The United States has suspended exports of nuclear by-products under the general licensing system to Pakistan, whose history of nuclear proliferation is of concern and has caused a blacklist of many government agents and private contractors.
The decision announced in a government sheet called the Federal Register on Wednesday does not prohibit the export of nuclear material – which is used as radionuclides embedded in the device – as a whole, but requires exporters to ask for government permission at any time and for any particular shipment.
Radionuclides are radioactive elements that are widely used, among other fields, in medicine and for food irradiation.
“The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued an Order suspending general licensing authority under NRC regulations for the export of by-products to Pakistan,” the announcement said in the register. “Exporters are no longer authorized to use general licenses to export by-product ingredients to Pakistan and now must apply for special licenses in accordance with NRC regulations.”
It did not mention specific reasons other than that the Trump administration had determined that the suspension was “necessary to enhance defense and security with the United States and be consistent with the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act”.
The order does not say so, but under the relevant rules, a country’s proliferation record can be the basis for canceling an export license.
“The Commission will closely monitor these countries and can at any time remove a country from a general license in response to significant adverse developments in the countries involved,” said the federal regulatory code for the energy sector. “The main factor in this case is the nonproliferation credentials of the importing country.”
A response is awaited by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to request the reason for the suspension.
The announcement came after President Donald Trump and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke on the telephone about the coronavirus pandemic. Trump mentioned the call at the White House task force daily briefing but gave no details. It will not be certain if the development of nuclear exports is found in their discussions.
The history of Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation has become a major concern for the United States, as well as for the whole world. The nuclear black market set up by AQ Khan, who built Pakistan’s nuclear bombs with stolen technology which was then passed on to Iran, Libya and North Korea, developed rapidly.
The Trump administration continues to pursue Pakistani government agencies, private contractors and fronts, who have sought to find a way around US rules and conditions, with unlimited urgency and unchanging priorities.
The immediate trigger for Wednesday is uncertain. But Joshua White, a former White House top official for South Asia who first marked the announcement of the Federal Register, said, “We cannot be sure what prompted this step by the NRC. It may have been done in response to a series of technical violations or regulatory oversight, or perhaps in response to broader US concerns related to Pakistan’s nuclear program or non-proliferation commitments. “
The US Department of Justice indicted five men of Pakistani and Pakistani descent in January for using leading companies to buy American goods for the Advanced Engineering Research Organization and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, both Pakistani government agencies that are on the US “Register of Entities” of these objectives. export destinations whose activities have been declared “contrary to US national security or foreign policy interests”.
In 2018, seven Pakistani organizations were added to the US “Register of Entities”, a blacklist of US trade departments from governments, government agencies, private companies and individuals who were seen as a threat to US national security and exports of US material that was sensitive to anyone who was strict. controlled and subject to special permission from the government.
The Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Weapons Control, a nonprofit, and nonprofit body that seeks to end proliferation by tightening export control regimes in source countries such as the United States, said in a report in September 2019, that since 2014, the US Department of Commerce has added 40 related entities Pakistan or Pakistan to that list.
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