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Cablegate: South Africa Reaffirms Its Interest in Signing The

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSA #3447 2741355
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 011355Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2061
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0658
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1307
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0664
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1165
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0224
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0503
RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 4897
RUCPDC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0227
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS PRETORIA 003447

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/S, EEB/ESC, ISN
DOE FOR SPERL, PERSON, BIENAWSKI, PARKER, SCOTT, AND CLAPPER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG TRGY ETRD BEXP KTIA KNNP IAEA SF
SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA REAFFIRMS ITS INTEREST IN SIGNING THE
U.S.-SA NUCLEAR R&D AGREEMENT

REF: A. PRETORIA 3078

B. PRETORIA 3077
C. PRETORIA 3076
D. PRETORIA 3061
E. PRETORIA 3012

1. (SBU) Nuclear R&D Agreement: SAG Department of Mines and
Energy (DME) Chief Director: Nuclear Tseliso Maqubela
reaffirmed South Africa's intent to sign the proposed
bilateral Agreement for Cooperation in Research and
Development in Nuclear Technology, speaking to
Resource/Energy Officer on the margins of the September 25-26
Energy Summit (Septel). Maqubela regretted that the SAG was
unable to obtain signing authority from the cabinet in
advance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
September meeting in Vienna, but he stressed that the SAG
wanted to pursue bringing the proposed agreement to fruition
(Ref C). He noted that the SAG may want to eventually sign
the agreement in Washington D.C. in order to maintain a lower
profile in the run up to Eskom's award of a supplier for new
nuclear power plants, for which Westinghouse and French Areva
are in contention (Ref A). Maqubela also said that the SAG
was interested in pursuing the separate proposal for creating
a Joint Standing Committee on Nuclear Cooperation, but he was
unable to give a more detailed response. (NOTE: Post aims to
meet soon with Depty Director General Neliswe Magubane, who
led the April delegation to Washington, where there was
positive movement on this initiative. End Note.)

2. (SBU) GNEP: Maqubela said Minister of Energy Buyelwa
Sonjica did not attend the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership
(GNEP) Ministerial on September 16 in Vienna, because the SAG
is not prepared to sign the GNEP Principles given South
Africa's intent to maintain the option of enriching uranium
and reprocessing spent fuel as part of its recent draft
nuclear energy policy (Refs D and E). He noted that this
intent also remained an obstacle to accepting the DOE return
of spent fuel program, for which U.S. law requires commitment
to forever forego enrichment (Ref B). Both Maqubela and the
Minister in her speech at the Summit reaffirmed South
Africa's commitment to non-proliferation and intent to
consider enrichment only to low-grade uranium (LEU) as part
of its policy of pursuing uranium beneficiation and security
of supply.
Bost

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