Applicability of the Export Control Regimes to Fusion

Allyn Katherine Milojevich - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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For many years, the international community has performed research into the applicability of fusion for the generation of power using heat from nuclear fusion reactions. To date, no design has produced energy, let alone electricity, but work done by large international projects like ITER suggests that new reactor designs are closer than ever. Consequently, it is important to consider whether and how traditional nonproliferation regimes will cover production of power from fusion reactors rather than traditional nuclear reactors that harness heat from nuclear fission. Export control regimes are important to assuring that commodities and technologies support legitimate projects, like those needed for nuclear power production, are not diverted to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. Specifically, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) covers a range of commodities for processing uranium through to fuel production (and onward). Although the NSG dual-use list covers tritium, as well as target assemblies and components needed to produce tritium, it is not clear whether other unique commodities are needed for fusion power and whether these commodities would be covered by the NSG. To that end, this paper will examine commodities and technologies needed to research and develop systems that will produce power through fusion reactions, and crosswalk those commodities with commodities and technologies already controlled by the NSG. In general, the best place to consider export controls as a tool to address proliferation concerns associated with fusion reactors is related to next-generation lithium isotope enrichment.