Nuclear Fuel Cycle is one of the main components of the Saudi National Atomic Energy Project. The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Management at K.A.CARE is the department responsible for the production of nuclear fuel for Saudi Arabia's peaceful nuclear program by indigenizing the techniques of nuclear fuel production stages, starting with the exploration and mining of uranium ores, then the conversion and enrichment stages and ending with manufacturing nuclear fuel. This department also deals with the back stage of the fuel cycle, which includes temporary storage, processing and recycling, as well as permanent geological storage of nuclear waste.
Nuclear Fuel Cycle:
Processes of fuel cycles are classified as follows:
1.1 Exploration of Uranium and Thorium Ores in Saudi Arabia
Exploration of uranium and thorium ore is one of Saudi Arabia's strategic projects that support the objectives of Vision 2030 that would enrich local content, provide employment for citizens and contribute effectively to the private sector. As well as enhance the investment of raw materials in diversifying sources of income, building human capacity, and securing nuclear fuel for nuclear reactors.
The project aims to reach an assess with certainty of uranium and thorium ore resources (measured resources) in Saudi Arabia. It is divided into two stages:
It is worth noting that K.A.CARE leads this vital project in cooperation with the Saudi Geological Survey, where the Saudi Geological Survey supervises the exploration's contractor and mining for uranium and thorium ore in the first stage, while K.A.CARE carries out the quality application project. In the second stage, K.A.CARE is appointed to lead the entire project.
1.2 Indigenization of nuclear fuel cycle in the production of uranium and the attainment of investment returns
The project focuses on cooperation with the Jordanian side for technology transfer and training of national cadres in the exploration of uranium ores, which will enhance and increase local content in industrial and service value chains, and in the indigenization of technical expertise through the production of uranium oxide (Yellowcake) and conducting a fundable economic feasibility study. The project was approved within the framework of the National Transformation Program 2020 under the name of (the Initiative of Indigenizing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle in the Production of Uranium and Attainment of Investment Returns) by the Council of Ministers Resolution No. 362 dated 1/9/1437 AH. Then it was transferred as a component of the Saudi National Atomic Energy Project within the Royal Decree No. 43309 dated 19/9/1438 AH on the Saudi National Atomic Energy Project.