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radioisotopes, stable isotopes and special nuclear material for purposes
other than fueling reactors and reactor experiments. The transfers may
be made for defined applications and in such quantities and under such terms
and conditions as may be agreed upon when such items are not commercially available. The provisions also extend to transfer of equipment and devices
under such terms and conditions as may be agreed.
Supply of special nuclear materials
The agreements for cooperation contain elaborate provisions for the United States to supply enriched uranium and other special nuclear materials to agreement nations. Depending upon the agreement, the materials may be supplied by government-to-government transfer, by lease or sale of the ma
terials, or by supplying enrichment services to the agreement nation or persons under its jurisdiction. The export shipment of the enriched uranium, once it leaves the Government's enrichment plant usually is arranged
by an agent who must obtain an export license.
The research agreements are the simplest, for the amounts of special
nuclear materials transferred are small, usually only enough to operate a
research reactor or a reactor experiment. Here the United States commit
ment is simply to transfer the desired materials, with terms and conditions
for contracts to be agreed upon in advance.
The research and power agreements are more complicated. They pro
vide for contracts with the Energy Research and Development Administration for the production of enriched uranium from U.S. ores, or for enrichment
of normal uranium supplied by the agreement Nation. The agreements
assure the agreement nation that it will have access on an equitable basis
with other purchasers of such services to uranium enrichment capacity
available in the Administration's facilities and not already allocated. Here too the assurance is becoming academic for the U.S. enrichment plants have been booked to capacity since mid 1974; so no further long-term enrichment or production contracts can be signed.
The agreements set general limits upon the amount of special nuclear
materials to be transferred.
Sometimes a numerical limit is used. For
example, a research agreement may limit the net amount of uranium-235
contained in enriched uranium which may be transferred. *
there is further restriction that the quantity of enriched uranium transferred for the fueling of reactors or reactor experiments shall not at any time
be in excess of the quantity necessary for the loading of such reactors or
experiments plus an additional quantity as, in the opinion of the Adminis
tration, is necessary to permit the efficient and continuous operation of such
reactors or experiments.
As for the power only agreemments, that with India commits the Energy
Research and Development Administration to sell to the Government of In
dia as needed all requirements of India for enriched uranium for use as
fuel at the Tarapur Atomic Power Station, with the further understanding
* Note, the limits on transfers are not quantities of enriched materials, but rather quantities of the uranium-235 isotope contained within the enriched materials. So the weight of enriched uranium exportable would vary inversely with the enrichment: the less the enrichment, the more enriched uranium could be transferred.
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that Tarapur is to be operated on no special nuclear material other than
that provided by the United States or produced therefrom. The Indian agreement sets a ceiling of 14,500 kilograms of U-235 contained in enriched ura
The net amount is defined to be the gross quantity of U-235
contained in the enriched uranium sold to India less the amount of recoverable
uranium resold or otherwise returned to the United States or transferred
to any other nation or group of nations or international organization with the approval of the United States. The quantity of enriched uranium sold
by the Administration and held by the Government of India is not at any
time to be in excess of the quantity necessary for the full loading of the
Tarapur Atomic Power Station, plus such additional quantity as, in the
opinion of the Parties, is necessary to permit efficient and continuous oper
ation of the Station.
The agreement with the United Kingdom sets out a ceiling of 8,000 kilo
grams for the net quantity of U-235 contained in enriched uranium trans
ferred, and specifies a detailed formula for computation of net amount.
In this agreement the Administration states its readiness to sell enriched
uranium to the United Kingdom for fueling reactors of its civil power pro
gram, including merchant marine propulsion. *
The Administration is also
committed to enter into contracts for producing or enriching uranium for the
United Kingdom, to such extent and subject to such terms and conditions
as may be established by the Administration.
* Note, however, the British did not develop merchant marine applications of nuclear power and are making little use of power reactors fueled with enriched uranium.
While enriched uranium gets most of the attention in agreements for
cooperation, other special nuclear materials can be provided. The research
and power agreements with Argentina and Brazil specifically mention for
the transfer of plutonium to both nations for use in reactor and reactor
experiments under terms and conditions to be agreed. The agreement with
Greece permitted transfer of plutonium provided that the quantity within
Greek jurisdiction not exceed 250 grams of plutonium in the form of fabri
cated foils and sources and 10 grams in other forms. The power agreements
with India and the United Kingdom are silent about U.S. supply of plutonium.
Reprocessing of irradiated special nuclear materials
A provision of special relevance to proliferation is that dealing with
the reprocessing of used nuclear fuels to recover plutonium or U-233 and residual uranium. It is at the reprocessing plant that recovered plutonium
or U-233 are in a form most usable for the making of nuclear weapons and
most susceptible to deversion or theft.
The research and power, and research agreements require that repro
cessing shall be performed in facilities acceptable to both parties upon a
joint determination that the safeguards requirements of the agreement may be effectively applied. The agreements go a step further and require that
any alteration of irradiated fuel elements removed from a reactor be performed in mutually acceptable facilities. Under this commitment, the agree
ment nations can only remove and store spent fuel pending the required joint
It is not clear, however, whether the joint determination is
a one-time affair made once during the term of an agreement or whether it applies each time fuel reprocessing is required.
The power agreement with India provides that reprocessing may be per
formed in Indian facilities upon a joint determination of the Parties that
safeguards may be effectively applied, or in such other facilities as may
be mutually agreed. It is understood that except as may otherwise be agreed, the form and content of any irradiated fuel elements removed from the re
actors are not to be altered before delivery to the reprocessing facility. The agreement with the United Kingdom is silent on reprocessing.
As for who owns plutonium produced in irradiated fuel supplied by the
United States, if the agreement nation bought the original fuel material from
the United States, the agreement nation has title.
Also, if the special nu
leased from the Energy Research and Development
Administration, the lessee has title unless the Administration and the agree
ment nations otherwise agree.
The Indian agreement gives the United States a first option to purchase
such nuclear material at the fuel value price of the Administration which
may be in effect at the time.
If the Administration does not exercise this
option, India, with the approval of the United States, may transfer such
excess special nuclear material to any nation or group of nations or inter
national organizations. This agreement includes no limitation upon the nations to which special nuclear materials from reprocessed fuel can be trans
In comparison, the research and power agreements require that