Cablegate: Civil Nuclear Infrastructure Development in The
DE RUEHC #8784 3212238
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 172232Z NOV 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHKU/AMEMBASSY KUWAIT PRIORITY 0000
RUEHMK/AMEMBASSY MANAMA PRIORITY 0000
RUEHMS/AMEMBASSY MUSCAT PRIORITY 0000
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0000
INFO RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0000
UNCLAS STATE 118784
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AORC KNNP ENRG TRGY KU BA SA MU
SUBJECT: CIVIL NUCLEAR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN THE
REF: A. 09 KUWAIT 647
B. 09 MANAMA 647
C. 09 RIYADH 1393
D. 09 MUSCAT 575
1. (U) This is an ACTION REQUEST: Please see para 3.
2. (SBU) In February 2008, an Ambassadorial-level U.S.
delegation including Jackie Wolcott, the former Special Envoy
for Nuclear Nonproliferation, visited Saudi Arabia and
Bahrain to discuss potential areas of cooperation aimed at
the development of infrastructure for civil nuclear power.
In June 2008, a similar Wolcott-led delegation visited Kuwait
for discussions. In September 2008, Ambassador Wolcott met
with an Omani delegation during the IAEA General Conference.
In March and May 2008, the U.S. concluded Memoranda of
Understanding on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy with
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, respectively. Due to the change in
Administration, and due to indications that plans for civil
nuclear power in these countries have recently evolved
(reftels), Department recommends renewed civil nuclear
consultations at the expert-level.
3. (SBU) Department requests that Posts contact appropriate
officials in host governments to explain that the United
States supports the responsible development of civil nuclear
power and has taken note of host governments' interest.
Department further requests that Posts provide a brief
overview, drawing from the below key themes, of the types of
technical cooperation that could be available to help host
governments develop civil nuclear infrastructure. If raised,
Post can explain that the vast majority of the technical
cooperation described below can take place without conclusion
of a 123 Agreement for civil nuclear cooperation. (A 123
agreement is required for the transfer of U.S. nuclear
materials, reactors, or major reactor components, but not for
information or personnel exchanges.) Finally, Posts are
requested to inquire into host governments' interest in a
detailed briefing on such cooperation by U.S. experts
travelling to the region. (Note: Nuclear experts from the
USG are planning a visit to Cairo, tentatively scheduled for
January 2010. End Note.)
BEGIN KEY THEMES:
-- In his April Prague speech, President Obama stated that
"we must harness the power of nuclear energy on behalf of our
efforts to combat climate change, and to advance peace and
opportunity for all people."
-- Since nuclear power is the only proven source of
low-carbon, baseload electricity, the United States believes
that it will be an important element to the world's energy
mix in the coming decades.
-- On the other hand, nuclear power is accompanied by a
unique set of safety and security concerns. Similarly, the
production of nuclear fuel poses risks in terms of nuclear
-- Therefore, we strongly encourage all civil nuclear users
to develop the robust infrastructure needed to meet the
highest global standards of safety, security, and
-- Last year, a U.S. delegation led by our former Special
Envoy Jackie Wolcott consulted with representatives from
(host country) to provide a high-level overview of U.S. civil
nuclear cooperation. (FOR MANAMA: Following this visit, we
concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on the peaceful uses
of nuclear energy in March 2008, opening the door to deeper
civil nuclear cooperation. FOR RIYADH: Following this visit,
we concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on the peaceful
uses of nuclear energy in May 2008, opening the door to
deeper civil nuclear cooperation.)
-- During this consultation, Ambassador Wolcott explained
that several agencies of the United States Government can
offer, subject to the availability of resources and
commensurate with need, a broad range of technical
cooperation aimed at the development of human resources and
other civil nuclear infrastructure.
-- The Department of State (DOS) coordinates civil nuclear
cooperation policy; leads the negotiation of civil nuclear
cooperation agreements; supports the implementation of
international nuclear conventions on nuclear safety,
security, safeguards, and liability; and contributes to
infrastructure development through programs at the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
-- The Department of Energy (DOE) collaborates with other
countries through bilateral and multilateral cooperation
approaches to support the safe, secure and peaceful use of
nuclear energy. The Infrastructure Development Working Group
of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership provides useful
information sharing to participant countries in the areas of
human resource development, small and medium sized reactors,
infrastructure readiness assessments, and radioactive waste
-- The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the
Department of Energy collaborates with partners on topics
such as legal and regulatory issues related to international
safeguards, safeguards training and equipment, intermediate-
and low-level waste management, environmental monitoring,
emergency management, research reactor operations, health
physics, and radiation protection.
-- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) can provide legal
and technical advice in the areas of nuclear-related
legislation and regulations, nuclear safety and security,
nuclear reactor and facility licensing, design certification,
operations, maintenance, and decommissioning.
-- The Department of Commerce (DOC) works closely with U.S.
industry to facilitate cooperation efforts with civil nuclear
consultants, engineering firms, reactor vendors, and fuel
service providers. Recent nuclear-sector efforts have
included trade missions for U.S. nuclear industry to states
with emerging and expanding nuclear energy programs.
-- A team of civil nuclear experts from the United States is
planning a visit to the region in early 2010, and would be
interested in meeting with appropriate (host government)
officials to discuss these opportunities in greater detail.
-- (IF RAISED): Note that the vast majority of the technical
cooperation just described can take place without a 123
Agreement for civil nuclear cooperation. A 123 Agreement is
required for the transfer of U.S. nuclear materials,
reactors, or major reactor components, but not for
information or personnel exchanges.
-- (IF INTEREST IN A 123 AGREEMENT IS EXPRESSED): We will
report your interest in a 123 Agreement back to Washington
for appropriate consideration.
END KEY THEMES.
4. (U) Department thanks Posts for their assistance in this
matter. Department points of contact for civil nuclear
cooperation in the Middle East are Marc Humphrey (ISN/NESS)
and Ariel Stukalin (ISN/RA).