Chinese Companies Helped Saudis Build Secret Nuclear Production Site

Saudis secretly put together yellowcake uranium processing plant

New reports citing Western officials say that Saudi Arabia has recently built a yellowcake uranium processing plant in the country’s northwest, in total secrecy. Chinese companies were reportedly involved in the construction.

Details are still emerging, but China National Nuclear Corp and China Nuclear Engineering Group are believed to have participated in the construction. Saudi Energy Ministry officials deny that any such production facility even exists.

That’s a big problem, because Saudi denials tend not to be followed up on, even with evidence, and former IAEA deputy chief Olli Heinonen faulted the Saudis for the lack of transparency on what nuclear assets they actually have.

Lack of transparency certainly raises questions, but there is no proliferation risk to yellowcake processing, and it is absolutely compatible with Saudi plans, made very public, to produce nuclear energy.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of