US approves deals to share nuclear tech with Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he has approved six applications for U.S. companies to sell nuclear power technology and provide assistance to Saudi Arabia.

Perry told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that the Energy Department has approved 37 nuclear applications since January 2017, including nine in the Middle East. Besides the six to Saudi Arabia, two were approved for Jordan.

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia asked if the applications were approved after Oct. 2, when Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, lived in Virginia.

Perry said he did not know the specific dates.

Lawmakers from both parties have expressed concerns that Saudi Arabia could develop nuclear weapons if the U.S. technology is transferred without proper safeguards.

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