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Cablegate: Ambassador Schulte Visit to Brasilia - Nuclear Issues

VZCZCXRO3675
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #1398/01 2981605
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241605Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2719
INFO RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5896
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0679
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 8618
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 2956
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 6782
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0275
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0127

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 001398

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/BSC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ENRG MNUC PARM UN BR
SUBJECT: Ambassador Schulte Visit to Brasilia - Nuclear Issues

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. During an October 13 visit to Brasilia, Ambassador Gregory Schulte discussed Iran, Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) issues and Brazil's nuclear program. Brazil wants to play a constructive role with the UN on nuclear issues, particularly with Iran. Completing an Additional Protocol and joining a NSG consensus to limit the spread of enrichment technology will require difficult political decisions, though at a technical level they are acceptable. Brazil is committed to developing its own nuclear power industry and has planned an extensive program of reactor construction. Further, the GOB intends to develop its capacity to become self-sufficient in supplying fuel for its reactors. The GOB sees no technical problem with joining the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, although this will again require a political decision that will depend on completion of a government nuclear policy review. END SUMMARY.

IRAN ----

2. (SBU) Schulte urged Brazilian support for UN efforts to promote Iranian compliance with UN resolutions by suspending enrichment activities and implementing IAEA safeguards. He pointed out that Iran's only "peaceful" nuclear reactor was a Russian design that could only use Russian fuel packages. Therefore, there was no possible use for enriched uranium for power generation. Brazilian Ministry for External Relations (MRE) Director for Disarmament and Sensitive Technologies Santiago Mourao said that the Brazilian Embassy in Tehran was reporting seeing signs of differences developing among the Iranians, with one group interested in a sharply scaled back enrichment program, while retaining the technology. Also, he passed on their assessment that financial sanctions were taking a real toll in Iran. Mourao cautioned that Iran may be stringing the international community along in responding to the IAEA in order to see who will win the U.S. elections and the policies they will take. Presidential Advisor Marcel Biato reported that President Lula would like to visit Tehran to "tell them to their face" what Iran should do to comply with UN requirements. He believed that Brazil could play an important role by doing so. MRE Undersecretary Everton Vargas told Schulte that Brazil has "internalized" the UN process regarding Iran and urge a diplomatic approach to gaining Iranian compliance.

ADDITIONAL PROTOCOLS AND NSG ----------------------------

3. (SBU) Ambassador Schulte sought Brazilian views on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) efforts to limit enrichment technology and the prospects for Brazil signing an IAEA Additional Protocol. Brazil has resisted such a protocol over concerns about the intrusiveness of IAEA inspections. Mourao's office has done a technical assessment and concluded that Brazil could comply with an Additional Protocol. He added, what was needed was a political decision, and there, the issue would turn on Vice Minister Guimaraes' views. He noted that the Argentines had taken the reverse approach and had the political decision to proceed (once Brazil did), and were now doing the technical level of assessment. The Ministry of External Relations is doing a review of how it wants to handle this issue. Biato characterized this review as seeking "balance" between strong nonproliferation standards and access to peaceful nuclear power. The lack of an additional protocol has been a stumbling block to Brazil's support for a NSG rule on transfer of enrichment technology. Mourao stated that Brazil could support language that would grandfather Brazil's technology in the proposed NSG rule on transferring enrichment technology. Vargas also said that Brazil wanted to find a way forward that did not depend on an immediate requirement to sign an Additional Protocol, a decision he did not think Brazil ready to make. Mourao was anxious to know progress on concerns from Canada and South Korea, which, if resolved would isolate Brazil in opposition, a situation Brazil would strongly prefer to avoid. Mourao said that the proposed International Nuclear Fuel Bank sounded like an interesting idea from a technical perspective, but which countries' fuel would be purchased for the bank would be a critical point. Vargas was more cautious, saying that the concept was good, but cautioning against the "proliferation of ideas."

BRAZILIAN NUCLEAR PLANS -----------------------

4. (SBU) Mourao thought that Brazil would complete the Angra 3 reactor and then build 4 to 6 more reactors, which would mean up to nine reactors by 2014. At the same time, Argentina, Chile and others are planning to build more reactors, which could bring the

BRASILIA 00001398 002 OF 002

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. During an October 13 visit to Brasilia, Ambassador Gregory Schulte discussed Iran, Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) issues and Brazil's nuclear program. Brazil wants to play a constructive role with the UN on nuclear issues, particularly with Iran. Completing an Additional Protocol and joining a NSG consensus to limit the spread of enrichment technology will require difficult political decisions, though at a technical level they are acceptable. Brazil is committed to developing its own nuclear power industry and has planned an extensive program of reactor construction. Further, the GOB intends to develop its capacity to become self-sufficient in supplying fuel for its reactors. The GOB sees no technical problem with joining the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, although this will again require a political decision that will depend on completion of a government nuclear policy review. END SUMMARY.

IRAN ---- region up to 15-20 reactors by 2030. Mourao said that this quantity of reactors would be sufficient to justify a regional enrichment program. This could be done through expanding the Argentina-Brazil Commission for the Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) or possibly through some other regional organ. Initially, Mourao explained, the GOB wanted to have the ability to produce 60% of the fuel needed for Angra I and II. Currently, the Brazilian uranium is made into yellowcake in Canada and then turned in HF6 by Urenco (European) and the rods were prepared in Brazil by INB. Subsequently, President Lula made a decision that Brazil should seek to be self-sufficient in enriching and processing fuel for not just Angra I and II but its future reactors too.

GLOBAL NUCLEAR ENERGY PARTNERSHIP ---------------------------------

5. (SBU) Mourao said that he saw no technical problems with joining GNEP. He noted that he had fruitful discussions with Energy Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Ed McGinnis in Vienna in September. Almost all the questions had been resolved and from a technical viewpoint, GNEP looked like a decent idea. Brazil is following various aspects of GNEP, such as Generation IV, added Mourao. What remains is taking a political decision to join, which is part of the overall review of Brazil's international nuclear "face."

SOBEL

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