Export Control Compliance

Export control compliance is required by U.S. law and applies regardless of whether information is being shared or a physical item is being shipped.

U.S. nuclear export laws and regulations are tools to achieve U.S. nonproliferation objectives and facilitate legitimate civil nuclear cooperation. U.S. regulatory frameworks strengthen the capacity to deter and prevent the transfer of weapons-related materials, equipment and technology to destinations of concern, while ensuring that those transferred for peaceful purposes are not diverted for weapons use, through the application of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear safeguards.

Adherence to these nonproliferation standards establishes the U.S. industry as a reliable supplier of civilian nuclear and nuclear-related material, equipment, systems, plants, and technology (including software).

To whom does it apply?

All persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, must comply with export control laws and regulations.

  • The specific legal definitions of a person, U.S. person, and foreign person (or foreign national) are determined by the individual federal agency that has jurisdiction over the export in question.
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Department of Energy (DOE), and Department of Commerce (DOC) definitions are provided below for reference, along with the links to the associated regulations.  Any questions regarding the interpretation of a definition should be directed to the specific agency with jurisdiction.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission 10 CFR 110

Nuclear Regulatory Commission 10 CFR 110
  • Person means any individual, corporation, partnership, firm, association, trust, estate, public or private institution, group, Government agency, other than the Commission or the DOE, except that the DOE shall be considered a person within the meaning of the regulations in this part to the extent that its activities are subject to the licensing and related regulatory authority of the Commission pursuant to section 111 of the Atomic Energy Act; any State or political subdivision of, or any political entity within a State, any foreign government or nation or any political subdivision of any such government or nation, or other entity; and any legal successor, representative, agent, or agency of the foregoing.
  • U.S. person is not an explicitly defined term in 10 CFR 110.
  • Foreign person is not an explicitly defined term in 10 CFR 110.

Definition of Terms as used in 10 CFR 110.2

Department of Energy 10 CFR 810

Department of Energy 10 CFR 810
  • Person means (1) Any individual, corporation, partnership, firm, association, trust, estate, public or private institution; (2) Any group, government agency other than DOE, or any State or political entity within a State; and (3) Any legal successor, representative, agent, or agency of the foregoing.
  • U.S. person is not an explicitly defined term in 10 CFR 810, but refers to all persons, as defined in 10 CFR 810, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Note that per 10 CFR 810.2(d), persons under U.S. jurisdiction are responsible for their foreign licensees, contractors, or subsidiaries to the extent that the former have control over the activities of the latter.
  • Foreign national means an individual who is not a citizen or national of the United States, but excludes U.S. lawful permanent residents and protected individuals under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3)).

Definitions of Terms as used in 10 CFR 810.3

Department of Commerce 15 CFR 772

Department of Commerce 15 CFR 772
  • Person: A natural person, including a citizen or national of the United States or of any foreign country; any firm; any government, government agency, government department, or government commission; any labor union; any fraternal or social organization; and any other association or organization whether or not organized for profit. This definition does not apply to part 760 of the EAR (Restrictive Trade Practices or Boycotts).
  • U.S. person (For purposes of §§740.21(e)(1), 744.6, 744.10, 744.11, 744.12, 744.13, and 744.14 of the EAR only. Sections §§740.9, 740.14, and 740.21(f)(2) and parts 746 and 760 of the EAR have unique definitions of US persons.): (1) Any individual who is a citizen of the United States, a permanent resident alien of the United States, or a protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3); (2) Any juridical person organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States, including foreign branches; and (3) Any person in the United States.
  • Foreign person: Any natural person who is not a lawful permanent resident of the United States, citizen of the United States, or any other protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). It also means any corporation, business association, partnership, trust, society or any other entity or group that is not incorporated in the United States or organized to do business in the United States, as well as international organizations, foreign governments and any agency or subdivision of a foreign government (e.g., diplomatic mission). “Foreign person” is synonymous with “foreign national,” as used in the EAR, and “foreign person” as used in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (22 CFR 120.16). This definition does not apply to part 760 of the EAR (Restrictive Trade Practices or Boycotts).

Definitions of Terms as used in 15 CFR 772

What U.S. government agencies have jurisdiction over export control compliance?

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Department of Energy (DOE), and Department of Commerce (DOC) have primary jurisdiction over civilian nuclear exports, although in some instances other agencies, such as the Departments of State (DOS) or Treasury, may also restrict exports to specific entities or countries. DOS negotiates, with technical assistance and concurrence of DOE and in consultation with NRC, Nuclear Cooperation Agreements with other countries under Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended. These "123 Agreements" are implemented by the NRC and DOE, and are required for the approval of certain exports. 

