U.S. Ban on export of nuclear products shows Pakistan still seen with suspicion


Pakistan is not only referred to as Jihad Central but also as the land of the AQ Khan nuclear proliferation network. While the country’s leadership may try to deny everything, the reality is very different.

On April 21, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued an Order “suspending the general license authority under NRC regulations for exports of byproduct material to Pakistan. Exporters are no longer authorized to use the general license to export byproduct material to Pakistan and now must apply for a specific license pursuant to NRC regulations.”

While Pakistan was already on a list of countries that were treated as “restricted destinations,” but till now — unlike Iran and North Korea – Pakistan was not formally “embargoed,” and thus was technically still “eligible” to receive a general license for this material, usually used for radionuclides that are embedded in devices.

While we do not know more details, what the order does state is that “The Executive Branch has determined that suspending byproduct material exports to Pakistan under this 10 CFR part 110 general license is necessary to enhance the common defense and security of the United States and is consistent with the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act, as amended.” As per 10 CFR 110.20(f) removal “may be done in response to significant adverse developments in the country involved. A key factor in this regard is the nonproliferation credentials of the importing country.”