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U.S.-Saudi Nuclear Cooperation: Progress is Stalled over Nonproliferation Conditions and Agency Management of Negotiations is Unclear


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U.S. policy has long sought to balance U.S. civilian nuclear exports with the nations obligation to ensure that they are not used to proliferate nuclear weapons. The Atomic Energy Act (AEA) provides a framework for certain civilian nuclear exports and outlines the requirements for nuclear cooperation agreements, including that certain nonproliferation conditions be met; that State conduct negotiations with the technical assistance and concurrence of DOE; and that the President keep certain congressional committees fully and currently informed of negotiations or initiatives. This report describes, among other things, (1) the status of U.S.-Saudi negotiations and any areas of disagreement and (2) what is known about U.S. agency management of the negotiations. GAO reviewed the AEA and documentation of interactions between U.S. and Saudi officials regarding nuclear cooperation. GAO received limited information from State and DOE officials during the review but interviewed over 30 other stakeholders, including former senior executive branch officials, former congressional staff, and others with knowledge of and insights into nuclear cooperation issues and the negotiations.



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