SAUDI ARABIA - Nuclear Reactor Sparks Fears

Arno Froese

Saudi Arabia has nearly completed construction of its first nuclear reactor, sparking fears about the country’s quest for nuclear power.

New satellite images, first published by Bloomberg, show construction on the building site has made significant process over the past three months.

The images show the construction of a 10-meter high steel vessel, which would contain nuclear fuel, and construction work on the surrounding concrete building.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry said its purpose was to “engage in strictly peaceful scientific, research, educational and training activities in full compliance with international agreements.”

The kingdom agreed to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty three decades ago. In 2005, it signed an agreement with the IAEA known as the “small quantities protocol” that allowed countries with negligible nuclear programs to be exempt from regular inspections or nuclear monitoring.

Saudi Arabia announced its nuclear ambitions nine years ago. The world’s top oil exporter laid out plans in its Vision 2030 campaign to diversify its energy mix.

But the United States is concerned the nuclear technology could have potential military uses.

The publication of the satellite images follows a struggle between the Trump administration and Congress over the sale of nuclear technology to Riyadh.

The Daily Beast revealed the US Department of Energy had approved six authorizations for US companies that were looking to conduct nuclear-related work in the Middle Eastern kingdom.

The approvals, known as Part 810 authorizations, would allow companies to do preliminary work on nuclear power ahead of any deal but not ship equipment that would go into a plant.

-www.news.com.au, 9 April 2020

Arno's commentary

Saudi Arabia’s population stands at 34 million people, with about 30% being non-Saudi citizens. Life expectance is 76.2 years. As one of the richest countries in the world, the GDP per capita is listed as $54,500. The economy is strongly based on petroleum products: 87%. Saudi Arabia possesses about 16% of the world’s proven petroleum reserves and is the largest oil exporter in the world.

Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the US is considered excellent. Why? One word: money. That obviously is a contributing reason for the relatively positive global media coverage about this country.

What about religion? The country may be considered one of the most oppressive governments in the world when it comes to religious freedom. The World Factbook, published by the CIA, has this to say:

Despite having a large expatriate community of various faiths (more than 30% of the population), most forms of public religious expression inconsistent with the government-sanctioned interpretation of Sunni Islam are restricted; non-Muslims are not allowed to have Saudi citizenship and non-Muslim places of worship are not permitted (2013).

-https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html

Wikipedia states:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic State. Its religion is Islam. Its constitution is Almighty God’s Book, The Holy Qur’an, and the Sunna (Traditions) of the Prophet. 
-en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Saudi_Arabia

In the meantime, Saudi Arabia is developing—although not officially—a relationship with the Jewish state, Israel. Ironically, Saudi Arabia has signed the non-proliferation treaty, yet Israel has not, along with the two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, as well as South Sudan.

Geographically, today’s Saudi Arabia is listed as the world’s largest peninsula.

From a Biblical perspective, it speaks of the northern part, identifying it as “Arabia” (see Isaiah 21:13; Jeremiah 25:24; Ezekiel 27:21). Based on Unger’s Bible Dictionary, copyright 1957 by the Moody Bible Institute, parts of Saudi Arabia are also identified as ancient Ethiopia. “Moreover the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians” (2 Chronicles 21:16).

In spite of the oppressive regime, the Church in Saudi Arabia is growing according to reliable reports. Jesus said, “I will build my church.” No political or geographical boundaries—no law by whatever government—can hinder the building of His Church.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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