This document identifies information pertaining to the Uranium-Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS) process 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 DOE Office of Nuclear Materials Production, will identify information pertaining to the Special Isotope Separation and the Plutonium-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. Thus, there is information about Uranium-AVLIS that must be protected as UCNI because of the significance of that information to the Plutonium-AVLIS process.
The guidelines contained in this document are the basis for development of internal guidelines specifying what information pertaining to the issuing organization is UCNI.
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 6, 10, 12, 22 through 25, and the back cover may be released as reasonably segregable 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, local classification guides) should be utilized to determine that the information being considered for control as UCNI is in fact unclassified.
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.
All authorized DOE and DOE contractor UCNI Reviewing Officials are to base their UCNI determinations regarding documents or material pertaining to the Uranium-AVLIS process on this guide. Determinations regarding the SIS Program or the Plutonium-AVLIS process are to be based on separate guidelines under the cognizance of the DOE Office of Nuclear Materials Production.
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 the Advanced Isotope Separation (AIS) Program or the Uranium-AVLIS process shall be based on this guide.
Persons other than Reviewing Officials and Denying Officials are to use this guide to make preliminary review determinations that a document or material pertaining to the Uranium-AVLIS process may contain UCNI if that person:
Any Reviewing Official may recommend to the Director for Office of Advanced Technology Projects 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 Advanced Technology Projects shall review such recommendations and, if appropriate, initiate the formal process to revise this guide.
The goal of the DOE Advanced Isotope Separation (AIS) Program is to develop and demonstrate technology for the economical separation of uranium for commercial reactor fuel. This program has been sponsored by the DOE Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy since the mid-1970s. The intent of the DOE is to be able to proceed with construction and operation of a uranium-isotope separation plant, funded either by the Government or by private sources, in a way that will allow the U.S. Uranium Enrichment Enterprise to remain a strong competitive force in the world uranium market and to ensure a continuing economical supply of enriched uranium for domestic utilities. The Uranium-AVLIS process has been selected by DOE as the advanced isotope separation technology for further development and possible deployment in a uranium isotope separation plant.
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 uranium isotope separation, the laser light is tuned to ionize 235U atoms and leave 238U atoms neutral. The 235U is then collected on negatively charged product collector elements. The neutral 238U is unaffected by the electric field and is collected on the roof of the separator pod from which the condensed vapor can then be recovered separately. The AVLIS process uses dye lasers to accomplish the atomic ionization in the vapor. The dye lasers are frequency-tunable and generate the precise wavelength required to ionize the 235U. The dye lasers are pumped by electrically driven copper lasers.
While the goal of the AIS Program is to develop and demonstrate technology for the separation of uranium for commercial reactor fuels, the AVLIS process and technology can be adapted to the separation of fissile isotopes for defense applications such as in nuclear weapons. Uranium-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 following types of unclassified information about Uranium-AVLIS are UCNI:
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; separator design and electron beam gun technology with related ancillary components. This may include certain information about uranium processing technology and refractory materials technology.
To be UCNI, in addition to the criteria set forth in DOE Order 5650.3, the AVLIS information:
Generally, information about a technology applicable to AVLIS that is being pursued for another application is not UCNI unless sensitive design information pertinent 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.
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 Uranium-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 only prevent safe shutdown under normal or abnormal conditions. Information that could only assist a malefactor in preventing operation of such facilities would not normally be UCNI.
NOTE: The product of a Uranium-AVLIS Plant is special nuclear material (SNM) because it is enriched in 235U. Since it contains less than 20% 235U, it is referred to as low enriched uranium (LEU).
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 Uranium AVLIS fall in the following two categories and information about these functions may be UCNI:
A sensitive facility is one in which a sensitive function is performed. For Uranium-AVLIS, the sensitive facilities are those being used for experiments and process demonstration; examples of those facilities are listed below. From time to time other facilities may be used for Uranium-AVLIS experiments and process demonstration and may be designated sensitive facilities. Certain unclassified design and design related operational information, as described in Section F, about these facilities may be UCNI.