Saudi's new energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman says Riyadh is "proceeding with it cautiously ... we are experimenting with two nuclear reactors."

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman attends the opening ceremony of the 24th World Energy Congress (WEC) in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on September 9, 2019.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman attends the opening ceremony of the 24th World Energy Congress (WEC) in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on September 9, 2019. (AFP)

Saudi Arabia wants to have uranium production and enrichment in future for its planned nuclear power programme that will begin with two atomic reactors, the kingdom's new energy minister said on Monday.

"We are proceeding with it cautiously ... we are experimenting with two nuclear reactors," Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said at a conference in Abu Dhabi.

Saudi Arabia has said it wants to tap nuclear technology for peaceful uses. 

But enrichment of uranium is a sensitive step in the nuclear fuel cycle because it can open up the possibility of military uses of the material, the issue at the heart of Western and regional concerns over Iran's atomic work.

Reducing oil output

The minister reportedly endorsed curbing oil output to address an oversupply, as major producing nations prepare to deliberate fresh cuts.

In his first comments since being appointed by his father King Salman on Sunday, the minister signalled no major change in approach in Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC which pumps about a third of the cartel's oil.

"The pillars of our oil policy are pre-determined and will not change," he said according to Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya.

The prince is in Abu Dhabi to attend the World Energy Congress, followed by a meeting on Thursday of the OPEC+ alliance's Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (or JMMC), which monitors a supply cut deal reached last year.

The ministers will consider fresh cuts, even though analysts are doubtful such a move would succeed in bolstering crude prices which have been badly dented by the US-China trade war.

However, Prince Abdulaziz appeared to swing his support behind further output reductions to rebalance the crude market.

"Cutting output will benefit all members of OPEC," he reportedly said.

Source: Reuters