United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Export-Import Licensing

On this page:

Licensing Staff

Scope of NRC Export/Import Licensing Authority

License Types

Form 7 Application for NRC Export/Import License, Amendment, or Renewal

Licensing Fees

Shipment of Exports-Imports

Irradiated Gemstones

Index to All Frequently Asked Questions Pages

Licensing Staff

How can I contact the export/import licensing staff?

You can contact the licensing staff by

E-mail: IP.Resource@nrc.gov
Fax: 301-415-2395
Telephone: 800-216-0881 or 301-415-1780

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Scope of NRC Export/Import Licensing Authority

What radioactive materials and nuclear facilities/equipment are subject to NRC export/import licensing requirements?

Exports of the radioactive materials listed in 10 CFR § 110.9 and/or the nuclear facilities/ equipment listed 10 CFR § 110.8 must be authorized by NRC under a general or a specific license issued in accordance with NRC regulations.

Imports of the radioactive materials and/or the nuclear facilities listed in 10 CFR § 110.9a must be authorized by NRC under a general or specific license issued in accordance with NRC regulations.

Is anyone exempt from NRC export/import licensing requirements?

The regulations in 10 CFR Part 110 apply to all persons as defined in 10 CFR § 110.2 except that the regulations only apply to the Department of Energy for certain export activities. Subpart B of Part 110, addresses the standards and requirements for grants of exemptions from regulations and statutory licensing requirements. A request for an exemption from a licensing requirement must be accompanied by the appropriate fee in accordance with the fee schedule in 10 CFR §§ 170.21 and 170.31.

What other Federal agencies regulate exports/imports?

Numerous Federal agencies regulate various aspects of export and import transactions particularly for commodities that involve considerations related to national security, foreign policy, short-supply, nuclear nonproliferation, missile technology, chemical and biological weapons, regional stability, crime control, or terrorist concerns. Examples of other Federal agencies involved in export/import licensing include: the Departments of Commerce, Energy, State, and Treasury. Additional information can be obtained at www.export.gov and http://www.bis.doc.gov.

What nuclear reactor components are subject to NRC import licensing jurisdiction?

Imports of production and utilization facilities as defined in 10 CFR § 110.2 must be authorized under a NRC general or specific license in accordance with the requirements contained in 10 CFR § 110.27. Imports of other nuclear reactor components (minor components) e.g., those described in 10 CFR Appendix A, items (5)-(9), are under the Department of Commerce and International Trade Administration jurisdiction.

What companies can I use to export and/or import material/equipment under NRC's jurisdiction?

As a regulatory agency, the NRC is responsible for regulating and controlling the use of radioactive material to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety. It is not appropriate for the NRC to recommend or provide names of private citizens or companies who are in the import/export business. However, you may view applications, licenses and other documents in NRC's public document room at the following web link. /reading-rm/adams.html

What is a source material?

(1) Natural or depleted uranium, or thorium, other than special nuclear material; or

(2) Ores that contain by weight 0.05 percent or more of uranium, thorium or depleted uranium.

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License Types

What is the difference between a general license and a specific license?

A general license for certain exports or imports is issued by the NRC as a regulation in 10 CFR Part 110 (see references below). Once a general license is issued, the export or import is authorized and an application does not need to be submitted to the NRC, and the NRC does not issue a separate license document to a particular person. Although you do not need to obtain a specific license or paper document from the NRC; you do need to comply with all applicable domestic requirements, and should refer to 10 CFR §§ 110.50, 110.53, and 110.54.

A specific license is a paper document issued by the NRC on a case-by-case basis to a single specified person or entity which submits and is legally responsible for the proposed export/import transaction described as specified in the NRC Form 7 application submitted to NRC.

What exports/ imports are allowed under a general license?

The NRC has issued general licenses authorizing the export and/or import of only certain items, which are specified in 10 CFR Part 110 Subpart C. If the commodity you wish to export/import is subject to NRC export/import licensing and not among those identified and authorized under one of the general license provisions, a specific NRC export/import specific license is required.

What types of radioactive materials and nuclear facilities/equipment can be exported or imported under a general license?

