NUMEC/Apollo Affair NRC

Emma Best filed this request with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking # 2016-0468
Est. Completion None
Status
Partially Completed

Communications

From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Files relating to or mentioning the the Apollo Affair, a 1965 incident in which a US company, Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC), in the Pittsburgh suburbs of Apollo and Parks Township, Pennsylvania was investigated for losing 200–600 pounds (91–272 kg) of highly enriched uranium, with suspicions that it had gone to Israel's nuclear weapons program.

In February 1976 the CIA briefed senior staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about the matter, stating that the CIA believed the missing highly enriched uranium went to Israel. The NRC informed the White House, leading to President-elect Carter being briefed about the investigation. Carter asked for an assessment by his National Security Advisor, whose staff concluded "The CIA case is persuasive, though not conclusive."

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Michael Best

From: Blaney, Stephanie

Acknowledgment letter signed by Roger Andoh, FOIA Officer. No hard copy to follow. If you are unable to open the document, please let us know by return email (FOIA.Resource@nrc.gov) or call 301-415-7169.
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___________________

UNITED STATES
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555-0001


May 12, 2016

FOIA/PA-2016-00468

Michael Best
MuckRock
DEPT MR25638
411A Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

Dear Mr. Best:

We received your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on May 11, 2016.

Your request, which seeks access to files relating to or mentioning the Apollo Affair, has been assigned the following reference number that you should use in any future communications with us about your request: FOIA/PA-2016-00468.

To ensure the most equitable treatment possible of all requesters, the NRC processes requests on a first-in, first-out basis, using a multiple track system based upon the estimated time it will take to process a request. Based on your description of the records you are seeking, we estimate completion of your request will be on or before June 9, 2016.

Please know that this date roughly estimates how long it will take us to close requests ahead of yours in the respective track and complete work on your request. The actual date of completion might be before or after this estimate, based on the complexity of all of the requests in the simple track. We will advise you of any change in the estimated time to complete your request. In an effort to process your request promptly, you may wish to narrow the scope of your request to limit the volume of potentially responsive records.

For purposes of assessing fees in accordance with our regulations (10 CFR 9.33), we have placed your request in the following category: News Media Representative. If applicable, you will be charged appropriate fees for: Duplication Only.

A sheet has been enclosed that explains in detail the fee charges that may be applicable. Please do not submit any payment unless we notify you to do so.
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The following person is the Government Information Specialist who has been assigned responsibility for your request: Stephanie Blaney at 301-415-6975 or Stephanie.Blaney@nrc.gov.

If you have questions on any matters concerning your FOIA request, please feel free to contact the assigned Government Information Specialist or me at (301) 415-7169.

Sincerely,

Roger D. Andoh /s/

Roger D. Andoh
FOIA Officer
Office of the Chief Information Officer

Enclosures:
Explanation of Fees

EXPLANATION OF FEES

Requester Fee Categories

Commercial: Fees are charged for document search, duplication, and review, when records are requested for commercial purposes. Fees (above the minimum fee charge) cannot be waived for this category of requester.

Educational, Non-Commercial Scientific, News Media and Privacy Act: Fees may be charged only for document duplication when records are not sought for commercial use and the request is made by an Educational or Non-Commercial Scientific Institution, whose purpose is scholarly or scientific research; or a Representative of the News Media; or a person requesting his/her own records that are in a Privacy Act system of records. No fee is charged for the first one hundred pages of duplication for this category of requester.

Non-Excepted: For any request not described above (Non-Excepted), fees may be charged for document search and duplication. No fee is charged for the first two hours of search time or for the first one hundred pages of duplication for this category of requester.

Fee Schedules

Fee schedules provide only for the recovery of the direct costs of search, duplication, or review. Review costs include only the costs for initial examination of a document to determine whether it must be disclosed and to determine whether to withhold portions that are exempt from disclosure. The fee schedule is as follows:

Search & Review
Conducted By Rate

! SES/COMMISSIONER $90.53/hour (ES-maximum)

! PROFESSIONAL $56.36/hour (GG-13, Step 6)

! CLERICAL $25.16/hour (GG-7, Step 7)

Duplication Charges $.20 per page

Fees for non-standard search or duplication will be charged at the actual cost (e.g. providing copying of audio tapes or conducting computer searches).

