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Cablegate: Ambassador Jenkins Discusses Molydenum-99 With

VZCZCXRO6873
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHSA #2395/01 3280624
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 240624Z NOV 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0320
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1046
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 1407
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0894
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0854
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1657
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 0542
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1314
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0339

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 002395

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR ISN, AF/S, EEB/ESC AND CBA
DOE FOR TSPERL, GPERSON, MSCOTT, ABIENAWSKI
DOC FOR ITA/DIEMOND

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG PREL MNUC KNNP EMIN ETRD TRGY TBIO SF
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR JENKINS DISCUSSES MOLYDENUM-99 WITH
SOUTH AFRICA'S NECSA

REF: STATE 113758

1. (SBU) Summary: Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins met with Nuclear
Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA) Chief Executive
Officer Rob Adam on November 10. They discussed the Nuclear
Security Summit, the bilateral agreement on cooperation in
nuclear energy R&D, and cooperation on production of medical
radioisotope molybdenum 99. Adam expressed a commitment to
increasing production of Low Enriched Uranium-based moly-99
production and asked if the USG would remain committed to
purchasing NECSA production when Canadian HEU-based
production came back on line. Action request at paragraph 8.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) NUCLEAR SECURITY SUMMIT: Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins
met with Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA)
CEO Rob Adam on November 10. She provided some information
on the Nuclear Security Summit. Ambassador Jenkins noted the
Summit was a start on President Obama's four-year effort to
secure all vulnerable nuclear materials.

3. (SBU) VISIT TO PELINDABA: Ambassador Jenkins noted the
reqeust from the USG to hold consultations under the
bilateral peacful uses of nuclear energy "123" agreement at
the Pelindaba Nuclear Facility operated by NECSA. Adam said
the SAG would have the lead on this request; he said NECSA is
an implementer, under the SAG direction. Ambassador Jenkins
reiterated the USG invitation to the SAG to visit nuclear
facilities in the U.S., now targeted for first quarter 2010.
Adam expressed interest in participating.

4. (SBU) REGIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY TRAINING CENTER:
Ambassador Jenkins expressed support for a regional nuclear
security training center in South Africa as a way to augment
bilateral and trilateral cooperation, an idea broached at the
Einhorn-Minty nuclear security dialogue in August. Adam said
the idea was interesting, but wondered how it would work.
Ambassador Jenkins proposed that there be a working group to
discuss implementation. Adam worried about too many working
groups and not enough action. Ambassador Jenkins agreed that
action is key.

5. (SBU) NUCLEAR R&D AGREEMENT: Ambassador Jenkins said the
signing of the bilateral nuclear R&D agreement in Vienna in
September had been an important positive step and asked Adam
for his views on it. Adam called for both governments to
"sweeten the pot", providing seed money and letting
scientists begin to cooperate. He noted that the Pebble Bed
Modular Reactor is a key tenant at NECSA-Pelindaba with its
helium and fuel testing facilities.

6. (SBU) MOLYBDENUM 99: Ambassador Jenkins thanked NECSA for
ramping up molybdenum-99 production to help cover the global
shortfall of this key medical radioisotope used for cancer
diagnostics and treatment. She expressed awareness of the
successful bilateral discussions in Vienna on cooperation.
In addition, Ambassador Jenkins delivered a copy of the
reftel letter from the President's Science Advisor thanking
the SAG for assuring increased availability of moly-99 to the
Qthe SAG for assuring increased availability of moly-99 to the
market (Post also transmitted the letter to the Minister of
Energy.) Adam said 30 percent of NECSA's production went to
the U.S., compared to zero before the problems with the
Canadian facility. He said NECSA saw moly-99 as good
business and was pursuing full conversion to LEU-based
production because it was the right thing to do from both
non-proliferation and commercial perspectives. Adam said
that governments had traditionally over-subsidized moly-99
production. He called for removing the distortions in the
market, noting that the global shortfall was making prices
more realistic and commercial. Adam envisioned investing
with a joint venture partner in the U.S. to produce for the
U.S. market, because distance was a challenge for the short
half-life product. He asked Ambassador Jenkins whether the
USG would commit to buying NECSA's LEU-based product, even
when the Canadian HEU-based product came back on line.

PRETORIA 00002395 002 OF 002


Ambassador Jenkins noted that she understood his request and
said she would take it back to Washington.

7. (SBU) USDOE participants also broached cooperation
imminent and underway in Megaports and Commodity
Identification Training, respectively. Michael Stafford
presented the proposal for enhancing cooperation through the
Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative to prevent, detect, and
respond to nuclear smuggling attempts. Stafford highlighted
U.S. interest in cooperating on response to smuggling
incidents, given NECSA's role as the national authority on
response planning.

8. (SBU) COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST: Post asks USDOE and the
Department to respond to NECSA's question about the USG's
commitment to NECSA's LEU-based product for the longer term,
as it plays a leading role in conversion from HEU to LEU and
makes investments to meet the current global shortfall and
future market opportunities, including in the U.S.

9. (U) This cable was cleared by Ambassador Jenkins.

GIPS

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