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Cablegate: Turkey: Mou Signed On Heu Fuel Return And

VZCZCXYZ0009
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAK #1870/01 3011415
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271415Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7807
INFO RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY 4892
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ANKARA 001870

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SE, EUR/PRA, ISN/NESS; DOE/NNSA FOR
BIENIAWSKI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KNNP ENRG MNUC PARM TRGY TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: MOU SIGNED ON HEU FUEL RETURN AND
CONVERSION OF TURKEY'S TR-2 RESEARCH REACTOR

REF: A. STATE 9294
B. ANKARA 401
C. STATE 106280
D. ANKARA 1721

Sensitive but Unclassified. Please Treat Accordingly.

1. (U) SUMMARY: Officials from the U.S. Department of
Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA)
Office of Global Threat Reduction, and from the Department's
Office of Nuclear Energy, Safety and Security (ISN/NESS) met
with the president and other officials from the Turkish
Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) on September 19 to re-engage
on discussions of highly-enriched-uranium (HEU) fuel return
and research-reactor conversion (REFS A and B) under the
Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI). The sides
successfully completed and signed a Memorandum of
Understanding and a side letter (text in paragraph 8) that
outlined their respective plans for completing this project.
Some additional discussion took place on possible GTRI
cooperation in the area of radiological security, about which
a follow-up letter and nonpaper was sent to TAEK on October 3
(REF C). END SUMMARY.

-------------------------------------------
Greater Receptivity Following 123 Agreement
-------------------------------------------

2. (U) Prior to the U.S. bringing into force the U.S.-Turkey
Agreement for Cooperation ("123 Agreement") in June, TAEK had
remained resistant to re-engaging in talks on repatriation of
the U.S.-origin HEU fuel at the TR-2 research reactor at
Cekmece. In light of the 123 Agreement and possibly also due
to Turkey having just participated in aa bilateral
interagency symposium with various U.S. agencies on
nonproliferation and export control cooperation (REF D), TAEK
president Okay Cakiroglu seemed eager to get down to business
and finally take steps to complete the fuel-return project.
His main concerns were addressed in the draft MOU presented
by the U.S. side at the initial meeting, namely (a) that
fresh LEU replacement fuel be provided prior to the removal
of the HEU fuel still in the core, so as to minimize any
impact on reactor operations, and (b) that a full contingent
of LEU fuel be provided, including enough to cover a leftover
"credit" for a partial HEU repatriation carried out in 1984,
prior to the expiration of the former 123 Agreement. TAEK
participants agreed that the 18 fresh fuel assemblies (FA)
were a very reasonable trade for the 30 HEU FA's to be
returned, all but one of which was irradiated.

----------------------------
Conditions to Close the Deal
----------------------------

3. (SBU) After briefly reviewing the draft MOU, Cakiroglu
presented only two concerns: (a) that the contracting for
the replacement LEU be "clean" and bilateral, and not be
complicated by a trilateral undertaking in which Areva-CERCA,
a French company, would be mentioned as providing -- on
different terms -- 10 of the 18 fuel elements, and (b) that
the one "fresh" (non-irradiated) HEU fuel element at Cekmece
be allowed to remain in Turkey for scientific and
instrumentation-related research, given that it would be
virtually impossible to obtain any more HEU in the future.

4. (SBU) The U.S. side suggested that if the leftover credit
still on the books at DOE's Y-12 site (for roughly 4.7 kg of
HEU, translating into the equivalent of about 21 kg of LEU
equivalent) could be cleared off the books in this
transaction, then DOE would likely be able to provide all 18
replacement elements in a single DOE-funded contract. Before
the afternoon meeting with TAEK, the U.S. del contacted
Areva-CERCA representative Larent Halle, who was able to
confirm CERCA's willingness to proceed in this manner and
that the nominal time between contract signing and delivery
of the LEU fuel to Turkey would be 12 months.

5. (SBU) Regarding Turkey,s request to retain the fresh HEU
fuel assembly, the U.S. side suggested that TAEK provide a
side letter that would state the scientific justification for
retaining the one fresh HEU element (which contains about 200
g of uranium) for research and instrumentation. The letter
should also note that this material would be subject to all
appropriate physical protection measures and safeguards, not
be re-inserted into the reactor, and be made available for
return to the United States (without further LEU
compensation) as soon as it was no longer needed for such

research in Turkey. The U.S. side also pressed for a
compromise in which Turkey would retain only a few of the 17
plates in that assembly, but TAEK argued that removal of
plates from such an instrumented control assembly would not
be advisable prior to shipment.

-----------------------------------
Discussion on Radiological Security
-----------------------------------

6. (SBU) In the afternoon meeting, after the MOU and side
letter were signed (final text included in paragraph 8,
signed originals were hand-carried by the delegation back to
Washington, copies of the documents have been sent to EUR/SE
and DOE/NNSA), the U.S. head of del also raised the
possibility of GTRI cooperation on radiological security --
for example, physical protection for sources used in
hospitals or radiological border security involving Iraq and
Jordan. Cakiroglu pushed back with several points: Turkey's
regulation (through TAEK) of radioactive sources now involves
over 30,000 licenses and is better than most countries in the
EU and vastly improved vs. 5 years ago; there is no problem
with orphaned sources in Turkey; any terrorists in Turkey
would probably be too afraid of the radioactivity from
hospital sources to try to steal them. He did note, however,
that it might be of interest to have U.S. and Turkish experts
"mutually" discuss their approaches, such as "design basis
threat" assessments and relevant countermeasures based on
that methodology, and if the U.S. had any concerns with
specific facilities in Turkey in this regard, they should be
mentioned explicitly. (The U.S. followed up on these points
with a proposal in REF C for a meeting of experts.)

