American companies have reportedly been given permission to work on six nuclear energy projects in Saudi Arabia and two in Jordan, according to a member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet.
Reuters reported that Energy Secretary Rick Perry confirmed during a Senate hearing that the Trump administration had approved six applications to deliver “initial nuclear work” in Saudi Arabia, and an additional two requests to work in Jordan.
The American Energy Department approved 37 of the 65 applications it had received since 2017.
Quoting Perry, the Reuters report – cited by Construction Week's sister title Arabian Business – added: “What I'm really concerned about […] is that if the United States is not the partner with Saudi Arabia, (or) for that matter Jordan, [then the countries] will go to Russia and China for their civil nuclear technology.
“We've got a history of non-proliferation, and nobody in the world will do it better than us."
According to Reuters, the approvals were first reported by The Daily Beast, prior to which they had not been revealed. Perry had said that the companies involved in the approvals process wanted to secure proprietary information.
Saudi Arabia is backing clean energy sources, such as nuclear power, amid efforts to grow its economic revenue streams as part of its Vision 2030 mandate.
Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman unveiled plans in November 2018 to build Saudi Arabia’s first nuclear research reactor, one of several project announcements during his visit to the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology at the time.
The Crown Prince laid the foundation stone for the nuclear research project, according to Saudi Arabia’s state news agency, SPA.