Overview of Nuclear Export Policies of Major Foreign Supplier Nations

ID-77-60: Published: Oct 21, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 1977.

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A study of the peaceful nuclear export policies of major foreign supplier nations indicated that the United States faces increased competition from foreign suppliers. The United States and other supplier nations have reassessed their nuclear export programs and established the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Member nations have adopted some principles as a matter of national policy of future nuclear exports. There are no required international standards for the physical protection of nuclear material and equipment, and although foreign suppliers have procedures for regulating nuclear exports, in most cases they have no independent regulatory agencies similar to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

In recent years, the U.S. share of the available nuclear export market has decreased markedly. U.S. suppliers received 85 percent of such orders through 1972, but during the next 3 years the U.S. share dropped to 42 percent. France and West Germany are the leading foreign suppliers of light-water reactors. Japan has a strong domestic nuclear industry and the potential to become an important nuclear exporter. Canada exports heavy-water reactors, heavy water, and uranium. The British have been much more successful in the field of nuclear fuel services than in the export of reactors. Among the principles adopted by nations comprising the Nuclear Suppliers Group are: to apply International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to exports; to prohibit recipients using assistance for any nuclear explosions; to require physical security measures by recipients on nuclear equipment and materials; to encourage multinational regional facilities for reprocessing and enrichment; and to take special care in the use or retransfer of sensitive material, equipment, and technology.

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