WASHINGTON – Energy Secretary Rick Perry met with Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih Monday, as the Trump administration continues to press the Middle Eastern kingdom to purchase U.S. nuclear technology.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy said the two officials discussed “the potential for U.S.-Saudi civil nuclear engagement,” as well as other issues including world oil markets and joint efforts to develop carbon capture technology.
“Secretary Perry highlighted the strong relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and the Administration’s commitment to maintaining that partnership as a key U.S. ally in the Middle East,” the official said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia is expected to spend more than $80 billion on nuclear plant construction over the next 25 years, part of a larger effort to diversify the kingdom’s oil-dependent economy. U.S. firms are in competition with competitors from Russia, China, France, South Korea and Japan.
“The [U.S.] civil nuclear business has been left by the wayside,” Perry said at a Senate hearing earlier this year. “We’ve tried to reinvest in [nuclear energy] and say, we need to lead the world in this technology.”