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Appendix E The McMahon Act The McMahon Act (Atomic Energy Act of 1946) was focused on safeguards and security for materials that have significance in the development of"atomic fission." The Atomic Energy Act was significantly rewritten as the more familiar Atomic Energy Act of 1954. This version with several major amendments of its coverage and content comprises today's regulations from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Nonetheless the very first definitions that were designed to provide safeguards and security of materials involved in "atomic fission" survive with only slight changes in wording today. The ~ 946 definitions were: (b) Source Materials. (1) Definition. The term "source materials" shall include any ore containing uranium, thorium, or beryllium, and such other materials peculiarly essential to the production of fissionable materials as may be determined by the Commission with the approval of the President. (2) License for Transfers Required. No person may transfer possession or title to any source material after mining, extraction, or removal from its place of origin, and no person may receive any source material without a license Tom the Commission. (3) Issuance of Licenses. Any person desiring to transfer or receive possession of any source material shall apply for a license therefore in accordance with such procedures as the Commission may by regulation establish. The Commission shall establish such standards for the issuance or refusal of licenses, as it may deem necessary to assure adequate source materials for production, research or developmental activities pursuant to this Act or to prevent the use of such materials in a manner inconsistent with the national welfare. (c) Byproduct Materials. 64

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. (1) Definition. The term "byproduct material" shall be deemed to refer to all materials (except fissionable materials yielcled in the processes of producing fissionable material. (2) Distribution. The Commission is authorizes! and directed to distribute, with or without charge, byproduct materials to all applicants seeking such materials for research or developmental work, medical therapy, inclustrial uses, or such other useful applications as may be developed, if sufficient materials to meet all such requests are not available, the Commission shall allocate such materials among applicants therefore, giving preference to the use of such materials in the conduct of research ant! clevelopmental activity ant! medical therapy. The Commission shall refuse to distribute or allocate any byproduct materials to any applicant, or recall any materials after distribution or allocation from any applicant, who is not equipped or who fails to observe such safety stanciarcts to protect health as may be established by the Commission. See. 5. (a)(l) Definition. The term "fissionable materials" shall inclucle plutonium, uranium 235, and such other materials as the Commission may from time to time determine to be capable of releasing substantial quantities of energy through nuclear fission of the materials. (2) Privately Owned Fissionable Materials. Any person owning any right, title, or interest in or to any fissionable material shall forthwith transfer all such right, title, or interest to the Commission. (3) Prohibition. It shall be unlawful for any person to (a) own any fissionable material; or (b) after sixty days after the effective date of this Act and except as authorized by the Commission possess any fissionable material; or (c) export from or import into the United States any fissionable material, or directly or indirectly be a party to or in any way a beneficiary of, any contract, arrangement or other activity pertaining to the production, refining, or processing of any fissionable material outside of the United States. (4) Distribution of Fissionable Materials. The Commission is authorized and directed! to distribute fissionable materials to all applicants requesting such materials for the conduct of research or clevelopmental - activities either independently or under contract or other arrangement with the Commission. If sufficient materials are not available to meet all such requests, and applications for licenses under section 7, the Commission shall allocate fissionable materials among all such applicants in the manner best calculated to encourage independent research and development by making adequate fissionable materials available for such purposes. The Commission shall refuse to distribute or allocate any materials to any applicant, or shall recall any materials after distribution or allocation Tom any applicant, who is not equipped or who Interim Report 65

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66 fails to observe such safety standards to protect health and to minimize danger from explosion as may be established by the Commission." Interim Report