The commodities that are authorized for export under general license are specified in the following headings:

Special nuclear material (see 10 CFR § 110.21)

Source material (see 10 CFR §110.22)

Byproduct material (see 10 CFR § 110.23)

Deuterium (see 10 CFR § 110.24)

Reactor components to specified countries (see 10 CFR § 110.26).

The requirements that must be met to import commodities under general license are specified in 10 CFR § 110.27.

The NRC regulates the export of deuterium; who regulates the import of deuterium?

Import authority for deuterium falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce.

How do I use a NRC general license?

Information on NRC general licenses is found in 10 CFR §§ 110.19, 110.20, 110.50 and 110.53. It is recommended that you specify on the shipping documents the section of 10 CFR part 110 that authorizes the commodity being exported or imported under the general license, e.g., "materials being exported or imported under the NRC general license at 10 CFR § 110.xx”. Using a general license does not relieve anyone from complying with any other applicable domestic or international requirements.

Do I need to submit reports or other information to the export/import staff if I am using a general license?

An annual report must be submitted by February 1 covering the preceding calendar year for all exports of americium and neptunium (10 CFR §110.54(b)) and nuclear reactor components (10 CFR §110.54(c)).

Is a general license an exemption from NRC licensing regulations?

No. You must adhere to all requirements for packaging, transport, and recordkeeping as found in the NRC's regulations for export and import of nuclear equipment and material at 10 CFR Part 110, and you also must comply with the regulations of other Government agencies with respect to the aspects of the transactions that are subject to their requirements.

What does a specific license authorize?

It authorizes only the actual import and/or export and does not authorize the receipt, physical possession, or use of the authorized nuclear commodity.

What does the expiration date on each specific license denote?

It is the last date the shipment may leave or enter the United States; it means the shipment must clear U.S. Customs by that date.

What if I need to modify my license or extend the expiration date?

To extend the expiration date and/or change information contained in a license, and retain the authority to use the existing license, you must complete and submit a signed NRC Form 7 application and a fee 30 days before the original expiration date. If an application to renew a license is submitted 30 days or more before the license expires, the license remains valid until the Commission acts on the renewal application. If the application is submitted less than 30 days before the original expiration date, you may not use that license until the amendment is issued. If the license has expired, it cannot be renewed and an application for a new license is required.

What does the NRC consider a minor amendment to an export/import license?

An amendment of any active export/import license to:  extend the expiration date, change domestic information, or make other revisions which do not involve any substantive changes to license terms or conditions or to the type of facility or component authorized for import or export and, therefore, do not require in-depth analysis, review or consultation with the Executive Branch, U.S. host state, or foreign government authorities.

Can a specific license be transferred to another person?

Yes. A license may be transferred or assigned to another person with the approval of the Commission by license amendment. See 10 CFR § 110.50 (d).

Can I find out how much a licensee has exported or imported under a specific or a general license?

No, generally, the NRC grants authority for the export and/or import but does not track the actual amount of material or equipment exported or imported. There is no publicly available information on the actual exports and imports.

For the purposes of10 CFR § 110.21 (b)(1), what is an effective kilogram?

This is a special unit used in safeguarding (for material control and accounting purposes) nuclear material. In the case of import/export, effective kilograms is used for special nuclear material, which means:
(1) For plutonium and uranium-233, their weight in kilograms;

(2) For uranium enriched 1 percent or greater in the isotope U-235, its element weight in kilograms multiplied by the square of its enrichment expressed as a decimal weight fraction; and

(3) For uranium enriched below 1 percent in the isotope U-235, its element weight in kilograms multiplied by 0.0001 (10 CFR § 110.2).

Commission (rather than only NRC staff) review is required for applications to export more than five effective kilograms of high-enriched uranium, plutonium, or U-233 (10 CFR § 110.40 (b) (2)). Additionally, Executive Branch review is required for applications to export more than one effective kilogram of high-enriched uranium, or 10 grams of plutonium or U-233(10 CFR § 110.41 (a) (2)).

For export of special nuclear material please also refer to 10 CFR § 110.21)

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Form 7 Application for NRC Export/Import License, Amendment, or Renewal

Where can I find Form 7?

A PDF file of the form is located at the following link: /reading-rm/doc-collections/forms/nrc7.pdf

Who is an applicant?

