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Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information Topical Guideline for Plutonium-AVLIS


Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information

Topical Guideline for Plutonium-AVLIS

July 1992

U.S. Department of Energy

Washington, DC

Table of Contents

A. Introduction
1. Purpose
2. Policy and Procedures
3. Relationship to Classified Information
4. Widely Disseminated Documents or Material
5. Authorized Users of These Guidelines
a. Reviewing Officials
b. Denying Officials
c. Others
6. Information Not Covered by This Guide
7. Cross References
B. Reasons for the Application of UCNI to Plutonium-AVLIS
C. General Guidelines
D. Sensitive Functions
E. Sensitive Facilities
F. UCNI Topical Guidelines
Production or Utilization Facility Design Information
1. Description of AVLIS Process
2. General and Budgetary Information
3. Operational Information
4. Information on Technologies Applicable to AVLIS
5. Copper Laser Technology
6. Dye Laser System
7. Optical Systems
8. AVLIS Separators
9. Refractory Materials
10. Plutonium Processing Chemistry
Safeguards and Security Information
11. Sensitive Functions
12. Sensitive Facilities
13. Security Systems
14. Nuclear Material Safeguards
15 . Nuclear Material Transportation
G. Definitions
H. Abbreviations and Acronyms

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Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information Topical Guideline for Plutonium-AVLIS

A. Introduction

1. Purpose

This document identifies information pertaining to the Plutonium-AVLIS (PAV) process and the Special Isotope Separation (SIS) Program that is Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information (UCNI) as defined in Section 148 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 as amended, and provides guidance for determining if documents, materials, or facilities contain such UCNI.

Separate guidelines, issued by the Office of Uranium Enrichment, identify information pertaining to the Uranium-AVLIS process that is UCNI. There is a significant sharing of technology between Uranium-AVLIS and Plutonium-AVLIS. Where the technology for one process is usable in the other, or where there are common issues, the information controls (classification, UCNI, et al.) must be consistent. Information must be protected based on the significance of what is revealed about either process.

The guidelines contained in this document are the basis for the development of internal guidelines specifying what information pertaining to the issuing organization is UCNI.

2. Policy and Procedures

DOE Order 5650.3, "Identification of Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information (UCNI)," establishes policies and procedures for identifying UCNI and for reviewing and marking documents and materials containing UCNI. The user of these guidelines must be familiar with DOE Order 5650.3 and must be particularly cognizant of the criteria and adverse effects test therein. In addition, users of these guidelines are reminded that DOE Order 5635.4, "Protection of Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information," provides directive guidance on policies and procedures for protecting information determined to be UCNI or documents or material marked as "May contain UCNI."

This document contains "Official Use Only" information and is not to be publicly released. However, should this document be requested for release under a statute (i.e., the Freedom of Information Act), the cover, pages i through 7, and 21 through 23, and the back cover may be released as reasonably segregable information.

3. Relationship to Classified Information

A number of topics in this document relate to information that is addressed in classification guides and/or bulletins. Appropriate classification guidance (e.g., CG-AIS-1, CG-NP-2, CG-SS-2, and local classification guides) should be used to determine that the information being considered for control as UCNI is in fact unclassified.

4. Widely Disseminated Documents or Material

Any document or material that has been, is, or will be widely and irretrievably disseminated into the public domain, as determined by a Reviewing Official, and whose dissemination into the public domain was not, is not, or will not be under control of the Government, is exempt from control under these guidelines even if the document or material contains information that a Controlling Official has determined to be UCNI. That same information in other documents or material can still be controlled and protected as UCNI.

5. Authorized Users of These Guidelines

a. Reviewing Officials

All authorized DOE and DOE contractor UCNI Reviewing Officials are to base their UCNI determinations regarding documents or material pertaining to the Plutonium-AVLIS Process on this guide. Determinations regarding the Uranium-AVLIS process are to be based on separate guidelines under the cognizance of the DOE Office of Uranium Enrichment.

b. Denying Officials

A Denying Official (see DOE Order 1700.1 for designation and specification of authority) with cognizance over information contained in documents or material pertaining to AVLIS shall deny a request made under a statute (e.g., the Freedom of Information Act) or Executive Order for any portion of the document or material that the Denying Official determines to contain UCNI. Such determinations regarding documents or materials pertaining to Plutonium-AVLIS and the SIS Program shall be based on these guidelines.

c. Others

Persons other than Reviewing Officials and Denying Officials are to use this guide to make preliminary review determinations that documents or material pertaining to Plutonium-AVLIS Process may contain UCNI if that person:

  1. Is the originator of a newly generated document or material.
  2. Has cognizance over any information in the document or material.
When a preliminary determination has been made that documents or materials may contain UCNI, that document or material must be marked with the appropriate NOT FOR PUBLIC DISSEMINATION stamp. DOE 5650.3 requires that newly originated documents, which based on a preliminary review may contain UCNI, be reviewed by a Reviewing Official prior to transmitting such documents outside an originator's immediate organization. Such a review should normally confirm whether or not a document contains UCNI. However, if applicable guidelines do not exist, the Reviewing Official could confirm that may contain preliminary review determination. Further, the stamp shall be retained on documents and material retired to a centralized records storage area such as a Federal Records Center or the National Archives of the United States. A Reviewing Official shall review such documents or material upon requests for their release under statute or Executive order.