High-Level Jurisdiction 

JurisdictionAgencyReference
Assistance to foreign atomic energy activitiesDepartment of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration(DOE/NNSA)10 CFR Part 810
Nuclear equipment and materialsNuclear Regulatory Commission10 CFR Part 110
Export of nuclear related “dual-use” itemsDepartment of Commerce/Bureau of Industry and Security (DOC/BIS)

15 CFR Subchapter C, Export Administration Regulations

15 CFR 744, Commerce Control List (CCL)

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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
The NRC maintains licensing authority over the export  of the following:
  • Nuclear reactors
  • Uranium enrichment facilities
  • Spent fuel reprocessing plants
  • Uranium and plutonium conversion plants     
  • Heavy water or deuterium production plants
  • Nuclear fuel fabrication plants
  • Lithium isotope separation facilities
  • Equipment, components parts, and assemblies that are especially designed or prepared for exclusive use in any of the aforementioned facilities
  • Special nuclear material (e.g., plutonium, enriched uranium, uranium-233)
  • Source material (e.g., natural and depleted uranium, thorium)
  • Byproduct material
  • Deuterium (heavy water)
  • Nuclear grade graphite for nuclear end use
U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) 
U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA)
The DOE maintains export jurisdiction over technical assistance or technology transfers related to the following nuclear fuel cycle-related activities, and NNSA administers the regulations. Note that exports subject to DOE/NNSA jurisdiction include technology and assistance related to items especially designed or prepared for nuclear reactor or nuclear fuel cycle activities.
  • Uranium or thorium conversion or purification
  • Plutonium or neptunium conversion or purification
  • Nuclear fuel fabrication
  • Uranium, plutonium, or other relevant isotope separation
  • Nuclear reactor development, production or use
  • Development, production or use of production accelerator-driven subcritical assembly system
  • Heavy water production and hydrogen isotope separation
  • Reprocessing of irradiated fuel elements
  • Transfer of technology for the development, production, or use of equipment or material especially designed or prepared for any of the above listed activities
U.S. Department of Commerce/Bureau of Industry and Security (DOC/BIS)
U.S. Department of Commerce/Bureau of Industry and Security (DOC/BIS)
The DOC/BIS maintains authority over the export of most “dual-use” items, which are those having both commercial and military or proliferation applications. Dual-use export licenses are required in certain situations involving national security, foreign policy, short-supply, nuclear nonproliferation, missile technology, chemical and biological weapons, regional stability, crime control, or terrorist concerns. The Commerce Control List within the EAR covers the following categories of dual-use items:
  • Category 0 – Nuclear Materials, Facilities, and Equipment
  • Category 1 – Special Materials and Related Equipment, Chemicals, Microorganisms, and Toxins
  • Category 2 – Materials Processing
  • Category 3 – Electronics Design, Development, and Production
  • Category 4 – Computers
  • Category 5 – Part 1 – Telecommunications and Part 2 – Information Security
  • Category 6 – Sensors and Lasers
  • Category 7 – Navigation and Avionics
  • Category 8 – Marine
  • Category 9 – Aerospace and Propulsion

To what activities does it apply?

Generally, an export occurs when a person transfers technology (including assistance) or physical items to a foreign person or national or to any person physically located outside the United States, U.S. Territories, or U.S. Commonwealths. However, each agency’s legal definition for an export should be consulted below, as appropriate. Any questions regarding the interpretation of a definition should be directed to the specific agency with jurisdiction.

Activities include but are not limited to, exports of physical products, blueprints, designs, computer codes, training, and assistance. Assistance may include public speaking or lecturing, or technical support or instruction to a foreign counterpart, including those that may already legally possess covered technology but need U.S. expertise to properly apply that technology.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission 10 CFR 110

Nuclear Regulatory Commission 10 CFR 110
Export means to physically transfer nuclear equipment or material to a person or an international organization in a foreign country, except DOE distributions as authorized in Section 111 of the Atomic Energy Act or Section 110 of the International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1980.

Department of Energy 10 CFR 810

Department of Energy 10 CFR 810

Export is not explicitly defined in 10 CFR 810.

Technology means assistance or technical data required for the development, production or use of any plant, facility, or especially designed or prepared equipment for the activities described in §810.2(b).

Assistance means assistance in such forms as instruction, skills, training, working knowledge, consulting services, or any other assistance as determined by the Secretary. Assistance may involve the transfer of technical data.

Technical data means data in such forms as blueprints, plans, diagrams, models, formulae, engineering designs, specifications, manuals, and instructions written or recorded on other media or devices such as disks, tapes, read-only memories, and computational methodologies, algorithms, and computer codes that can directly or indirectly affect the production of special nuclear material.

Department of Commerce 15 CFR 772

Department of Commerce 15 CFR 772

Export (except for §§ 734.17 or 734.18) means (1) An actual shipment or transmission out of the United States, including the sending or taking of an item out of the United States, in any manner; (2) Releasing or otherwise transferring “technology” or source code (but not object code) to a foreign person in the United States (a “deemed export”); (3) Transferring by a person in the United States of registration, control, or ownership of: (i) A spacecraft…  Note that any release in the United States of “technology” or source code to a foreign person is a deemed export to the foreign person's most recent country of citizenship or permanent residency. Also note that the export of an item that will transit through a country or countries to a destination identified in the EAR is deemed to be an export to that destination.

Technology means Information necessary for the “development,” “production,” “use,” operation, installation, maintenance, repair, overhaul, or refurbishing (or other terms specified in ECCNs on the CCL that control “technology”) of an item.


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