7. (SBU) Cakiroglu also agreed that there had been some
ongoing concerns with radioactive scrap metal coming into
Turkey from Iraq 3-4 years ago. He mentioned that several
actions were proposed at the time to address this (including
installing detectors 10 km within Iraq; providing training in
Turkey for 30 Iraqi experts, or a joint meeting of
senior-level officials with Jordan), but he was aware of
little follow-through except for a $230,000 IAEA-funded
radiological-security project for Iraq. Nevertheless, these
problems have since diminished. He also claimed that
radiological research in Turkey was continuing to make
progress, and that certain agricultural accomplishments were
especially noteworthy, including advances in affecting the
blooming cycle of olive trees, a key crop in Turkey's
economy.

8. (U) BEGIN TEXT OF MOU AND SIDE LETTER:

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN
THE TURKISH ATOMIC ENERGY AUTHORITY OF THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY
AND
THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
CONCERNING REPLACEMENT OF TR-2 RESEARCH REACTOR FUEL FOR
CONTINUED OPERATIONS

RECOGNIZING the Agreement of Cooperation between the
Government of the United States and the Government of the
Republic of Turkey Concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear
Energy that entered into force on June 2, 2008;

ACKNOWLEDGING that peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be
encouraged in ways that reduce proliferation risks;

The Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) and the United
States Department of Energy (DOE), through its National
Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) agree to move forward
to establish a low enriched uranium (LEU) fueled TR-2
Research Reactor for continued reactor operations.

NNSA and TAEK note their intent in principle to cooperate on
completing the full conversion of the TR-2 Research Reactor
at the ekmece Nuclear Research and Training Center to
operate on LEU fuel and on returning the highly enriched
uranium fuel to the country of origin. NNSA and TAEK intend
to accomplish these efforts through the following actions:

1. NNSA will provide 18 LEU replacement fuel assemblies,
which are equivalent in amount to the unused U-235 in the 30
assemblies to be repatriated and account for all past credits
between TAEK and NNSA;

2. During LEU fuel fabrication, TAEK and NNSA will enter
into a contract for the return of the HEU fuel to the United
States under the general provisions of the example contract

provided by NNSA with several additional clarifications:

a. Replacement LEU fuel will be delivered to the ekmece
Nuclear Research and Training Center prior to the discharge
of the TR-2 HEU fuel so as to ensure no impact on reactor
operations,

b. Following this meeting, DOE/NNSA will immediately
initiate contract negotiations so that replacement LEU fuel
will be delivered to the ekmece Nuclear Research and
Training Center within 12 months of signing of the contract,

c. The TR-2 reactor will be converted to operation on LEU
fuel only,

d. Other conditions as mutually agreed upon.

3. Upon delivery of the new LEU fuel to the ekmece
Nuclear Research and Training Center, TAEK would make
available and coordinate the prompt return of the HEU to the
United States under the conditions of the TAEK ) NNSA
contract;

4. NNSA would pay for transport costs associated with
repatriation of the HEU fuel and TAEK would assist with
coordination within Turkey; and

5. No fees would be charged to TAEK for fuel disposition.

Signed at TAEK, on the 19th day of September, 2008.

FOR THE NNSA:
/s/
Andrew Bieniawski
Assistant Deputy Administrator
For Global Threat Reduction

FOR TAEK:
/s/
Okay Cakiroglu
President

END TEXT OF MOU.

BEGIN TEXT OF SIDE LETTER:

(LETTERHEAD) TURKISH ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY

Mr. Andrew Bieniawski
Director, Office of Global Threat Reduction
U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security
Administration
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. Bieniawski:

Referring to the Memorandum of Understanding between TAEK and
DOE/NNSA of September 19, 2008, concerning low enriched
uranium replacement fuel for the TR-2 Reactor at Cekmece and
return of the highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel elements to
the United States, I would like to confirm the following
understandings:

TAEK will retain one unirradiated HEU fuel assembly (which is
an instrumented control assembly consisting of 17 plates,
containing a total of approximately 208 grams of U-235) for
research, scientific, and instrumentation purposes.

The retained HEU material will not be inserted into the TR-2
reactor.

All appropriate physical protection measures and requisite
IAEA safeguards will continue to be applied to this material.

TAEK intends to make this material available for return to
the United States in the future once it is no longer needed
for the above-stated purposes in Turkey.

Sincerely,

/s/

Okay CAKIROGLU
President

END TEXT OF SIDE LETTER.

9. (U) Participants:

Andrew Bieniawski, Director, Office of Global Threat
Reduction, DOE/NNSA/NA-21 (Head of Del)
Dan Fenstermacher, Office of Nuclear Energy, Safety and
Security, ISN/NESS, Dept. of State
Chuck Messick, Program Manager, FRR SNF Acceptance Program,
Savannah River Site

Okay Cakiroglu, President, TAEK
Dr. Ali Tanerkurt, Vice President, TAEK
Dr. Ediz Tanker, Vice President, TAEK
Ms. Aysun Yucel, Head of Nuclear Safety Department, TAEK
Dr. A. Sinan Taylan, Head of Nuclear Installation Division of
the Cekmece Nuclear Research and Training Center

10. (U) This cable was cleared by the U.S. delegation.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey

WILSON

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