Saudi Arabia is planning to begin uranium extraction to become self-sufficient nuclear power - File photo Reuters

Officials in Saudi Arabia have begun exploring for uranium, local reports have revealed.

The substances used to develop nuclear power and weapons is being looked for in parts of the Saudi desert in the Hail region of the Al Hail Province.

The work is being carried out by the state organisation for atomic energy and the China National Nuclear Corporation, the local news outlet Argaam reported.

But the president of the Saudi Geological Survey, Zohair Nawab said that the work was not aimed at developing nuclear weapons, but solely for the purposes of energy,

The work is being carried out under the orders of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Low oil prices means that the Middles Eastern nation has been forced to look to other ways to generate revenue and the latest nuclear plans form part of the Vision 2030 scheme to help modernise the nation.

The plans to rapidly modernise and transform the Islamic kingdom, which have involved the recent opening of cinemas across the country, has also included a high profile corruption crackdown.

A total of 208 individuals, including members of the royal family have been arrested, accused of embezzlement and the misappropriation of around $100bn over the course of several decades.

Among those being held is Prince Alwaleed bin Talan, a billionaire with investments in both Twitter and Apple.

Some of the detainees have been held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the diplomatic quarter of Riyadh,

The chiefs of the national guard and the navy were also replaced as part o the shake-up.

Leaders have vowed to modernise the country and help step away from being so dependent on oil exports.

Plans to eradicate extremism in the region have also been unveiled in recent weeks.