6. Information Not Covered by This Guide

Where unclassified information concerning Plutonium-AVLIS is believed to require protection as UCNI but the information is not clearly determined to be UCNI by topics in this guideline, the information should be protected as "may be UCNI" and referred through channels for a determination. Documents or material containing such information require marking as "may contain UCNI" in accordance with procedures in DOE 5650.3.

Any Reviewing Official may recommend to the Director, Office of Processing, new subject areas, new topics, or revisions to the UCNI topics in this guide. A determination by (1) the originator of a document or material, or (2) a person having cognizance over information in a document or material that a document or material may contain UCNI is one source for such recommendations. The Director, Office of Processing, shall review such recommendations and, if appropriate, initiate the formal process to revise this guide.

7. Cross References

The PAV reference number in the parentheses following each topic is a unique guidelines identifier for that specific topic. The GG number in the parentheses is that of the topic in GG-2 which is the basis for the PAV guidelines topic. The following table, which will be maintained and expanded as additional topics are added, provides the PAV number and the topic number in this document to which it relates:

PAV Ref. No.     Topic No.            PAV Ref. No.     Topic No. 
    #1              1                     #26            8.1.1
    #2              3                     #27            8.3
    #3              3.1                   #28            8.4
    #4              3.2                   #29            8.5
    #5              3.3                   #30            8.5.1
    #6              3.4                   #31            8.6
    #7              3.5                   #32            8.7
    #8              3.6                   #33            8.8
    #9              3.7                   #34            9
   #10              4                     #35            9.1
   #11              4.1                   #36           10
   #12              4.3                   #37           10.1
   #13                   #38           10.2
   #14              4.4.3                 #39           10.3
   #15              5                     #40           10.4
   #16              5.2                   #41           10.5
   #17              5.3                   #42           11
   #18              5.4                   #43           12
   #19              6                     #44           12.1
   #20              6.1                   #45           12.2
   #21              7                     #46           13
   #22              7.1                   #47           14
   #23              7.4                   #48           14.2
   #24              8                     #49           15
   #25              8.1

B. Reasons for the Application of UCNI to Plutonium-AVLIS

The Plutonium-AVLIS Process has been developed for and is the principle part of the Special Isotope Separation (SIS) Program. Consistent with Section 148 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) of 1954, as amended, information about the SIS Program and the Plutonium-AVLIS Process is within the scope of the Production Facility Design Information category. Some of this information meets the Adverse Effect Test criteria.

The AVLIS process and technology have direct applicability to the separation of uranium, plutonium, and other isotopes usable in nuclear weapons. It may be possible to use the AVLIS process to enrich fissile fuel for defense purposes such as for submarine reactor fuel and it may be possible to use the AVLIS process to enrich other elements in isotopes having defense applications. AVLIS information therefore concerns atomic energy defense programs and must be reviewed to determine if protection as UCNI is required by the Atomic Energy Act.

The AVLIS process exploits the small differences in the energy levels of electrons in different isotopes in an atomic vapor. These energy-level differences cause the isotopes to absorb slightly different wavelengths of light. Laser light can be tuned to the precise wavelengths that are absorbed by only one isotope, causing that isotope to lose an electron and become ionized. The other isotopes do not absorb laser light at this wavelength and remain uncharged or neutral. The ionized isotope can then be separated from the neutral isotopes by an electric field. For plutonium-AVLIS, the laser light is tuned to ionize 238Pu, 240Pu, and 241Pu atoms and leave 239Pu atoms neutral. The 238Pu, 240Pu, and 241Pu atoms are then collected on negatively charged by-product extractors. The neutral 239Pu is unaffected by the electric field and is collected on product collectors. The condensed vapor can then be recovered separately from the by-product extractor and the product collector. The AVLIS process uses dye lasers to accomplish the atomic ionization of the atoms in the vapor. The dye lasers are frequency-tunable and generate the precise wavelengths required to ionize the 238Pu, 240Pu, and 241Pu. The dye lasers are pumped by electrically driven copper lasers.

C. General Guidelines

The following types of unclassified information about the Plutonium-AVLIS Process and the SIS Program are UCNI:

1. Sensitive design or design-related operational information concerning sensitive facilities that is essential to or could significantly assist in designing, constructing, or operating facilities or equipment for producing, processing, separating, or otherwise using nuclear materials for military applications or could significantly increase the likelihood of the illegal production of a nuclear weapon (UCNI GG #10).

