Rick Perry planning nuclear energy talks with Saudi Arabia: report

Rick Perry planning nuclear energy talks with Saudi Arabia: report
© Getty Images

Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerrySenior Trump administration official to leave post next week Overnight Energy: Trump doesn't mention climate change in speech touting environmental policies | Green groups fight EPA's new FOIA rule | Trump emissions rollback hit with legal challenge Trump touts environmental policies, but says nothing of climate change MORE will head to London to meet with officials from Saudi Arabia on Friday as the Trump administration considers a nuclear energy deal with the nation, Bloomberg News reports.

Perry scrapped plans to visit India this week in order to hold meetings at the White House and lead Friday's delegation to the London meetings, according to the news outlet. The administration is reportedly considering a deal that would allow Saudi Arabia to enrich and reprocess uranium while setting up American companies including Westinghouse Electric Co. to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East.

ADVERTISEMENT

Perry's meeting with Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy and Industry Khalid Bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih is seen as a crucial stage in the negotiations, which have reportedly been ongoing for months.

Saudi Arabia plans to build 16 nuclear reactors over the next 20 to 25 years, according to the report. The Trump administration is reportedly considering whether to ease restrictions on the sharing of nuclear technology in order to help U.S. companies compete for bids to build those reactors.

The plan has come under criticism from nuclear proliferation skeptics in Congress, however,  including Democratic Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHead of miners union calls Green New Deal's main goal 'almost impossible' Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Warren reintroduces bill mandating climate disclosures by companies MORE (Mass.), who sent a letter to Perry as well as Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonPress: Acosta, latest to walk the plank A brief timeline of Trump's clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats What is Trump's Iran end game? MORE requesting information on the deal. Any nuclear agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia would have to be approved by Congress.

"Congress remains in the dark about what exactly is being considered, why we may be re-evaluating our nonproliferation objectives and standards, and how and when this information is being conveyed to Saudi Arabia and other countries around the world," Markey wrote to the Trump administration on Monday.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE visited Saudi Arabia last year, when he agreed to a massive $110 billion arms sale to the country to counter violent extremism.

“Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs,” Trump said at the time. "That was a tremendous day. Tremendous investments in the United States.”