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    Bipartisan Senate Bill Seeks Congress Oversight of US Nuclear Tech Transfers

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Trump administration and its successors would be required to submit quarterly reports on transfers of sensitive nuclear technology to other countries under legislation introduced by both Republicans and Democrats on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    “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.

    READ MORE: ‘Playing With Fire': Secret US-Saudi Nuclear Power Negotiations Raise Red Flags

    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.

    The release noted a March 2018 statement by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman that the desert kingdom would develop nuclear weapons without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb.

    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.

    READ MORE: Push to Transfer Nuclear Tech to Saudi Arabia Fueled by ‘Greed' — Watchdog

    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.

    In February, a report by US House Democrats revealed that senior officials in the Trump administration were once working on transferring nuclear technology to US close ally — Saudi Arabia. In particualr, Michael Flynn who served as US National Security Adviser for less than a month in 2017 before being fired, was reportedly one of the key figures behind the project. The Daily Beast newspaper has cited unnamed US officials, claiming that Washington was closely working with Riyadh to send nuclear technology to its key Middle East partner.

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    Tags:
    nuclear technology, oversight, transfer, bill, US Congress, United States, Saudi Arabia
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