Opposition to a deal for the U.S. to provide nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia is growing after Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said the kingdom would develop a nuclear weapon if Iran did.
The potential for U.S. companies to participate in the construction of as many as 16 nuclear reactors sought by the kingdom has been seen as a potential lifeline to Westinghouse Electric Co. and others suffering from the flagging nuclear industry at home.
To further that effort, the Trump administration is said to be considering allowing the Saudis the right to enrich uranium, a break from the so-called "gold standard" included in the nuclear-sharing agreement with the United Arab Emirates, which allows power generation but prohibits the enrichment and reprocessing of uranium.
But that idea ran into a buzzsaw during a House hearing on Wednesday, with lawmakers from both parties saying prince’s admission that his country might seek to build nuclear weapons was cause to halt negotiations between the two nations. Energy Secretary Rick Perry met with Saudi officials earlier this month in London to begin talks on the deal.