Marco Rubio Wants Congressional Oversight of All Nuclear Technology Transfers Overseas as Admin Shares with Saudi Arabia
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Wednesday introduced legislation that would require the executive branch to regularly disclose when it allows companies to engage in nuclear energy cooperation with foreign countries. The bill comes amid an uproar in Congress following reports that the Department of Energy gave several companies permission to share nuclear energy information with Saudi Arabia. Many members of Congress object to selling nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in light of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents and the kingdom’s role in the ongoing war in Yemen. “Congress cannot play its oversight role and ensure U.S. civil nuclear cooperation efforts do not encourage the spread of nuclear weapons-making capabilities when the Executive Branch, regardless of whatever party controls it, withholds critical information from elected lawmakers about Energy Department authorizations to export nuclear technology, services and assistance to foreign governments,” Rubio stated. The Atomic Energy Act would require the Energy and State Departments to report to Congress any Part 810 applications that are reviewed and approved or rejected over the last 90 days in a quarterly report. Part 810 authorizations are issued to companies so they can discuss nonpublic nuclear energy technology with foreign counterparts. The amendment would also require the Energy Department to send to Congress all Part 810 authorizations going back to 2015, the last time the department revised the application process. Finally, the legislation would give the Chairman or Ranking Member of several congressional committees the authority to request any pending or approved Part 810 applications and expect a response within 10 days. Rubio is joined in this bipartisan legislation by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Todd Young (R-IN). More here.