“The Senators are introducing this legislation after revelations the Trump administration recently granted seven undisclosed authorizations for companies to engage in nuclear cooperation with Saudi Arabia”, Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Don Young and Democratic Senators Ed Markey and Tim Kaine said in a joint press release on Wednesday.
The legislation would give Congress access to so called 810 agreements, which authorize the transfer of nuclear technologies and information related to the production of “special nuclear materials” as defined in the Atomic Energy Act, the release said.
The legislation would also require the secretary of the Energy Department to disclose any 801 approvals in quarterly reports to Congress and also allow lawmakers access to any pending 801 applications on request.
Last month, US Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette told reporters in Houston that discussions between the United States and Saudi Arabia on a nuclear agreement continue, however, the ball is currently in Riyadh’s court now.
Riyadh, which is seeking to expand its energy portfolio, has been reportedly in talks with Washington over a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement that would allow Saudi Arabia to pursue its civilian nuclear projects.
However, after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, numerous US lawmakers have called on Donald Trump to halt discussions with Saudi Arabia on a bilateral civil nuclear agreement.