Quietly pursuing a wider deal on sharing US nuclear power technology with Saudi Arabia, which aims at building at least two nuclear power plants, the Trump administration has approved six secret authorisations for companies to sell nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia.
According to Reuters, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s approvals, known as Part 810 authorisations, allow companies to do preliminary work on nuclear power in advance of any deal but not ship equipment that would go into a plant.
As reported by Al-Jazeera, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said in the document that the companies had requested that the Trump administration keep the approvals secret.
Many US legislators fear that sharing nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia could eventually lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It must be noted that last year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had told US broadcaster CBS that the kingdom would develop nuclear weapons if its rival Iran did.
Will Saetren, a nuclear security specialist has claimed that there is a big difference between the Iran nuclear deal and the Trump administration’s attempts to sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabians, saying that the nuclear technology that US want to sell to Saudi Arabia is civilian, it’s for their civilian energy programme.