NRC suspends authority to ship heavy water to China

October 4, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News

Citing national security interests, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued an order suspending the general license authority to export radioactive material and deuterium to China General Nuclear (CGN) and its subsidiaries or related entities.

The NRC licensees subject to the order had been authorized to ship radioactive materials and heavy water to China through a general license granted in sections 110.21 through 110.24 of 10 CFR Part 110. Notice of the order was published in the October 1 Federal Register.

Reasoning: In issuing the order, the NRC said, “The executive branch has determined that suspending general license authority under 10 CFR Part 110 for exports to CGN, CGN subsidiaries, and related entities is necessary to further the national security interests of the United States and to enhance the United States common defense and security consistent with the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended.”

According to the NRC, the order extends U.S. policy, established by the Trump administration in 2018, regarding civil nuclear exports from the United States to China. That policy was instituted as a means to prevent China from illegally diverting U.S. nuclear technology for military or other unauthorized purposes.

In 2016, the U.S. government indicted CGN and a Taiwan-born naturalized U.S. citizen, as well as his corporation, for “conspiring to unlawfully engage and participate ... in the development and production of special nuclear material” in China without proper legal authorization.

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