NEI: Revised nuclear technology export regulations short on efficiency fixes

Earlier this month, revisions to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) regulations on the export of nuclear energy technology took effect. The regulations being revised cover almost all exports of nuclear information and the amount of authority foreign individuals have to access American nuclear energy technology.

“In some respects, the revised Part 810 regulation is more simple," Ted Jones, director of supplier programs for the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), said. "For example, in response to recommendations, the revised rule makes strides toward defining its scope of technology in a clearer manner."

In other ways, the rule remains complex, partly due to the broad jurisdiction of the DOE. Where the export of items is a straightforward matter, regulating the export of technology is comparatively complicated. The regulations cover a wide swath, including early commercial discussions, foreign tours of American plants and U.S. employment of foreign citizens.

The revisions add still more complications to the process by doubling the number of countries needing lengthy authorization processes without improving the efficiency of these specific authorization procedures, which Jones said puts Americans at a competitive disadvantage.

“DOE has stated in the rulemaking and repeated in public forums that it will implement a Process Improvement Program to improve the efficiency of the Part 810 authorization process,” Jones said. “Successful implementation of the reforms should mean a significant reduction of the gaps in processing times between U.S. and foreign nuclear export licensing regimes.”

The rulemaking process began in 2011, just shy of four years before its implementation. NEI and the American Nuclear Society are working with DOE to further improve the regulations in accordance with DOE’s goals to improve the efficiency of the authorization process.

“A good regulation needs to be continually updated. Part 810 will be no exception,”  Jones said.

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Nuclear Energy Institute

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