Unclassified AVLIS information that is UCNI under this general guideline includes certain information on copper and dye lasers with related critical optics, power conditioning, electronics, and other key ancillary components; and separator design and electron-beam technology with related ancillary components. This may include certain information about plutonium processing and refractory materials technology.

To be UCNI, in addition to the criteria set forth in DOE Order 5650.3, the AVLIS information:

  • Must be specific to one or more sensitive facilities identified in Section E, where one or more sensitive functions identified in Section D are performed.
  • Must be sensitive to the extent that unauthorized dissemination could significantly assist in designing, constructing, or operating a facility for the production of special nuclear material (SNM) suitable for the production of a nuclear weapon.

Generally, information about a technology applicable to AVLIS that is being pursued for another application is not UCNI unless sensitive design information specific to an AVLIS application for the production of SNM is revealed. By definition, unclassified information or hardware routinely available in the public domain is not UCNI. The association of that information or hardware with an AVLIS application would be UCNI only if it reveals sensitive design information essential to an AVLIS application for the production of SNM.

2. Sensitive design and design-related operational information concerning critical equipment or components of sensitive facilities that, if sabotaged, could prevent operation or safe shutdown under normal or abnormal conditions, or could be of significant assistance in planning or executing an act of theft, diversion, or dispersion of nuclear material (UCNI GG #11). Sensitive information concerning security plans and procedures for production or utilization facilities, nuclear materials contained in such facilities, or nuclear materials in transit, provided this information cannot be obtained by casual observations from uncontrolled areas (UCNI GG #15). Sensitive information concerning security equipment for the protection of production or utilization facilities, nuclear material contained in such facilities, or nuclear material in transit (UCNI GG #16). Sensitive information revealing capabilities, deficiencies, or vulnerabilities of a specified security plan, procedure, or system (UCNI GG #17). Sensitive design information concerning a specified sensitive facility that is not readily observable from a public area (UCNI GG #6).

Unclassified AVLIS information that is UCNI under these general guidelines includes certain plant design information such as detailed floor plans and schematics; specific information on critical or sensitive equipment and power and cooling systems; specific descriptions of critical operations and procedures; nuclear materials control and accountability systems and procedures; and sensitive security information concerning facilities, equipment, plans, procedures, capabilities, deficiencies, and operations concerning Plutonium-AVLIS.

Generally, for AVLIS research and development (R&D) or demonstration facilities, such information would be UCNI only if it could be of significant assistance to a malefactor in planning or executing an act of theft, diversion or dispersion of nuclear material, or an act of sabotage that could prevent safe shutdown under normal or abnormal conditions. Information that could assist a malefactor in preventing operation of such facilities would not normally be UCNI.

3. Guidelines that concern information falling under this topical guideline document must also reference the general guidelines determination(s) (e.g., GG #10, GG #16, etc.) on which they are based. See page I-3, paragraph H, UCNI General Guidelines (GG-2).

D. Sensitive Functions

For UCNI, a sensitive function is one that concerns atomic energy defense programs and whose disruption could reasonably be expected to have a significant adverse effect on the health and safety of the public or the common defense and security. The sensitive functions pertaining to Plutonium-AVLIS fall in the following two categories and information about these functions may be UCNI:

1. Nuclear Material Production:
a. AVLIS process research, development, and demonstration.
b. Design, construction, and activation of an SIS Plant for the enrichment of plutonium for nuclear weapons production.
c. Operation of that SIS Plant.

2. Safeguards and Security:
a. Protection of AVLIS technology and Plutonium-AVLIS facilities.
b. Safeguarding of special nuclear material (feed, product, and by-product) in Plutonium-AVLIS facilities and in shipments to and from those facilities. Low-level radioactive waste is exempt from control as UCNI.

E. Sensitive Facilities

A sensitive facility is one in which a sensitive function is performed. For Plutonium-AVLIS, the sensitive facilities are those being used for experiments (R&D), process demonstration, and for the production of weapons grade plutonium; examples of those facilities are listed below. From time to time other facilities may be used for Plutonium-AVLIS experiments and process demonstration and may be designated sensitive facilities. Certain unclassified design or design-related operational information about these facilities, as described in Section F, may be UCNI.

  1. Facilities at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) being used for Plutonium-AVLIS R&D and process demonstration, such as Building 490, the Laser and Separator Development Facility; Building 332, the Plutonium Facility, Building 335, the EDS Equipment Facility, and Building 161, Separator Development Facility.

  2. All facilities at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) being used for Plutonium-AVLIS Process demonstration and the SIS Plant when that facility is constructed.

  3. Essential support facilities (for the purposes of these guidelines, essential support facilities consist of facilities providing utilities, communications, and safeguards and security essential to performing sensitive functions concerning Plutonium-AVLIS).

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