U.S. energy secretary says nuclear power talks with new Saudi minister likely Monday

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(Reuters) – U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Friday he will meet the new Saudi energy minister on Monday and likely discuss plans the kingdom has to build nuclear reactors.

Perry did not say where he would meet Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, who took over from Khalid al-Falih on Sunday. But a U.S. official said the meeting would likely take place on the sidelines of an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting in Vienna next week. 

The kingdom has so far resisted agreeing to standards that would block its ability to enrich uranium and reprocessing of plutonium, possible pathways to making an atomic weapon. On Monday, Prince Abdulaziz said the kingdom wanted to enrich uranium for its nuclear power program, potentially complicating talks with the Trump administration on the atomic pact and the role of U.S. companies.

Last year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom does not want to develop nuclear weapons but will pursue them if its regional rival Iran does.

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