NEI to review US-China export policy

25 October 2018

The US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is working to determine the impact of the US government's recently announced policy framework for civil nuclear cooperation with China. Careful implementation is critical to mitigate commercial harms, the NEI's Dan Lipman said.

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced the new policy framework on 11 October, following a government policy review led by the US National Security Council. The policy guidance covers exports of technology, equipment and components, and material, and sets out a framework for the disposition of the DOE's authorisation requests for transfers to China under Part 810 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR part 810).

Lipman, NEI vice president of Suppliers, New Reactors and International Programs, acknowledged the policy framework is based on legitimate concerns, but cautioned that careful implementation is critical to mitigate commercial harm.

"The US government has undertaken a thorough review of civil nuclear cooperation with China and developed a policy that seeks to balance national and economic security concerns with potential harms to our strategically important industry," Lipman said. "NEI is working with our member companies to determine the scope of commercial impact from the policy framework. Given that various nuclear technologies will be shut out of the world's largest market that impact is clearly significant and we are reviewing this very carefully."

The guidance "appears to have little effect on the approved transfer of large light water reactor technologies and components", such as those for Westinghouse AP1000s that are now already operating in China, the NEI said. Applications under 10 CFR parts 110 and 810 have been on hold since 2017, pending the policy review. DOE and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission have said they will meet with applicants "immediately" to clear the backlog of pending applications.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News