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Cablegate: Conversion of Argentina's Ra-6 Research Reactor To

VZCZCXYZ0014
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1262 2541809
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101809Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1988
INFO RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001262

SIPDIS

FOR ISN/NESS FOR DAN FENSTERMACHER
DOE FOR DOE/NNSA/NA-212 FOR PARRISH STAPLES
DOE ALSO FOR DOE/NNSA/NA-211 FOR RAYMOND GREENBERG JR.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KNNP TRGY ENRG PARM AR
SUBJECT: CONVERSION OF ARGENTINA'S RA-6 RESEARCH REACTOR TO
TAKE PLACE PRIOR TO END OF SEPTEMBER

REF: STATE 83447

1. On September 8, ESTCouns met with Lic. Norma Boero,
President of Argentina's National Energy Commission (CNEA by
its Spanish acronym) to follow up on reftel demarche. EST
Couns delivered another copy of DOE Assistant Deputy
Administrator Bieniawski's letter and discussed the
invitation to the IAEA October meeting in Washington, as well
as the conversion of Argentina's RA-6 reactor. Boero could
not yet confirm whether she would be able to attend the
Washington meeting, but pledged she would do her utmost to
re-arrange her travel schedule in order to do so. ESTCouns
will continue to press Boero for a decision as soon as
possible on her attendance. As for the RA-6 conversion,
Boero was pleased to announce that the CNEA planned to meet
this milestone on September 19 and delivered a letter to this
effect, addressed to DOE's BienIawski. Text of letter
follows.

2. BEGIN TEXT OF LETTER

Commission Nacional de Energia Atomica
Buenos Aires, 8 de septiembre de 2008

Dr. Andrew bieniawski
Assistant Deputy Administrator For Global Threat Reduction
DOE

The Argentine Republic has established four milestones within
the frame of the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test
Reactors (RERTR) international programme, created by the
United States Department of Energy (US DOE), and according to
the terms of the following Contracts: Contract No
DE-SC55-05NA25735 and No DE-GI55-05NA25738, both signed by
the National Commission of Atomic Energy (CNEA, by its
Spanish acronym) and the US DOE, by means of the National
Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Said milestones are
as follows:

1. Export campaign of High Enriched Uranium Fuel Plates
formally fabricated for RA-2 Argentine reactor.
2. Export campaign of High Enriched Spent Fuel Elements (HEU
FE) from RA-6 Argentine reactor to the United States of
America.
3. Manufacture of new Low Enriched Fuel Elements (LEU FE) in
Argentina which shall be received in RA-6 reactor.
4. Placing of the first LEU FE in the core of RA-6 reactor
with the aim of fulfilling the last stage of the Facility
Conversion to Low Enrichment Fuel Element Operating
Facilities.

Whereas the first stage was successfully achieved in July
2006, the second one was achieved by the end of 2007,
concluding with the storage of the above stated FE in the
USA. Subsequently, the fabrication of new LEU core was
finished at the end of 2007, precisely in September of said
year.

Finally, at present, the CNEA is working hard in order to
meet the last milestone, in other words, to begin with the
core filling, which according to the internal schedule is to
take place on September 19, 2008. This task will complete
the main objective of CNEA, that is, to transform all its
facilities into facilities operating by means of Low Enriched
Uranium. Nevertheless, it is considered that RA-6 reactor
will achieve criticality in November 2008. This will
demonstrate that CNEA has adhered to the acceptance programme
of SNFFRR (Spent Nuclear Fuel of Foreign Research Reactor)
and specially to the Reduced Environment for Research and
Test Reactors (RERTR) programme.

Lic. Norma L. Boero
Presidenta

END TEXT LETTER

WAYNE

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