Cablegate: 3-4 December Nuclear Safety and Security Group
DE RUEHKO #3432/01 3520727
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 170727Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9526
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 1551
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2291
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 2653
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 9761
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 6367
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 2219
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0509
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2971
UNCLAS TOKYO 003432
DEPT FOR ISN/NESS, EAP/J
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PARM ENRG TRGY NRR MNUC PUNE JA
SUBJECT: 3-4 DECEMBER NUCLEAR SAFETY AND SECURITY GROUP
1. (SBU) Summary: During the third meeting of the G8 Nuclear Safety and Security Group (NSSG) held in Tokyo December 3-4, NSSG members reviewed the status of ongoing projects, discussed the future of initiatives proposed during Japan's 2008 G8 presidency, and reviewed a draft plan of work for the 2009 Italian presidency. Members agreed the 3S initiative proposed by Japan and adopted in the Hokkaido Summit Leaders' Statement will continue during the Italian
presidency, with Japan serving as coordinator for 3S-related activities. Regarding next year's meetings, Italy announced Germany has asked the NSSG to discuss approaches to and criteria for cooperation with emerging nuclear countries, and Germany will send out a draft paper to start discussion on that topic. Finally, Italy noted it will distribute a
detailed plan of work to NSSG members before the next meeting. End Summary.
2. (SBU) Delegations from the G8 countries plus representatives of the European Union, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the International Atomic Energy Agency met in Tokyo December 3 and 4 for the Third Nuclear Safety and Security Group (NSSG) meeting of 2008. The meeting was chaired by Japan and included 47 representatives from the various parties.
3. (SBU) Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director of International Nuclear Energy Cooperation Tsutomu Arai opened the meeting by noting several key objectives: discussing implementation of programs in Armenia and Ukraine, preparing for the upcoming EBRD Chernobyl Shelter Fund and Nuclear Safety Account meetings in London, and reviewing Italy's work plan for its upcoming presidency. The draft agenda was adopted with one member comment: The Russian delegation noted it was acceptable to discuss work being undertaken on the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, but substantive decision-making for the program should remain in those fora where it has been traditionally handled.
4. (SBU) The first items discussed were ongoing programs in Armenia and Ukraine. The IAEA presenter described the Agency's objectives and efforts for 2008 in Armenia, specifically noting several technical cooperation meetings it held on the subjects of design safety, seismic safety, and operational safety. Regarding the Ukraine/IAEA/European Union joint project, the presenter noted the effort had fallen behind schedule. However, the IAEA, he reported, hopes to gain lost time and meet the original deadline of 2010. He said that the IAEA is very satisfied with the project. Representatives from Russia and the EU, as well the U.S. delegation, then described various support provided
5. (SBU) In response to a U.S. question about the ability of Armenia's regulatory body to obtain sufficient staff, the IAEA representative suggested several positive developments were occurring in Armenia: regulatory body had been placed under the PM almost at ministry level, that organization's budget has been increased, its chairman was confirmed in September, and finally, it had agreed to work with the IAEA to conduct a comprehensive review of its legal and regulatory framework.
6. (SBU) On earthquakes and nuclear safety, the IAEA presenter noted the Agency has officials in Japan to learn from Japan's recent experience dealing with earthquakes and described several areas of IAEA focus. First, he explained that safety guides for seismic safety have only been revised three times in the last 35 years and that the IAEA is now reexamining them. Also, the presenter noted recent earthquakes in some cases have exceeded the design basis for some nuclear plants, and that this a serious problem that is now driving seismic safety work. The IAEA is issuing a new guide on seismic evaluation to accompany existing guidelines on seismic hazard and design. Finally, the IAEA noted it had launched an International Seismic Safety Center at its September general conference to enhance safety, develop standards, pool and share knowledge.
7. (SBU) Turning to EBRD-administered Chernobyl projects, the chair noted there was still a financial gap between pledges and the estimated cost of the projects and invited the EBRD representative to give a presentation. Regarding the Nuclear Safety Account project, the EBRD representative reported good progress was being made overall, but that required redesign of the transport cask would result in a five month extension to Work Release 1. The presenter noted the overall schedule continues to experience delays and the current estimated completion date is October 2010. The chair asked the EBRD to produce a document detailing the delays so that members could explain the costs involved to their financial authorities. Responding to a U.S. question, the EBRD rep noted the hope to have members re-confirm their existing pledge and ask non-G8 members to pledge. The rep stated the Bank hopes to have a better idea of the costs by
8. (SBU) On the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, the EBRD rep described several positive developments, e.g., the completion of roof repair, but commented the lack of sufficient local work force threatens to cause delays. He went on to describe the New Safe Confinement (CDSD) effort, noting the builders have selected a design different from the original concept, but still hoped to have it approved by December. He said the planners have not yet assessed the impact of CDSD-related
delays, but noted current cost estimates show a possible increase of 50 million euros.
