DOE Tightens Offshore Nuclear Production

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Organizations and individuals under U.S. jurisdiction wishing to produce nuclear material outside of the U.S. must received authorization from the Secretary of Energy to do so under new rules proposed by the Department of Energy.
     The proposed rules clarify existing regulations, distinguishing which foreign nuclear-related activities by U.S. persons are allowed under general authorizations and those which require specific authorization from the secretary.
     Activities requiring specific authorization include anything beyond providing widely available scientific information about nuclear production to countries that are either non-nuclear states or nations that are not traditional allies of the U.S., like China and Russia.
     Under the proposed rule, all nuclear production activities outside the U.S. not listed as generally authorized would require specific authorization, and such authorizations would expire after 5 years.
     The proposed rules also would require all applicants for specific authorization to demonstrate that the activities they intend to carry out are consistent with U.S. nonproliferation policy and the U.S.’s obligations as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
     In addition, the proposed rules would require organizations that employ foreign nationals who would be involved in activities requiring specific authorization to provide extensive background information on those employees as part of their application.
     The department will accept public comment on the proposed revisions until Nov. 7, 2011.

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