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U.S. Energy Department Publishes Proposed Revisions to Nuclear Export Control Regulations

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Friday, 09 September 2011 15:43

On September 7, 2011, the Department of Energy published proposed changes to its export control regulations concerning unclassified atomic energy activities. These regulations are found at 10 C.F.R. Part 810. The proposed rule is open for public comment until November 7, 2011 and, in part, is meant to reflect changes in nuclear technology since the last major update of the rules which occurred in  1986. These proposed changes will be of interest to companies that employ or interact foreign nationals as well as research entities.

By way of background, Part 810 regulations implement section 57b of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended by section 302 of the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Act of 1978. These rules regulate the export of unclassified nuclear technology and nuclear assistance as well as facilitate international commerce. The new regulations are drafted to better help guard against the spread of nuclear technologies and material that would be contrary to the nonproliferation and other national security interests of the United States.

Some of the revisions are intended to reduce uncertainties for industry users concerning which foreign nuclear-related activities conducted by U.S. persons are ‘‘generally authorized’’ (i.e., not requiring additional approvals from the agency) under the regulation and which activities require a ‘‘specific authorization’’ (i.e., requiring additional approvals from the agency). The proposed rule provides that persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States who engage directly or indirectly in the production of special nuclear material outside the United States must be authorized to do so by the Secretary of Energy.

Other proposed revisions include: (1) making clear what types of technology transfers, which can include either technical data or technical assistance, fall within the scope of the regulations; (2) providing for added technical clarity of certain terms and technology; (3) revising, deleting, and adding definitions for certain terms including “basic scientific research”; (4) identifying the information required to be provided by applicants for a Part 810 authorization, including requests for authorization of ‘‘deemed exports’’; and (5) updating points of contact to reflect the current Department of Energy organizational structure.

If you would like additional information on the proposed rules, or would like assistance in preparing comments for submission, please contact us.


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