WASHINGTON, DC -- The American Physical Society (APS) regrets that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rejected the Society's petition, which requested a change in NRC licensing rules to include a review of proliferation risks associated with new nuclear fuel technologies.
"The NRC's decision is unfortunate," said Francis Slakey, associate director of public affairs for APS. "The rule change would have had an immediate benefit by raising the barrier against nuclear proliferation."
That view was shared by nearly 2,400 people, who wrote to the NRC in favor of the APS petition. Those supporters included the nation's leading experts in the fields of nuclear weapons, nuclear power and nuclear proliferation, as well as members of Congress, including then chair and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Only one letter -- from the Nuclear Energy Institute -- argued against the change.
Despite the outcome, APS hopes its petition alerted the nuclear industry to the importance of issues associated with nuclear proliferation and how to effectively address them. APS urges companies developing nuclear fuel technologies to conduct independent assessments to evaluate the proliferation risks of smaller nuclear technologies that could threaten our global security.