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wishes to re-export that item to another nation, it must obtain the approval
Energy Research and Development Administration, even though a
similar direct export to the second nation would require an export license
from the Commission.
In situations where one nation can turn to another
or to the United States for a desired nuclear item, there is the possibility
of inconsistent or even contradictory decisions and actions by the Commis
sion and the Administration. This anomaly merits congressional attention.
Another facet of re-export is that of nuclear technology. U.S. agree
ments for cooperation provide for control over re-export of material things
but not for re-export of nuclear technology supplied by the United States.
6. Safeguarding nuclear technology
The agreements for cooperation require international safeguards for nuclear materials produced from exported nuclear materials or equipment, but not for nuclear materials produced in facilities built only with the help of U.S. technology and "know how". This appears to be a loophole which other governments are beginning to close in their agreements for nuclear cooperation. The safeguarding of U.S. -furnished nuclear technology is a matter warranting congressional attention.
The agreements for cooperation provide for safeguards for U.S. -sup
plied nuclear materials and equipment, and for nuclear material produced
The agreements do not, however, commit the agreement nation
to declare nuclear facilities made with U.S. information and technology or
by persons trained in the United States and to apply safeguards to them.
In recent innovative actions, the governments of France and West Germany
have sought to close this loophole in agreements for nuclear cooperation
with South Korea and Brazil, respectively.
The general adoption of this innovation would help to assure nations
throughout the world that their neighbors are not using imported technology
to build unsafeguarded nuclear facilities.
Of course, the effectiveness of
such a provision depends ultimately upon the motivations of the agreement
state and the factors that sustain its compliance with the terms of an agree
ment. Assuming, however, that agreements will be honored, it seems likely
that this innovation is desirable and that the United States should seek to
add it to existing as well as to future agreements.
7. Reprocessing of spent fuels
The agreements for cooperation provide assurances that reprocessing of U.S. supplied nuclear materials will be done only in facilities acceptable to the United States. Since there is little reprocessing of commercial nuclear fuel, these commitments remain untried. The demand for fuel reprocessing is likely to increase, however, and with it the desire of agreement nations to reprocess, particularly if there are no regional reprocessing centers or access to reprocessing in the United States. What changes can be made in terms and administration of agreements for cooperation to minimize the metastasis of fuel reprocessing among individual nations is a likely matter for congressional interest.
The agreements for cooperation generally provide that all alteration and
reprocessing of nuclear fuel from the United States shall be done in faci
lities acceptable to both parties upon a joint determination that safeguards
may be efficiently applied.
The power agreement with the United Kingdom
is silent on this matter.
The power agreement with India specifies that
India may reprocess any special nuclear material used in the Tarapur Atomic Power Station upon a joint determination that safeguards may be effectively applied, or in such other facilities as may be mutually agreed. Of special interest in India is that its reprocessing facilities can reprocess
its own materials, which are not under the agreement.
This can compli
cate the workings of materials accountability and safeguards systems.
is somewhat akin to the problem of a butcher shop in keeping higher and
lower grades of meat separate in the meat
it requires unusual
measures and discipline.
In the early years of the agreements, the used fuels from research reactors were returned to the United States for reprocessing, which was fea
sible because these fuels were comparatively simple in chemical and metallurgical qualities. At present there is little commercial reprocessing of
nuclear power fuels.
Used fuels are mostly stored until reprocessing be
comes available, or a decision is made not to reprocess but to store used
fuels indefinitely. So there is no commercial competition on the world market for fuel reprocessing and the attendant risks that some reprocessors might pay less attention to safeguards than others. However, several nations
are trying to acquire their own fuel reprocessing capability, including
Brazil, Iran and South Korea.
A trend toward national fuel reprocessing
would compete with and perhaps weaken the efforts to establish regional
fuel reprocessing facilities under international safeguards.
In the administration of agreements for cooperation, the United States
can expect future pressure from agreement nations concerning reprocessing. If the United States does not permit those nations to reprocess U.S. -supplied
fuel in their own plants, it will have to offer alternatives.
But these are
few. At present no commercial fuel reprocessing plants are operating in the United States to perform this service. Reprocessing of nuclear power
fuel in the facilities of the Energy Research and Development Administration
would interfere with production of plutonium for weapons and would require
extensive modification of process equipment. The concept of regional plants,
while supported by interested parties, has yet to attract enough concrete
support to begin their construction.
For a while the agreement nations
probably could store used fuels in their own facilities.
Sooner or later,
however, their storage capacity will be filled up.
Used fuel could be col
lected and stored at regional centers awaiting reprocessing, but this con
cept too requires much more international commitment than is now on the
Used fuels could be returned to the United States for indefinite
storage or temporary storage pending reprocessing. This alternative, however, would require construction of storage facilities, for the present ones
would be inadequate.
The world situation for reprocessing of nuclear fuels is likely to undergo fundamental changes within the coming decade. What these changes may
be and how the agreements
for cooperation can be modified in terms and
administration to anticipate and to influence these changes appear to be likely matters for congressional interest. 8. International safeguards for all nuclear activities in an agreement nation
The agreements for cooperation with non-weapons nations do not require international safeguards on all nuclear materials and facilities of an agreement nation, whether or not supplied by the United States. U.S. attempts to have nuclear supplier nations agree upon prerequisites for exports have yet to succeed. What can be done to obtain such commitments collectively with other supplier nations, or unilaterally, and what the benefits and disadvantages might be, are matters for
The agreements for cooperation commit agreement nations to place
U.S. -supplied nuclear materials and equipment under international safe
guards but do not require the nations to place all of their nuclear materials
and equipment from whatever source under these safeguards.
recent press reports, the United States has been trying with little success
to convince nuclear supplier nations to require such a commitment as a pre
requisite for their nuclear exports.
Whether the United States should uni
laterally attempt to require an expanded safeguards commitment as a con
dition for U.S. nuclear cooperation is. a controversial question.
position might serve only to deny the U.S. nuclear industry access to the
world market, with the advantage then going to the nuclear industries of
other exporting nations.
What measures the United States might take to
convince other nuclear supplier nations of the desirability of the U.S. po
sition is a matter worth congressional attention.
9. Physical security
The agreements for cooperation do not reflect the current importance attached to physical security and protection of U.S. nuclear exports against theft or sabotage. The relationships among the State Department, the Energy Research and Development Administration and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should be considered if the Commission is directed by statute to consider physical security in issuing export licenses.
The increase in terrorist acts over recent years has caused some ob
servers to warn that terrorists might try to steal nuclear explosive mate
rials and to make and use nuclear weapons.
This concern has generated
increasing attention in the United States to physical protection and security
for nuclear materials and facilities.
The greatest risks for terrorist theft