US draft law requesting inspection of nuclear energy in Saudi Arabia (sources)

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Saudi Arabia and other countries seeking to use American technology to develop nuclear power plants must agree to comprehensive United Nations inspections under the defense policy bill expected to be announced this week, two Democratic congressional aides said on Monday.

The measure, led by Democratic Rep. Bradley Sherman, requires states to sign the so-called additional protocol. This requires the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency to carry out snap inspections of nuclear power facilities to ensure that countries do not develop nuclear weapons materials.

Aides said this was included in the annual National Defense Authorization Bill, one of the few legislations that Congress must pass each year. The bill can be announced in the coming days after months of negotiations.

President Donald Trump’s administration has long been holding quiet talks with Saudi Arabia, which wants to build two nuclear power plants and may use American technology to do so.

Representatives are seeking more control over any agreement with Saudi Arabia after Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman said last year that his country does not want nuclear weapons but would seek them if Iran developed them.

Concern in the Congress has heightened Saudi Arabia’s pursuit of nuclear energy after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year.

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