US insists on UN inspections of planned Saudi nuclear facilities

Saudi Arabia and other countries seeking to use U.S. technology to develop nuclear power plants must agree to comprehensive U.N. inspections under legislation to be included in the defense policy bill expected to be announced as soon as early this week, two Democratic congressional aides said on Monday.

The measure, spearheaded by Democratic U.S. Representative Bradley Sherman, requires countries to sign the so-called Additional Protocol. The measure requires the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, to conduct snap inspections of nuclear power facilities to ensure countries are not developing materials for nuclear weapons.

The language is included in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, one of the few pieces of legislation that Congress must pass every year, the two aides said. The $700 billion NDAA bill could be announced in coming days after months of negotiations.

President Donald Trump’s administration has long held quiet talks with Saudi Arabia, which wants to build two nuclear power plants and could use U.S. technology to do so.

Lawmakers have been seeking more oversight over any deal with Saudi Arabia after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said last year his country does not want nuclear weapons but will pursue them if rival Iran develops them. Concern in Congress about Saudi Arabia’s quest for nuclear power increased after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year.

Nonproliferation experts said including the measure in the bill was a good step, but that Congress needs to do more. “The bad news is it took Saudi misbehavior to get this legislation; the good news is we finally have it,” said Henry Sokolski, head of the nonprofit group the Nonproliferation Education Center.

In September, former U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry sent a letter to Saudi officials saying any deal on nuclear power must also contain a so-called 123 commitment to forgo enrichment of uranium or reprocessing, two pathways to making fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Separately, a Republican congressional aide said legislation by Senator Ted Cruz to impose sanctions on companies building Nord Stream 2, a natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, will also be included in the NDAA bill.

The Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, opposes the pipeline, saying it will increase Russia’s political and economic grip over many European countries.

Germany and Russia have said the pipeline, expected to be completed sometime next year, is a commercial project.

SourceL Reuters

 

The Liberum

Vox Populi, Vox Dei
See full bio >
The Liberum runs on your donation. Fight with us for a free society.
Donation Form (#6)

More articles you might like

- by The Liberum on 16/06/2024

Aggression in the West towards Jewish targets Channels Shame

The aggression aimed at Jewish and Israeli citizens and targets in Western cities necessitates the […]

Thinking differently; the way, the skills & habits of innovation

We often say listening is more powerful than speaking. That’s true, but speaking is also […]

The War of Lies

The narrative catching fire around the world is disturbingly one-sided: maintaining the focus on Gaza’s […]
- - by Arthur Blok on 11/06/2024

All Eyes on Bibi Netanyahu

To no surprise, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu and his extreme-right allies ignored an […]

Calls for Slavery Reparations are Shameless

Nothing was as evident as slavery. Little is as exceptional as the view that people […]

Only Germany’s Justice Minister Buschmann Dares to Speak about the “Islamist Motive” of Afghan Immigrants' Knife Attack

The attack in Mannheim, Germany, on Islam critic Michael Stürzenberger is keeping people’s minds busy. […]