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Risch, McCaul Urge Biden Admin Not to Waive Sanctions for Civil Nuclear Projects with Russia

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, yesterday sent a letter to President Biden urging him to reject a proposal to waive U.S. sanctions imposed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in order to allow a French-owned company to engage in civil nuclear projects with Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy company.

“Exempting EDF from U.S. sanctions would allow it to acquire a subsidiary of a major U.S. company that was engaged in civil nuclear projects with Rosatom in Hungary, Turkey, and Egypt – projects that have been suspended for several years due to sanctions. EDF would then provide turbines and related foundational technology for those projects, thereby facilitating Russian energy influence and related corruption in those countries likely for decades,” the members wrote. “Given your administration’s stated policy goals and the severe threat that overdependence on Russian energy poses to transatlantic security, it is incomprehensible that your administration would consider actively perpetuating this dependence.

“The threat of U.S. sanctions stalled these projects and lent credibility to the U.S. commitment to longstanding, bipartisan European energy security goals,” the members continued. “By waiving sanctions, you would weaken American credibility, undermine ongoing efforts to counter Russian energy coercion and malign influence, and send the wrong message to allies and adversaries alike about our commitment to imposing meaningful costs on Russia for its actions in Ukraine.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.