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Collins, Bipartisan Group of Senators Press for Answers on Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Capabilities

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) joined a bipartisan group of Senators in sending a letter to President Donald Trump pressing for more information on Saudi Arabia’s reported efforts to build secret nuclear facilities.  This development threatens to undermine the international nonproliferation regime and U.S. objectives in the Middle East.  In addition to Senator Collins, the letter was signed by Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Rand Paul, M.D. (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Jerry Moran (R-KS).


“We write to express concern with recent media reports that Saudi Arabia is building secret nuclear facilities, evidence that its nuclear program is rapidly progressing in the absence of strong international safeguards,” the Senators wrote.  “Riyadh’s apparent lack of transparency regarding its nuclear efforts coupled with a growing ballistic missile program poses a serious threat to the international nonproliferation regime and United States objectives in the Middle East.”


“According to [media reports] Saudi Arabia recently constructed a publicly undisclosed uranium milling plant with help from China. Given plans to extract uranium domestically and a desire to possess enrichment capabilities, Saudi Arabia is positioning itself to develop the front-end of the fuel cycle,” the Senators continued.  “These technologies, if unchecked, would give Riyadh a latent capacity to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.”


In their letter, the Senators laid out specific questions they’d like answers to in a formal congressional briefing – including the state of Saudi Arabia’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and China’s role in these efforts.  These reports come as Saudi officials have resisted signing an Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has publicly stated Saudi Arabia’s desire to acquire nuclear weapons if Iran developed a nuclear bomb.


Click HERE to read the letter.