Minimum Fee: No fee will be charged unless the fee is equal to or greater than $25.00.

When to Pay Fees

If we estimate that fees will not exceed $25.00 or you have stated in your request a higher amount that you are willing to pay, we assume your willingness to pay up to $25 or the amount stipulated and you will be billed after we have completed your request.

If we estimate that fees will exceed $25.00 or any amount that has been stated by you in your request, we will not proceed with your request until we have notified you and obtained your agreement to pay the estimated fees.

If we estimate fees will exceed $250, you will be required to pay the estimated fees in advance before we proceed further with your request. If, while processing your request, we find that the actual fees exceed the estimated fee, we will obtain your consent to pay the additional fees before continuing to process your request. If the actual fees to process your request are less than any advance payment you have made, you will be refunded the overpayment amount.

Fee Waivers

A waiver or reduction of fees may be granted for furnishing documents if a requester, by fully addressing the eight factors in 10 CFR 9.41, clearly demonstrates that disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

From: Blaney, Stephanie

Good Morning Mr. Best,

I am still waiting on one office to respond to me. I will follow up with them today as to their status. Once I have that I’ll be able to move forward.
Thanks,
Stephanie Blaney
Government Specialist
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
301-415-6975

From: Michael Best

Stephanie,

Thanks for keeping me updating!

Michael

From: Blaney, Stephanie

Good Afternoon Mr. Best,

The only document that I have received regarding this request is a NUREG which was published in 1980 and discussing “A Safeguards Study of the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation Uranium Processing Plant, Apollo, Pennsylvania”. There is an Executive Summary, Appendix A (UNCLASSIFIED), and Appendix B (with Proprietary Information Removed).

These contain the following:

The Executive Summary

- Safeguards Requirements in the mid-1960s

- The AEC Philosophy of Financial Responsibility

- Physical Protection Program Deficiencies

- Material Control and Accounting Program Deficiencies

Appendix A (UNCLASSIFIED)

- Discussion of the old security program that is not in place any more

Appendix A (CLASSIFIED) would continue to be withheld under Ex. 1 because some of the information may still be in place at different plants.

Appendix B (with Proprietary Information Removed)

- General discussion of the lack of rigor in the old safeguards program, again this is not in place any more

I searched previous FOIA requests and the only other types of records I found were some decommissioning documents that are already publicly available. We did have 2 similar requests to yours that came in back in 2011 and 2008 and both of those the NRC responded with No Records as well. Please let me know if you’d like me to provide you these responsive records. If you are not interested in these please let me know and we can close your request.

Sorry for the delay, but I had to get responses from all offices.

Thank you again,
Stephanie Blaney
Government Information Specialist
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
301-415-6975

From: Michael Best

Thank you for your response. I'd like all available records.

I really appreciate you describing what is and isn't available to me and checking before providing information that might be a waste of everyone's time (like information about the other No Records responses). I look forward to reviewing what you have been able to find.

Michael Best

From: Blaney, Stephanie

This works for me and I have no problem with doing that. I will get this processed for you and I’d hope to be able to get it signed off on and out the door tomorrow.
Thanks,
Stephanie

From: Blaney, Stephanie

Good Morning Mr. Best,

I wanted to let you know that I am going to send you those NUREGs that I mentioned below, however our Commission office notified me that our historian ended up locating a box of records that may be responsive. I am working with them to see whether anything is in fact responsive. I just wanted to let you know this because the NUREG response will be marked as an interim response and not a final as I was originally expecting. If we find that none of those documents in the box are responsive I will let you know and then close the request.
Thanks,
Stephanie Blaney

From: Admin, Admin

Dear Mr. Best:
We are pleased to inform you that we have completed some work on your request, FOIA/PA-2016-00468.  Because the size of the file, consisting of the Form 464 response (copy attached), and set of released records, is too large to be emailed to you, we are mailing the Form 464 response, accompanied by a CD containing the released records, to you today.
Thank you.
Freedom of Information, Privacy & Information Collections Branch Customer Service Division, Office of the Chief Information Officer
Mail Stop: T-5F09
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, D.C. 20555-0001
FOIA.Resource@nrc.gov
Ph: 301-415-7169    Fax: 301-415-5130