9. (SBU) The IAEA then gave a presentation describing its creation of a Code of Conduct and Guidance on Import & Export of Radioactive Sources. The presenter noted the code is non-binding, but enjoys widespread support. As of November, 92 states had written to the Director General expressing support for the Code of Conduct. The U.S. delegation followed by giving its presentation on the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which described the plan of work, the exercise program, and the Information Portal.
10. (SBU) On the Global Nuclear Safety Network (GNSN), the IAEA presenter described the GNSN as a set of internationally-accessible networks and resources for information exchange and cooperation in nuclear safety matters. The speaker noted that while initial development of the network occurred in Germany, the IAEA had agreed to take over hosting responsibilities and the network can now be accessed at gnsn-iaea.org. Japan noted the Asian Nuclear Safety Network (ANSN) shares the same goal of information sharing, but adds encouraging regional cooperation to its objectives. Like the GNSN, the ANSN relies on the IAEA for some hosting support, but also has hubs in China, Japan, and Korea.
11. (SBU) Regarding its International Initiative on 3S-based Nuclear Energy Infrastructure, which was adopted by consensus in the Hokkaido Summit Leaders' Statement, Japan proposed a framework covering the next five years. Japan suggested NSSG members and the IAEA make voluntary reports on their activities during the first two years, related to the safety, security and safeguards. At each regular NSSG meeting, members will also be able to make observations on challenges surfacing in infrastructure development and the IAEA could propose projects for consideration. Delegations broadly agreed that considering all three issues (safety, security, and safeguards) together, rather than breaking them up for discussion, is the best plan of action, especially since the NSSG mandate is not well-suited to discussing safeguards by itself. Following the initial two years of reports, the NSSG members could then discuss and decide on follow-on projects for the next three years.
12. (SBU) French, Canadian, EU, and U.S. delegations spoke in general support of Japan's proposal. However, Canada's delegation noted asking the IAEA to suggest projects will create expectations; a different role for the IAEA might be better. The U.S. delegation noted support for the Initiative and the plan, but said it cannot commit now to financial assistance to 3S projects. The Russian delegation commented that safeguards, nominally a part of the 3S initiative, fall under the IAEA's purview and asked NSSG members to take into account the outcomes of upcoming IAEA events for 3S planning.
The IAEA representative noted the IAEA already covers safety, security, and safeguards as part of the broader issue set in which it works. As such, it would be difficult for the IAEA to propose new standards in those areas. However, he said the Agency supports the effort with that condition. Japan then volunteered to serve as organizer for ongoing 3S work during the upcoming Italian presidency.
13. (SBU) The U.S. delegation began the second day of meetings by giving a presentation on the Nuclear Regulatory Committee's education grant program. In response, several delegations asked questions about the intent of the program, the IAEA noted several programs of its own and the Russian delegation offered to give a presentation at a future meeting on Russia's education efforts. Japan, describing its concerns about maintaining a sufficient workforce in the face of population decline and upcoming retirements, noted that it has been subsidizing education in the field since 2007 as part of a Human Resources Development Program. Related to this effort, the Japan Association of Nuclear Industry is working to draw up a roadmap for human resources development in Japan.
14. (SBU) The Italian delegation followed by describing a proposed program of work for its 2009 G8 presidency. In addition to ongoing Chernobyl projects, Italy noted it would work to focus efforts on improving the safety of plants in operation, strengthening safety and security related to earthquakes and radioactive source, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, Multilateral Approaches to the Fuel Cycle, the GNSN, and the 3S Initiative, with special emphasis on nuclear education and training. The Italian delegation noted, based on a German request, that it may be useful for the NSSG to discuss different kinds of approaches to, and different criteria for, cooperating with emerging nuclear countries. Italy proposed the topic for the first meeting of 2009. Responding to concerns it could be a sensitive topic, the Italian rep noted it does not intend for emerging nuclear countries to be a permanent part of the 2009 agenda, merely an additional topic for discussion at the first meeting. Italy noted it had asked Germany to prepare a non-paper to distribute to NSSG members to create a starting point for discussion. After a comment by the EU on putting this discussion in the context of international cooperation, Italy noted it in no way wanted to diminish the rights of countries to go nuclear, but wanted to discuss the basis for cooperation with such countries. The Japanese and Canadian delegations asked whether such a discussion would be constructive for the NPT. Finally, Italy noted it is preparing a detailed work plan document that will be provided to members before the next meeting.
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