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Cablegate: Egypt-U.S. Civil Nuclear-Related Bilateral Contacts

VZCZCXRO0993
PP RUEHBC RUEHDH RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #0036/01 0051515
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051515Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4676
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0166
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 000036

SIPDIS

DOE FOR OFFICE OF GLOBAL THREAT REDUCTION AND FOR SANDIA
NATIONAL LABORATORIES (MIDDLE EAST AND SOUTH ASIA PROGRAMS)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/05/2020
TAGS: APCS EG IAEA KNNP PREL TRGY

SUBJECT: EGYPT-U.S. CIVIL NUCLEAR-RELATED BILATERAL CONTACTS

REF: 09 CAIRO 2404 Classified By: Minister Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs Do nald A. Blome for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Key Points: -- During separate visits, two Department of Energy (DOE) technical delegations recently held constructive talks with GOE counterparts on indigenous nuclear safety capabilities and the recovery and control of materials usable in dirty bombs. -- Senior GOE officials responsible for nuclear issues expressed to the delegations their strong support for dialogue and collaboration on nuclear safety and security.

2. (C) Two DOE delegations recently visited Cairo to discuss nuclear safety and security issues. A delegation from the DOE's Sandia Laboratories in early November presented to GOE officials a DOE initiative promoting nuclear safety. A DOE National Nuclear Safety Administration delegation, working under DOE's Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), met with GOE officials in mid-December to discuss ways to enhance the recovery and safeguarding of low-level radiological materials from Egyptian medical and research facilities, particularly those materials that could be used in a "dirty bomb." DOE Initiative Welcomed -----------------------

3. (C) A delegation from the DOE's Sandia Laboratories met November 6 with Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA) Chairman Yassin Ibrahim and Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA) Chairman Mohamed El Kolaly to discuss the DOE's Middle East Nuclear Energy Infrastructure (MENEI) initiative aimed at establishing a responsible indigenous nuclear safety culture in Egypt and the region, including the provision of educational, human, and technical resources. Ibrahim and El Kolaly expressed their support for the initiative and agreed nuclear programs in the region would benefit from USG expertise on establishing a culture of nuclear safety. Ibrahim and Kolaly noted that Egypt needs to develop indigenous, independent nuclear safety capabilities.

4. (C) DOE Sandia Laboratories delegation members also met with representatives of Arab League headquarters and with the head of the Arab Atomic Energy Agency (AAEA), Abdelmajib Mahjoud, and received similarly positive feedback with respect to the MENEI concept and approach. Safeguarding "Dirty Bomb" Material ----------------------------------

5. (C) A DOE GTRI delegation met December 15 with EAEA Chairman El Kolaly and his key deputy Yasr Mohamed and discussed details of a GOE/GTRI-funded USD 300,000 contract the EAEA signed in July 2009 with Sandia to train 15 EAEA employees on the survey, recovery, transfer, and secure storage of low-level radiological materials. EAEA will identify and collect these materials under a public amnesty which the EAEA expects to issue in 2010 to the Egyptian private sector. Though GTRI tracks and secures low-grade radiological materials in over 100 countries globally, Egypt is the first country in which GTRI will be associated with a public amnesty and collection program for such materials. (Note: DOE GTRI delegations have visited Egypt multiple times over the last five years and have provided low-tech security upgrades to approximately 35 medical, research and industrial facilities which handle radiological materials. Visiting GTRI personnel estimate the value of USG assistance provided to date at about USD 10 million. End Note.)

6. (C) El Kolaly told the GTRI delegation that EAEA has little information on how much material the GOE amnesty may yield. GTRI delegation head Phil Robinson noted that a reliable inventory of quantities of this material can only be generated over time by trained field collection teams. He emphasized that the key point is to establish accountability and the capacity to enforce it. El Kolaly said Egypt's goal is to have "cradle to grave" registration, per GTRI-recommended guidelines, for all radiological materials in Egypt, with responsibility shared by EAEA and the Ministry of Health.

7. (SBU) DOE delegations did not have an opportunity to review this cable. CAIRO 00000036 002 OF 002 Tueller

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