Cablegate: Nnsa Administrator Seeks Brazil Support for Nsg Proposal On Enrichment and Reprocessing Technolgy Transfers
DE RUEHBR #1529/01 3301705
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251705Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2991
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5946
INFO RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 3126
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 6930
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 8753
RUCNNSG/NUCLEAR SUPPLIERS GROUP COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 001529
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG ETTC KNNP MNUC PARM TRGY IAEA BR
SUBJECT: NNSA ADMINISTRATOR SEEKS BRAZIL SUPPORT FOR NSG PROPOSAL ON ENRICHMENT AND REPROCESSING TECHNOLGY TRANSFERS
REF: (A) STATE 115509,
(B) BRASILIA 1354
1. (U) THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED AND NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION.
2. (SBU) SUMMARY. On November 5, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator D'Agostino met with senior officials of the Government of Brazil (GOB) - Ministry of Exterior Relations (MRE) Under Secretary Vargas and Defense Minister Jobim - to urge them to work with the USG in developing acceptable language for a criteria-based proposal for Nuclear Suppler Group control of transfers of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) equipment and technology. The MRE, which leads the GOB effort, is ready and willing to review the draft language as soon as it is available. Nonetheless, the GOB made clear that it would not accept anything that would indicate that Brazil should adopt an IAEA Additional Protocol; the GOB views adoption of an AP as a complex matter, and it has not concluded its internal deliberations. END SUMMARY.
3. (SBU) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Thomas D'Agostino, Adam Scheinman, NNSA's Assistant Deputy Administrator for Non-Proliferation and International Security, and Captain Peter H. Hanlon, Captain, Executive Staff Director and Military Assistant to the Administrator, came to Brasilia to discuss nuclear safeguards. Specifically, D'Agostino met with senior officials from Government of Brazil (GOB) to urge support for reaching consensus at the November 19 meeting of the Consultative Group of the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) on a U.S. criteria-based proposal for NSG control of transfers of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) equipment and technology (REFTEL A). On November 5, the Administrator met with Brazilian Ministry of External Relations (MRE) Under Secretary for Policy, Amb. Everton Vargas, and later with Minister of Defense Nelson Jobim. NOTE: Embassy's request for a meeting with MRE Deputy Minister Samuel Pinheiro Guimaraes Neto was turned down because he was "unavailable" all day; he is a key player in matters regarding nuclear safeguard issues. END NOTE.
MEETING WITH UNDER SECRETARY VARGAS
4. (SBU) Administrator D'Agostino met with Amb. Vargas and his staff. He said that the USG hoped to bring the effort to develop a criteria-based ENR transfer proposal to a successful conclusion after three years of work. D'Agostino stressed that the USG recognized the issue of Brazil adopting an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol (AP) was a sensitive one for the GOB and would take time to implement. Therefore, he wanted to delink the AP adoption issue from that of supporting the criteria-based ENR transfer proposal at the NSG. He suggested that the USG and GOB try to work out differences on the ENR proposal before the upcoming NSG meeting. Scheinman briefed Vargas on progress being made on resolving the outstanding issues with Canada on the proposal. Scheinman expected that Canada would be on board shortly. NOTE: With Canada supporting the NSG proposal, the only remaining countries with significant objection would be Brazil and Argentina. END NOTE.
5. (SBU) Vargas said the AP and the ENR proposal were complex issues. He appreciated that the NNSA Administrator had come to Brasilia to hear the GOB's views. He noted that Argentina might have concerns apart from the issues that the GOB had with references to an AP. Vargas explained that the GOB did not want to see impediments to Brazil's programs or Brazil's and Argentina's common development. He noted that the GOB has an ongoing enrichment program at Resende run by the Navy and also plans to build from 4-6 new reactors by 2030 (REFTEL B). Vargas did say that the GOB had no intention of sharing its ENR technology with any other countries, including Argentina. However, he did not know what might happen in the future and he did not want to restrict Brazil's access to ENR technology or its ability to share technology with Argentina.
6. (SBU) Vargas said, the GOB has been discussing the question of an AP for some time now, but has not decided whether to adopt it or not. Thus, anything that turns on an AP as a pre-condition or criteria would be a problem for Brazil, he stated. Nonetheless, the GOB does support the non-proliferation goals and work of the NSG and has collaborated closely with the USG on sensitive matters, such as the India deal. In the end, however, Vargas made clear that the GOB cannot accept "language that calls for Brazil to sign an Additional Protocol". Brazil is open to working with the USG, he added, but would have great difficulty in making an AP a threshold condition for ENR transfers. Vargas's deputy, Carlos Sergio Sobral Duarte, MRE Director of the Department of International Organizations (which oversees IAEA matters), added that the GOB wants to strengthen the
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NSG, but did not want to hinder its nuclear development.
7. (SBU) D'Agostino clarified that the USG did not intend to hamstring Brazil's nuclear programs. He said, we just want to make sure that ENR transfers occur in a responsible fashion. We would be sending the GOB shortly draft language that would seek to accomplish those ends, promised D'Agostino. The proposal would involve using the inspections and safeguards provided by the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC). He said that he was ready to come back to Brazil to meet with Deputy Minister Guimaraes and/or Amb. Vargas once they had a chance to see the USG proposed language. Vargas thanked D'Agostino for the offer of a second visit, noting the GOB would first want to look over the proposal.
8. (SBU) As for an AP itself, D'Agostino pointed out that the USG would put an AP in place this year. The USG had many years of dealing with hundreds of IAEA inspections and has been able to protect its national security interests. He proposed that the GOB send officials to the USG to learn about the USG experience with inspections. This could help to alleviate their concerns about disclosure of their technology or sensitive or proprietary information.
9. (SBU) Amb. Vargas was accompanied by Carlos Duarte, MRE's Americas Desk Director Joao Tabajara de Oliveira Junior, MRE's Acting Director of the Division of Sensitive Technologies, Fabio Simao Alves, and Army Col. Leal, who handles science and technology issues. Administrator D'Agostino and party were joined from the Embassy by Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Cherie Jackson, Science Counselor Richard Driscoll, and Political Military Officer John Erath.
MEETING WITH DEFENSE MINISTER JOBIM
10. (SBU) At a subsequent meeting, Defense Minister Jobim said he too would be ready to review any language the USG would propose, but stated that any text that would oblige Brazil to adhere to an AP would be unacceptable. Jobim told D'Agostino that the MRE would be the decision maker for the GOB, although the Ministry of Defense would be consulted. He underlined the importance of nuclear power in Brazil and the Brazilian Navy's sensitivity about protecting its proprietary enrichment technology. Ambassador Sobel, who joined D'Agostino at the meeting, noted that the United States and Brazil shared an objective of protecting ENR technology and asked that Brazil approach the issue from the point of view of seeing what it could do in the short term to restrict transfers of such technology while leaving the question of the AP aside. Jobim promised to give any USG proposals careful attention.
11. (SBU) The visit of NNSA Administrator underscored the USG's great interest in quickly developing with the GOB acceptable language on a criteria-based ENR transfer proposal for the NSG. In concept, there appears to be a way forward, so long as it does not explicitly or implicitly increase pressure on the GOB to adopt an AP. The GOB officials seem ready and willing to work with the USG to that end. As Amb. Vargas underscored, the USG and the GOB have successfully worked together on sensitive negotiations in the past, and he signaled a willingness to try to do so again here. Given Brazilian sensitivities, we expect that they will proceed cautiously and may not be able to take a decision prior to the upcoming NSG meeting.