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US-Saudi nuclear cooperation makes sense because of China, not just Israel

The Biden administration plays the long game with China in the Middle East; prospects for a GCC gas grid; Hydrogen race is on in the Gulf.
A man walks past a power station on the outskirts of Beijing, April 7, 2005.

China bid for Saudi nuclear plant signals new competition, trend 

China is all in with its bid to build a Saudi nuclear power plant, the Wall Street Journal reports, increasing pressure on the Biden administration to loosen its own terms for nuclear cooperation with the kingdom. 

Saudi Arabia wants an expansive civil nuclear relationship with the United States as one of its "asks" for considering normalizing its relationship with Israel. The kingdom also seeks an iron clad security agreement with Washington, and access to even more advanced weapons. 

The United States is right to be in the civil nuclear competition in the kingdom, even without the prospect of Israel-Saudi normalization. For Saudi Arabia, nuclear power is central to its ambitious, post-carbon Vision 2030 expansion. That’s hardly a unique take in the region. Nuclear power will be in greater, not lesser, demand in the years and decades ahead, and not just in the Middle East. 

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