The administration of Trump decided to allow the United States companies to start nuclear energy trade in the early stage with Saudi Arabia. After this decision, a new battle begins with Congress on a plan to sell the U.S. made reactors to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In the news reports and congressional hearings, the authorizations came to light that put forward the administration of Trump doing an end-run around Congress, smoothing confidential discussion and placing KSA on track to develop nuclear weapons.
However, the nuclear export policy’s veterans are saying that the transactions are in a routine and they do not elevate immediate concerns regarding the proliferation of the atomic weapons. Whereas, the authorization’s content is not public. According to the experts, they probably cover the exchange of the necessary information and talks with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, not the sensitive technology. Chair of the board of directors of Arms Control Association, Thomas Countryman said that it is not probable that these would have enclosed any sensitive info that would assist either the intention of Saudi Arabia was to chase the nuclear weapons.
KSA to Establish Nuclear Reactors
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at present going through the international companies’ bids to construct two nuclear reactors. Westinghouse is leading the United States consortium fighting for the contract against companies from France, South Korea, China, and Russia. The companies of the United States need the so-called authorization of Part 810 from the state department and Energy to share non-public information. Whereas, they try to convince the Saudis to select American reactors and their other services.
The formal international security assistant secretary of State under President Obama, Thomas Countryman, said that he would take risks that they are more about consulting services and information that would be valued for a government that is going to decide for the first time in this field. At the Arms Control Association, the chair of the board of directors, Countryman said that it is doubtful that they may be useful if KSA intended to chase nuclear weapons. Until now, the permissions of export are becoming public within a standoff between the White House and Capitol Hill over the relations of United States with KSA after the murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents.
Besides, Congress wanted to hold crown prince Mohammad bin Salman accused of the death of Khashoggi. Whereas, President Trump stuck due to his allies in Riyadh and created doubts on the assessment of the CIA that the crown prince involved in the killing. The export of United States nuclear energy to Saudi Arabia become a crisis in the dispute. However, the administration of Trump desired that the U.S. companies build the reactors. The companies that received the authorizations from the Department of Energy decided not to share them publicly because of the fueling accusations of secret dealings.