WASHINGTON -- The Commerce Department's Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) today imposed a $180,000 civil penalty on the firm of Lasertechnics, Inc., located in Albuquerque, N. M., for allegedly exporting U.S.-origin thyratrons from the United States without the required export licenses. Payment of $80,000 of the civil penalty will be suspended for three years, and thereafter waived provided Lasertechnics, Inc., during the period of suspension, commits no violations of the Export Administration Act (EAA) or the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
While neither admitting nor denying the allegations, Lasertechnics cooperated with BXA in connection with the investigation. Based on an investigation by the Los Angeles Field Office of BXA's Office of Export Enforcement, the Department alleged that on 36 separate occasions, from November 1991 through March 1994, Lasertechnics, Inc. exported U.S.-origin thyratrons from the United States to Hong Kong, Ireland, Malaysia and Singapore without obtaining the licenses required by the EAR for nuclear nonproliferation reasons.
Thyratrons send a high voltage current through a device and can be used as a nuclear triggering device, but can also be used for medical and scientific purposes. Hydrogen thyratrons were controlled at the time of the violations for nuclear non-proliferation reasons and are currently controlled for anti-terrorism reasons.
"We control the export of thyratrons and other highly technical equipment to most nations because we are concerned about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction which may be used by terrorists," said Frank Deliberti, acting assistant secretary for Export Enforcement. "The serious nature of our concern for unauthorized exports is demonstrated by the size of this penalty."
The Department of Commerce controls and licenses exports and reexports of dual-use commodities, and technology, and enforces those controls. Under the authority of the the Inter-national Emergency Economic Powers Act, and the EAR, Commerce's BXA maintains controls on these items for reasons of national security, foreign policy, nonproliferation, and short supply.
In April of 2002 the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) changed its name to the Bureau of Industry and Security(BIS). For historical purposes we have not changed the references to BXA in the legacy documents found in the Archived Press and Public Information.