Morning Briefing - June 05, 2019
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June 05, 2019

U.S. Authorized Two Transfers of Nuke Tech to Saudis After Khashoggi Murder

By ExchangeMonitor

The Department of Energy authorized two transfers of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia after that nation allegedly authorized the murder of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said Tuesday.

Beginning in 2017, the Department of Energy granted seven companies Part 810 authorizations — named for the section of the Atomic Energy Act that enables such authorizations — to export some unclassified civilian nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia.

The first of those authorized exports took place in December 2017, but the second took place only days after Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, and the subsequent dismembering of his remains, Kaine said in a press release. Khashoggi lived in Virginia.

The Donald Trump administration has angled to sell nuclear power technology as well as military arms to Saudi Arabia, arousing bi-partisan anger in Congress.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry has publicly defended efforts to transfer civilian power technology. In March, he told the Senate Armed Services Committee that if the U.S. does not provide Riyadh with the know-how it seeks to diversify its energy base, Russia and China will.

And those countries “don’t give a tinker’s dam” about nonproliferation of nuclear-weapons technology and materials, Perry told Senators in March.

The seven companies authorized to export nuclear-power technology — but not nuclear materials — requested and received anonymity from DOE. The agency still has not publicly identified the companies, even to Congress, because the government has “determined that the authorizations contain proprietary business information,” according to a DOE statement published online.