From: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Admin, Admin

Dear Mr. Best:
Please find attached NRC’s interim response #2 to your FOIA request, FOIA/PA-2016-00468.
Thank you,
Freedom of Information, Privacy & Information Collections Branch Customer Service Division, Office of the Chief Information Officer
Mail Stop: T-5F09
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, D.C. 20555-0001
Ph: 301-415-7169    Fax: 301-415-5130 (mailto:FOIA.Resource@nrc.gov) FOIA.Resource@nrc.gov

From: Blaney, Stephanie

Good Morning Mr. Best,

I am getting ready to send you another set of records responsive to your request. These records were records that were responsive to a similar request back in 1978. There may be additional information in storage from the previous Chairman during that time, however if there is we are confident that likely that information is marked Classified and would still remain classified, which wouldn’t be released. If these records are located they would need to have a declassification review completed, which we are anticipating would remain classified. This will become more time consuming and I wanted to make sure you were aware. If you are not interested in us searching those records would you be willing to exclude classified material from your request at this time? If not, we will continue to search this last area and get back to you, unfortunately I do not have a time frame of how long it will take.

I hope to have the records which were released in the prior FOIA out the door this week, no later than next.

Thank you,
Stephanie Blaney
Government Information Specialist
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
301-415-6975

From: Michael Best

Stephanie Blaney,

Thank you so much for following up about this. I look forward to the additional records released through a similar previous request.

I would appreciate the declassification review for the other materials, if they can be located. If they can be located but remain classified, I'd like any processing/review notes that were generated during the review. If there's an unclassified description of the materials, looking at that might allow me to exclude the material and save everyone the trouble of finding and reviewing them. I doubt it would be irrelevant to my research, but if there's anything that would indicate that it is I'd rather not waste everyone's time.

Thank you so much for all of your help. =)

Michael Best

From: Blaney, Stephanie

Thank you for your reply and we will continue with our search and if any are found we will proceed with the declassification review process. I will get back to you.

FYI, I am out of the office next week on vacation so it might be after that.

Thanks again for your understanding and cooperation,
Stephanie Blaney

From: Admin, Admin

Dear Mr. Best:
Please find attached NRC’s interim response #3 to your FOIA request, FOIA/PA-2016-00468.

Thank you,
Freedom of Information, Privacy & Information Collections Branch Customer Service Division, Office of the Chief Information Officer
Mail Stop: T-5F09
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, D.C. 20555-0001
Ph: 301-415-7169    Fax: 301-415-5130 (mailto:FOIA.Resource@nrc.gov) FOIA.Resource@nrc.gov

From: Blaney, Stephanie

Good Afternoon,

Sorry for the long gap since we last spoke, but I have another interim release of records that are already public coming your way, hopefully today or tomorrow. I do have another handful of old records I received that have to be referred and as soon as I get those back with their release determinations I will send them to you. In storage we located some old magnetic tape reels, however we don’t know what is on them and whether or not they are responsive. They are dated from during that timeframe so there is a possibility. The problem is the agency no longer has a magnetic tape player. There will be costs associated with transcribing these tapes. Please let me know if you’re interested in these records and if so what is your willingness to pay?

I believe the only remaining place to continue searching is through for any possible classified material. I will see if there is an unclassified description that we could provide you so you could exclude certain records.

Again, sorry for the gap in communication and look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you,
Stephanie Blaney
Government Information Specialist
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
301-415-6975

From: Michael Best

I am interested in those records, however I believe those costs would be search costs which do not apply. As a member of the search media, only duplication fees may be charged.

From: Admin, Admin

Dear Mr. Best:
Please find attached NRC’s fourth interim response to your FOIA request, FOIA/PA-2016-00468.  We are continuing to process your request.

Thank you,
Freedom of Information, Privacy & Information Collections Branch Customer Service Division, Office of the Chief Information Officer
Mail Stop: T-5F09
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, D.C. 20555-0001
Ph: 301-415-7169    Fax: 301-415-5130 (mailto:FOIA.Resource@nrc.gov) FOIA.Resource@nrc.gov

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