Saudi Arabia is closely cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is actively working to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy in various fields, announced Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.
Prince Abdulaziz announced the Kingdom's support for the 'Rays of Hope' initiative launched by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), with a contribution amounting to $2.5 million. It aims to save lives and address the burden of cancer by using nuclear techniques.
The Minister addressed the Kingdom's perspective at the 67th General Assembly meeting of IAEA in Vienna. Representatives from the agency's 177 member countries attended the meeting held between September 25th and 29th.
At the onset of his speech, the Minister reaffirmed the Kingdom's commitment to its national nuclear energy policy, emphasizing the utmost standards of transparency, reliability, and top-tier safety measures.
He elaborated that Saudi Arabia believes in the positive contributions of nuclear energy to energy security and its social and economic benefits.
The Kingdom is working to develop peaceful uses for nuclear energy across various fields through close cooperation with IAEA, including the Saudi National Atomic Energy Project and its components, and building the first nuclear energy power plant.
The Minister said that the Kingdom is looking forward to operating a regional cooperation center with the IAEA to develop human capabilities in the areas of preparedness and response to radiological and nuclear emergencies, as well as other regulatory aspects at national, regional, and international levels.
Saudi Arabia emphasizes the importance of concerted international efforts to implement the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, ensuring its universal adherence, he said, reaffirming the significance of countering nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
"In this regard, we reaffirm the importance of fully implementing Resolution 1995, which aims to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East," the Minister said.
Furthermore, he congratulated the IAEA and its member states on the upcoming Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre launch in Seibersdorf, scheduled to be operational in October of this year. Saudi Arabia and other countries collaborated on establishing and funding it.
The Kingdom hopes this center will serve as a key enabler for the agency in strengthening the capabilities of all member states in many areas of nuclear security.
The Minister voiced the Kingdom's appreciation for the IAEA's role in maintaining neutrality and its outstanding efforts in dealing with non-proliferation issues by maintaining its safeguards and verification responsibilities.
He also expressed the Kingdom's appreciation for the agency's efforts in ensuring that these activities represent important principles and contribute effectively to the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Prince Abdulaziz affirmed Saudi Arabia's inherent right to benefit from peaceful nuclear technology, including the nuclear fuel cycle, and to benefit from its natural resources of uranium ores commercially under relevant international treaties and agreements.
Saudi Arabia supports the agency to harness nuclear technology for humanity, calling on the International Community to cooperate actively in developing and addressing all attempts at non-peaceful and unsafe uses of nuclear technologies.
Delegates will discuss various issues throughout the week, including the 2022 annual report and 2024 budget, to enhance activities related to nuclear science and technology and its applications.
It also includes the agency's activities in nuclear safety and security and enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the agency's assurances.
The International Atomic Energy Agency states that the "Rays of Hope" initiative has started to impact by expanding the scope of access to radiation therapy, medical imaging, and nuclear medicine services in low and middle-income countries.