The intention of Russia to help Venezuela develop a nuclear power plant is no more innocent than the help that Russia gave to Iran. Both Russia and Venezuela will emphasize that Venezuela has no intention of creating a nuclear weapon. But by facilitating contact between Russian and Venezuelan officials in the area of nuclear energy, the stage is set for black-market operations involving technology that can be used in nuclear weapons. Russian help for Venezuela can provide a cover for the development of nuclear weapons. Perhaps more important, it opens up a new channel for the transfer of Russian nuclear know-how — this time by way of Venezuela – to the enemies of the U.S.
— David Satter is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. His latest book is Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State.