The Department of Energy (DOE) has statutory responsibility for authorizing the transfer of unclassified nuclear technology and assistance to foreign atomic energy activities within the United States or abroad. In accordance with § 57 b.(2) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (AEA), persons may engage, directly or indirectly, in the production or development of special nuclear material outside the United States only upon authorization by the Secretary of Energy, with the concurrence of the Department of State (DOS) and after consulting with the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Commerce (DOC), and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).1 This requirement, as implemented by DOE, applies to technology transfers and assistance related to certain nuclear fuel-cycle activities, commercial nuclear power plants, and research and test reactors. Covered transfers may include the transfer of physical documents or electronic media, electronic transfers or the transfer of knowledge and expertise.
Part 810 of Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations (Part 810) implements AEA § 57 b.(2), pursuant to which the Secretary has granted a general authorization for certain categories of activities which the Secretary has found to be non-inimical to the interest of the United States – including assistance or transfers of technology to the “generally authorized destinations” listed in Appendix A to Part 810. Other activities within the scope of Part 810 -- including transfers of technology or provision of assistance to destinations not listed in Appendix A (“specifically authorized” destinations) – require a case-by-case specific authorization from the Secretary. A specific authorization is also required for any assistance involving sensitive nuclear technologies (enrichment, reprocessing, plutonium fuel, and heavy water production, regardless of the destination’s status under the regulation. Whether a destination is determined to be generally or specifically authorized depends on a number of factors including the existence of a bilateral “123 Agreement” with the United States, the country’s nonproliferation credentials, and the significance and scope of its nuclear trade relationship with the United States.
On February 7, 2015 DOE issued its final rule revising Part 810, the first comprehensive update of the regulation since 1986. The regulation has been modernized to: (1) articulate clearly the activities and technologies that are within the scope of Part 810; (2) provide expanded general authorizations for operational safety activities, the separation of medical isotopes from spent nuclear fuel, and for transfers to foreign nationals working at NRC-licensed facilities and granted Unescorted Access in accordance with NRC regulations; and (3) provide an affirmative list of destinations that are generally authorized to receive transfers of non-sensitive nuclear technology. The Federal Register published the final rule on February 23, 2015. The rule was in effect as of March 25, 2015.
 Pursuant to section 57 b.(1) of the AEA, such activities may alternatively be specifically authorized under an agreement for cooperation for peaceful uses of nuclear energy pursuant to section 123 of the AEA, or under a subsequent arrangement pursuant to section 131 of the AEA.