key issues for success are adequate sustained financing, supply chain logistics and reliability, as well as cost control, for three separate sites, and managing the fleet of reactors once they are built. The demand for long lead time components for a new build of this size would raise the prices for them on a global scale. The Reuters wire service reports that Saudi Arabia plans in April or May 2018


Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious Plans for Nuclear Energy
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Re: Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious Plans for Nuclear Energy

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 17 Jan 2018, 11:45:46

AdamB wrote:
It’s not clear that the plans will work as expected in terms of the announced timeline of completing 16 reactors (17.6 Gwe) by 2032. The cost of the program is close to $90 billion which over a period of more than two decades for a feasible schedule would involve a significant diversion of oil revenue even at $100/BBL. The current price is about $60/bbl and has been in that range since January 2015. Key issues for success are adequate sustained financing, supply chain logistics and reliability, as well as cost control, for three separate sites, and managing the fleet of reactors once they are built. The demand for long lead time components for a new build of this size would raise the prices for them on a global scale. The Reuters wire service reports that Saudi Arabia plans in April or May 2018


Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious Plans for Nuclear Energy


Right now KSA uses oil, and in the more modern facilities natural gas, to generate all of their electricity except for the paltry level of solar and wind they installed to make greenwashing happen. By converting their grid over to nuclear they will free up around a MM/bbl/d of crude for export or other use, which seems like a money maker to me.
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Re: Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious Plans for Nuclear Energy

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Wed 17 Jan 2018, 11:53:00

Tanada wrote:Right now KSA uses oil, and in the more modern facilities natural gas, to generate all of their electricity except for the paltry level of solar and wind they installed to make greenwashing happen. By converting their grid over to nuclear they will free up around a MM/bbl/d of crude for export or other use, which seems like a money maker to me.

Absolutely.

And as a side effect, if it provides them the fissionable materials to have nukes for defense from various ME countries, all the better for them (from their perspective, anyway).

In fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all if, behind the scenes, they already have or have access to (as Plant commented on) the nukes they need to defend themselves. After all, look how much economic interdependency they and the US have had. And will continue to have at least for quite a while (depending, perhaps on how things like oil fracking and transportation electrification play out, which are far from certain as to extent and timing in coming decades). So as a "friend" of the US, I could easily see them having tacit permission, and perhaps the military supplies/tech. to do this already.

It's not as if bad actors don't already have nukes, now is it?
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Re: Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 17 Jan 2018, 12:12:53

Well YES, they do. However, KSA is not on friendly terms with Israel, any more than is Iran. A nuclear war in the ME is looming, as Israel certainly has nukes already. Such a war - or even the threat of such a war - could well be the trigger event for the final oil panic, locking us into the downward spiral of more expensive and increasingly rare petroleum supplies.

Maybe all of us waited too long to jump from the oncoming train, and ran out of time.
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Re: Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Wed 17 Jan 2018, 12:22:48

KaiserJeep wrote:Well YES, they do. However, KSA is not on friendly terms with Israel, any more than is Iran. A nuclear war in the ME is looming, as Israel certainly has nukes already. Such a war - or even the threat of such a war - could well be the trigger event for the final oil panic, locking us into the downward spiral of more expensive and increasingly rare petroleum supplies.

Maybe all of us waited too long to jump from the oncoming train, and ran out of time.

Well, the fact that the train exists and should be feared has been well known since at least 1962 (Cuban Missile Crisis.)

But exactly what are people supposed to do about it? Live in a doomstead? Write their favorite congress-critters? Vote for politicians who promise peace (NEITHER side in the US, given BOTH sides' support for the military industrial complex, despite what their rhetoric to voters might be)?

It's one thing to try to prepare oneself financially, so an event like 2008-2009 stings instead of mangles one's finances. By the way, such preparation helps in terms of if, say, gasoline gets to $10 or even $20 a gallon, forcing society to change instead of just talk about it.

But preventing nuclear war? When the US "intelligence" networks don't even know where all the nukes are? I think that's outside the pay grade of 99.9999% of ordinary human beings.

I'm NOT disagreeing with the concern or being snippy -- I just honestly don't know how a normal person is supposed to (realistically) meaningfully do anything about it.
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Re: Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 17 Jan 2018, 12:36:57

OS, I never said there was anything that could be done about the situation, by any one of us or the Donald for that matter. The conflict in the ME is at least 3000 years old.

What you can do is hang on for the ride, and hope to be both not in a target zone and not downwind from one.

I was in my early teens when they warned us not to eat the snow which was contaminated with Strontium 90 from above-ground nuclear weapons testing. That was with the Cuban Missile Crisis fresh in our minds.

The only thing I have ever found to do that actually helps the stress is to watch a macabre yet insanely funny film:
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The Widening Saudi–Iran Divide

Unread postby AdamB » Sun 11 Feb 2018, 20:13:59

The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran marks a deepening division between regional powers and international hegemons in the Persian Gulf. The Saudis and Iranians have to learn to cooperate or risk further confrontation. By Seyed Hossein Mousavian New regional and international coalitions are forming with respect to the Middle East and Persian Gulf. An alliance of Donald Trump-led America, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates faces a new coalition of Iran, Russia, Iraq, Bashar Al-Assad controlled-Syria, Hezbollah and grassroots regional forces such as the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq and the Syrian Defense Forces. The geopolitical competition between these opposing sides can more specifically be described as between the regional states seeking U.S. security guarantees and the creation and consolidation of a U.S.-led regional security order, and those states—such as Iran, Russia, and Syria—who despite their interests not wholly


The Widening Saudi–Iran Divide
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