Cablegate: Germany Supports Usg Position On Return of Heu To
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1629 3401700
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051700Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2776
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 1992
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0372
UNCLAS BERLIN 001629
STATE FOR ISN/NESS DAN FENSTERMACHER
STATE FOR EUR/CE PETER SCHROEDER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KNNP TRGY IAEA RS GM
SUBJECT: GERMANY SUPPORTS USG POSITION ON RETURN OF HEU TO
REF: STATE 126518
1. (SBU) In the interest of enlisting German MFA support to
expedite preparations for the return of Highly Enriched
Uranium (HEU) from the Rossendorf Research Reactor in Saxony,
Germany to Russia by the end of 2010, Berlin EMIN delivered
the reftel DOE letter with cover letter to MFA Deputy
Director General, Ambassador Viktor Elbling. In a follow-up
conversation on December 5, Elbling told EMIN that Germany is
aware of the need to expedite delivery of the HEU to Russia
and is in complete agreement with the letter's contents.
However, Elbling stressed that in order to transfer the HEU
to Russian, the MFA must first get the support of the German
Environmental Ministry (BMU), who has yet to take a position
on this matter.
2. (SBU) In a prior conversation, Dr. Joerg Polster, MFA
Nuclear Energy Policy officer, told EconOff that his ministry
intends to distribute the reftel letter up to the highest
levels of the MFA, as well as to senior officials in the BMU.
Polster said that he is optimistic that this letter should
"do the trick" and prompt the MFA to approach the Russians.
However, Polster also said the possibility of delay exists
due to associated political sensitivities within the BMU.
Elaborating, he said the real issue is that the BMU may be
wary that the Russians will not handle the HEU in accordance
with German environmental Standards; BMU may also fear
potential political backlash from environmentalists in an
election year. Pointing out Steinmeier's candidacy as
Chancellor, Polster cautioned that the MFA may be inclined to
drag their feet on the HEU transfer - which is why his office
requested the letter in the first place.
3. (SBU) EconOff also spoke with Axel Groehner, the
responsible desk officer on this issue from Ministry of
Economics (BMWi), who confirmed that his ministry's views are
aligned with the MFA. Like Polster, Groehner emphasized that
the BMU might pose difficulties. Groehner also said that he
understood that the HEU delivery would take place by air, and
the BMU must agree before the delivery can take place.
(COMMENT: Unlike the USG, German Ministries operate with
relative autonomy. The implication is neither the MFA nor
even the Chancellery may be able to force the BMU,s hand on
this matter. END COMMENT).