Expert voices

Expert Voices

The case for exporting American nuclear reactors to Riyadh

Florida Power and Light workers Juan Madruga (R) and Pehter Rodriguez (L) confer at the Turkey Point Nuclear Reactor Building in Homestead, Florida
The Turkey Point Nuclear Reactor Building in Homestead, Florida. Photo: Rhona Wise/AFP via Getty Images

The House Oversight Committee released a report this week that accuses Trump administration officials of legal and ethical breaches in their pursuit of a nuclear-plant deal with Saudi Arabia.

The big picture: While a nuclear-capable Saudi Arabia is a dangerous prospect — MBS has floated the idea of developing nuclear weapons — it's becoming something of a foregone conclusion. The world's nuclear suppliers are already bidding for the contract to construct Saudi Arabia's first two reactors, with Riyadh having shortlisted bids from not only the U.S., but also France, China, Russia and South Korea.

Expert Voices

Malaysia railway deal shows why Belt and Road projects are hard to kill

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) speaks to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (not pictured) during their meeting at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on August 20 2018 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (not pictured) on Aug. 20, 2018, in Beijing, China. Photo: Roman Pilipey/Pool via Getty Images

China and Malaysia are close to reviving a $20 billion railway deal, just a year after Malaysia’s new president, Mahathir Mohamad, suggested the project might be scrapped.

Why it matters: The railway deal is just the latest example of how Belt and Road Initiative projects rarely die. As for leaders in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and elsewhere, Mahathir’s criticism of the BRI was not a rejection of it, but a bargaining strategy.

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