United States Congress passed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act in an attempt to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and ensure the security of the United States. Countries that signed the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) committed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons in return for U.S. knowledge and materials in the form of nuclear reactors and fuel.
In addition to supplying countries with nuclear technology, the U.S. would aid countries in their effort to identify domestic sources of alternative energy, consistent with economic and material resources, and in compliance with environmental standards within that country. In this way, the U.S. could ensure control over all information, technology, and materials relevant to nuclear activities.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act amended the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 by establishing new criteria governing U.S. nuclear exports licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Congress directed the Department of Energy (DOE) to initiate and plan the design, construction, and operation activities for expansion of uranium enrichment capacity, sufficient for domestic and foreign needs. The Act specified that the nuclear non-proliferation controls would not expire annually, eliminating the need for extensions.
- Nuclear Threat Initiative. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978.