Source: United States Senator for Maryland Chris Van Hollen
Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen announced that he has secured language within legislation passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee to require strict conditions on Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank financing of any nuclear projects in Saudi Arabia. This language would ensure that any Saudi nuclear power projects are held to the nonproliferation “gold standard” for nuclear cooperation. The Ex-Im Bank has identified U.S. nuclear energy exports as a key and growing industry, and Saudi Arabia is a leading candidate for such exports as they work to build their first two nuclear power reactors in 2020. This provision was originally included in legislation introduced by Senators Van Hollen, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
“The United States must apply strict anti-proliferation safeguards when providing other nations with our nuclear technologies. We cannot allow our exports of civilian nuclear technologies to be diverted to building nuclear weapons. This provision is even more important given Saudi Arabia’s expressed interest in obtaining nuclear weapons, and Crown Prince Mohamad bin Salman’s disregard for international law,” said Senator Van Hollen. “By imposing the strictest nonproliferation conditions on the transfer of nuclear technology and export financing assistance, this provision will make sure that the U.S. does not inadvertently bankroll a Saudi nuclear weapons program.”