(Reprinted by permission of Platts publications)

INSIDE NRC, SEPTEMBER 18, 2006, p. 17


NRC restores policy of issuing

information on HEU exports


The NRC is relaxing its policy on disclosure of information

on license requests for shipments of high-enriched uranium,

Chairman Dale Klein recently told an advocacy group

that had pressed for the change.


In an August 31 letter to the Nuclear Control Institute,

Klein said the agency would “discontinue automatically

withholding material quantity information from the public

versions of export license applications” for HEU. The letter

was the latest installment in a six-month correspondence

between NCI and NRC, prompted by the agency’s initial

withholding of quantity information on proposed HEU

exports to Belgium and Canada (INRC, 29 May, 13).


Until 2001 NRC had published the quantity information.

In several cases, NCI had intervened and successfully argued

that the commission should reject the request or reduce the

amount of HEU licensed for export. But as part of its

response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the

US, NRC stopped publishing the quantities.


NRC now will not withhold the information unless there

is an “NRC determination of a compelling reason for nondisclosure,”

Klein said in the letter. He added that the

agency would continue to withhold information on “projected

or actual shipment schedules, delivery dates, date

required, mode of transport, storage arrangements, or any

other related logistical information.”


In a September 13 e-mail to Platts, NCI senior policy analyst

Alan Kuperman said, “The commission is to be applauded

for taking NCI’s concerns to heart and restoring its openness

policy, which will revive the public’s ability to comment

meaningfully on proposed export license applications,

thereby assisting the commission to fulfill its statutory role

of minimizing international commerce in bomb-grade uranium

to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation.”


Daniel Horner, Washington