Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Jack Keane at Trump Tower. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump is set to meet this afternoon with U.S. energy industry leaders to discuss issues including the possibility of providing Saudi Arabia with a path to nuclear power.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia says it wants nuclear power in order to be able to divert more oil for export, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) led negotiations with the U.S. Energy and State departments last year over a power plants deal "worth upward of $80 billion," per the New York Times. But the kingdom has reportedly resisted safeguards to ensure it doesn’t develop nuclear weapons, and MBS said last March that Saudi Arabia will "follow suit as soon as possible" if its rival Iran makes a break for the bomb.

The meeting was first reported by Bloomberg, which noted that companies "are working to get U.S. government approval of next-generation advanced and small modular nuclear reactors and sell them to the world" at a difficult time for the domestic market.

In the room: Expected attendees include leaders from Exelon, Westinghouse, TerraPower, GE, BWXT, X-energy, NuScale, Lightbridge and AECOM, along with retired U.S. Navy Adm. Michael Hewitt and retired U.S. Army Gen. Jack Keane. Hewitt and Keane represent a company called IP3 International that seeks to secure nuclear deals overseas.

  • A White House official said: "This is being led by General Keane. This is a group that he has put together; the president talks with him periodically. He wanted to bring in a group to have a discussion about the important renewable energy sources and talk about nuclear construction efforts around the world."
  • A source familiar with the meeting said that while the Saudi issue will be discussed, there will be "a larger discussion about how to make the U.S. nuclear industry more competitive."
  • The source added that the meeting will also focus on the question of, "do U.S. companies have the right tools to compete?" The source said on that front, the U.S. nuclear industry needs a properly functioning Export-Import Bank and support for the so-called "123 agreements" required for countries to use U.S. nuclear technology. 

Between the lines: The most significant 123 agreement currently being negotiated is with Saudi Arabia.

  • In the early days of the Trump administration, one of the strongest backers of the Saudi process was Michael Flynn, who resigned as national security adviser over his communications with Russia. Flynn wrote on a disclosure form that he had served as an adviser to IP3 International before joining the White House, though the company said it “never paid Flynn and that he did not accept its offer to serve as an adviser,” the Washington Post reported in 2017.
  • The NY Times noted last November that: “Privately, administration officials argue that if the United States does not sell the nuclear equipment to Saudi Arabia someone else will — maybe Russia, China or South Korea.” 
  • A deal to help Saudi Arabia acquire nuclear technology would not require Senate approval, per Pro Publica, but Congress could block the deal with a joint resolution opposing it. Senior Democrats have previously expressed concerns.

The White House official said the meeting would also focus “on future civil nuclear energy in the U.S. and the supply chain for nuclear energy.” Representatives from GE, Exelon and Westinghouse declined to comment. 

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to note that Fluor will not attend the meeting.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Skripal poisoning suspects linked to Czech blast, as country expels 18 Russians

Combined images released by British police in 2018 of Alexander Petrov (L) and Ruslan Boshirov, who are suspected of carrying out an attack in the in the southern English city of Salisbury using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, and also the2014 Czech depot explosion. Photo: Metropolitan Police via Getty Images

Czech police on Saturday connected two Russian men suspected of carrying out a poisoning attack in Salisbury, England, with a deadly ammunition depot explosion southeast of the capital, Prague, per Reuters.

Driving the news: Czech officials announced Saturday they're expelling 18 Russian diplomats they accuse of being involved in the blast in Vrbětice, AP notes. Czech police said later they're searching for two men carrying several passports — including two with the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

Marion County Forensic Services vehicles are parked at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two "assault rifles" believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI told news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.

U.S. and China agree to take joint climate action

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry waves as he arrives at the Elysee Presidential Palace on March 10, 2021 in Paris. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Despite an increasingly tense relationship, the U.S. and China agreed Saturday to work together to tackle global climate change, including by "raising ambition" for emissions cuts during the 2020s — a key goal of the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The joint communique released Saturday evening commits the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases to work together to keep the most ambitious temperature target contained in the Paris Climate Agreement viable by potentially taking additional emissions cuts prior to 2030.