The person who applies for a NRC specific license and who has the authority of a principal party to control and make decisions regarding the export or import.

Who is the end-user?

The person abroad for exports and in the U.S. for imports that receives and ultimately uses the exported/imported items/materials. The end-user is not a “forwarding agent” or “intermediary (such as a transporter), but must be the purchaser or the ultimate consignee.

Who is the exporter?

The person in the U.S. who has the authority of a principal party to control and make decisions regarding sending items out of the U.S.

What is the role of a forwarding agent or freight forwarder?

The person in the U.S. who is authorized by a principal party to perform the services required to facilitate (e.g., transport) the export/import of items from the U.S.

For what reasons can an application be returned without action (RWA)?

An application may be RWA'd for various reasons including but not limited to:

a. applicant has requested the RWA;
b. the items or materials proposed for export/import are not under NRC jurisdiction or do not require a specific license;
c. required documents (or fees) have not been provided after repeated requests; or
d. the applicant cannot be reached.

How do I apply for a specific license?

You must complete and submit a signed application and a fee (See 10 CFR 110.31 and 110.32 and the instructions for completing the NRC Form 7).

Can I file my application and fee electronically or online?

Yes. However, at present, it is best to submit the application and fee together through mail or via a courier service.

How long does it take to obtain a specific license?

It will depend on various factors including the commodity, foreign destination, end use, and the end user.  These affect the level of review required (Commission and/or Executive branch). Additionally, applications for specific licenses or license amendments are generally made available to the public for a minimum of 30 days.

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Licensing Fees

Why is there a fee to file a specific export/import license application?

Under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA), as amended, the NRC is required to recover most of its budget authority by collecting fees for the licensing and regulatory functions it performs under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended. Licensing fees for applicants or holders of specific export/import licenses issued pursuant to 10 CFR Part 110 are based on the level of review (approximate amount of time) required and, if necessary, the interaction with other government agencies depending on the type of license or amendment requested (see 10 CFR §§ 110.40 and 110.41).

Do I need to include the NRC licensing fee with my application for a specific license?

Yes. Your application for a specific license will only be processed if you submit the required fee (or a reference documenting that the appropriate funds were transferred to the NRC) as part of the package.

Is anyone exempt from paying NRC licensing fees?

Yes. Some non-profit educational institutions are exempt from paying fees (Refer to 10 CFR§ 170.11 for fee exemption rules).

If I file an application and the required fee am I guaranteed to receive a license?

No. A proposed export must meet the applicable criteria in 10 CFR § 110.42. A proposed import must meet the applicable criteria in 10 CFR § 110.43. Additional information on whether a license will be issued or denied is found in 10 CFR § 110.45.

What level of review is required if I need a specific license to export more than 0.001 effective kilogram of special nuclear material?

Commission (rather than only NRC staff) review is required for applications to export more than five (5.0) effective kilogram of high-enriched uranium, plutonium, or U-233 (10 CFR § 110.40 (b) (2)).  Executive Branch review is required for applications to export more than one effective kilogram of high-enriched uranium, or 10 grams of plutonium or U-233 (10 CFR § 110.41 (a) (2)). For the definition of effective kilogram, see 10 CFR § 110.2.

Where can I find more information on licensing fees?

Licensing fees are assessed in accordance with the NRC's regulations in 10 CFR §§ 170.21 and 170.31.

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Shipment of Exports-Imports

Should I refer to a NRC general license on my shipping documents?

If you use a NRC general license as the authority to export/import, it is recommended that you cite on the shipping documents "materials being exported or imported under the NRC general license at 10 CFR 110.xxx," and specify the section of 10 CFR 110 that authorizes the described export/import under the general license. This could help expedite U.S. Customs Service processing of the shipment.

Is an export/ import license required for shipments to Puerto Rico?

No. Puerto Rico is part of the U.S. This is clarified in Section 10 CFR 110.2 (definition under " United States " stating that the "includes Puerto Rico and all territories and possessions of the United States ").

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Irradiated Gemstones

Are irradiated gemstones subject to NRC regulations?

Please refer to the fact sheet about Irradiated gemstones.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, February 19, 2014