Department of Energy
Washington, DC 20585

July 12, 1999

Mr. Paul Leventhal
Nuclear Control Institute
1000 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 804
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Mr. Leventhal:

Your letter dated June 11, 1999, to Secretary Richardson concerning the physical protection of a shipment of mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) from Belgium to France has been referred to my office for a response.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to ensuring that the physical protection requirements in all U.S. nuclear cooperation agreements with other countries and organizations are fully met. As you correctly note, since 1974, DOE has evaluated the adequacy of the physical protection of nuclear material provided other countries for peaceful purposes. In the context of this verification program, a U.S. physical protection team visited Belgium in November 1996, and found that physical protection at the UO2 Fuel Fabrication Plant MOX Facility fully met the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency Information Circular "The Physical Protection of Nuclear Material" (INFCIRC/225.Rev.3).

While we have no evidence of a diminution of the physical protection level at the UO2 Fuel Fabrication Plant MOX Facility, we are communicating with appropriate EURATOM authorities to clarify the allegations that you cite.

Thanks for sharing your concerns. If you have any further questions, please contact me at 202/586-2102.


Leonard S. Spector
Office of Arms Control and Nonproliferation

Cc: Mr. Damon Moglen
Greenpeace International

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