Rick Perry planning nuclear energy talks with Saudi Arabia: report

Rick Perry planning nuclear energy talks with Saudi Arabia: report
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Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryOvernight Energy: BLM may boost staff numbers at new Colorado headquarters | Perry backers reportedly got Ukraine gas deal after he met with president | Paris exit toughens US path to green future Perry backers secured lucrative Ukraine gas deal after his meeting with new president: report The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment drama will dominate this week 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.

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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 MarkeyOvernight Defense: Families sue over safety hazards at Army base | Lawmakers, NBA's Enes Kanter speak out ahead of Erdoğan visit | Washington braces for public impeachment hearings NBA's Enes Kanter speaks out against Erdoğan ahead of White House visit Democrats unifying against Joe Kennedy Senate bid MORE (Mass.), who sent a letter to Perry as well as Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonSteve Schmidt: 'Overwhelming chance that Trump will dump Pence' for Haley Nikki Haley: Trump 'truthful' in 'every instance that I dealt with him' Tillerson denies Haley's claims of taking actions to undermine Trump 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 TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report 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.”