June 30, 1999
Ms. Annette L. Vietti-Cook
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001
Attention: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff
Export License Application, Docket Number 11005112, License Number XCOM 1128
Dear Secretary Vietti-Cook:
In accordance with 10 C.F.R. 110.81, I am writing on behalf of the Nuclear Control Institute to express our comments on the above-cited application, submitted on May 17, 1999, by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a license for nuclear export to Russia.
The application was received in the Public Document Room on June 8, 1999.
The license application as submitted fails to meet the minimum requirements as set forth by the Commission under 10 C.F.R Part 110. Therefore, the NRC should make a determination that the application is incomplete and advise DOE that, if it is not withdrawn, it will be rejected.
Section 110.32 of Part 110 spells out information required in a license application. Such details as names and addresses of consignees, dates of first and last shipments, description of the equipment, and "[d]escription of end use by all consignees in sufficient detail to permit accurate evaluation of the justification for the proposed export or import, including the need for shipment by the date specified" are required to be provided. It is clear that, in failing to provide the information, DOE simply does not meet the regulatory requirements of Section 110.32.
In its license application, DOE states that the equipment proposed for export is "especially designed and prepared equipment for use in various facilities for the pilot-scale tests and demonstrations of plutonium disposition technologies." Yet DOE provides no specific information as to what this equipment will be. An attachment which discusses the use of the BN-600 and VVER reactors fails to give any details as to the equipment proposed to be exported. In the description of the VVER project, DOE concedes that "we are unable to identify specific equipment at this time." Beyond the BN-600 and some named VVER reactors, DOE includes a list of 26 Russian nuclear sites, but does not specify if any or all of those facilities are to receive equipment.
If DOE does not voluntarily withdraw the export license application, the Commission should point out to DOE deficiencies in the original request and advise DOE that the application is unacceptable in the current form and must be resubmitted with the information required by NRC if it is to be considered by the Commission. All concerned parties to an export application, as well as the public, are entitled to information from the applicant essential to making determinations as to the prudency and legality of such a request. No such information exists with this license application. Consequently, there is no lawful basis for the Commission to act on the application at this time.
Because the application is so deficient, NCI does not believe that it can properly be subject to amendment to supply the requisite information. Rather it should be rejected by the Commission or withdrawn by DOE. If the application is resubmitted with the required information, this should restart the period allowed for formal intervention under 10 C.F.R. 110.82(c)(2). In this way, the rights of the interested public will be fully protected.
Pursuant to10 C.F.R. 110.81(c), NCI recognizes that the Commission will provide to the applicant a copy of these comments. If the applicant chooses not to withdraw the application we request that the applicant be provided with the opportunity to respond to these comments.
Thank you very much for accepting these comments for the record.
cc: Ron Hauber, OIP
What's New Pu Disposition Page Home Page