July 12, 2023 | The Hill

How to help the Saudis achieve their nuclear-powered dreams without giving them the bomb


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is offering the U.S. a deal he believes it cannot refuse. He is prepared to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel, granting the Jewish state unprecedented legitimacy in the Islamic world and handing Joe Biden a major foreign policy victory.

What the crown prince wants in return is nuclear power, including the ability to enrich uranium. This would enable Riyadh to produce fuel for nuclear reactors…or material for a nuclear bomb.

Biden should agree to significant U.S. nuclear assistance, but obviously he must reject the enrichment request. Riyadh doesn’t need enrichment to achieve its goal of becoming a nuclear electricity-producing powerhouse.

Anthony Ruggiero, former National Security Council senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense in the Trump administration, is a senior fellow and senior director of the Nonproliferation and Biodefense Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Andrea Stricker is a research fellow and deputy director of the program. Follow them @NatSecAnthony and @StrickerNonpro. FDD is a nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.


Energy Israel Nonproliferation