DE RUEHSA #0463 0371253
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 061253Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1328
INFO RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 0177
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0087
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC UNCLAS PRETORIA 000463
DEPT FOR AF/S, NP/RA/CMARTIN AND WHAMMACK
ENERGY FOR NE-2.4, AND
NNSA/NA-243/MMANNING, NA-241, NA-21/ABIENIAWSKI
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA: ADVANCING BILATERAL COOPERATION ON
REF: 05 STATE 92684
1. (SBU) Summary. On January 30, CDA Teitelbaum raised with
Minister of Minerals and Energy Lindiwe Hendricks a number of
bilateral cooperation items in the area of nuclear energy.
Hendricks said that what remained on the Joint Standing
Committee on Nuclear Energy Cooperation was for her to
respond to Secretary Rice's letter of May 19, and then to
constitute a delegation for an inaugural meeting. CDA
Teitelbaum commented that given the July 2005 announcement to
convert the Safari reactor to non-weapons grade fuel, South
Africa would make a fitting host for the Reduced Enrichment
for Research and Test Reactors Annual Meeting in the fall of
2006. Hendricks said that she looked forward to receiving an
invitation to co-host the event from the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA). End Summary.
2. (SBU) CDA Teitelbaum raised with Minister of Minerals and
Energy Lindiwe Hendricks a response to Secretary Rice's
letter of May 2005, concerning the creation of a Joint
Standing Committee on Nuclear Energy Cooperation and
conclusion of research and development agreements on nuclear
energy and nuclear materials safeguards technologies
(reftel). CDA Teitelbaum also raised the return of
U.S.-origin spent fuel assemblies and the prospect of South
Africa hosting the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test
Reactors Annual Meeting in the fall of 2006.
3. (SBU) Hendricks, who was not well briefed for the meeting,
told CDA Teitelbaum that after her August 2005 meeting with
then Ambassador Frazer, she sought advice from former
Minister of Minerals and Energy and now Deputy President
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who endorsed bilateral cooperation
and advised her to continue preparations for a Joint Standing
Committee. Hendricks said that what remained was for her to
respond to Secretary Rice's letter, constitute a working
level technical committee, designate a person to lead the
South African delegation (most probably Deputy Director
General Nelisiwe Magubane), and then hold the inaugural
4. (SBU) Hendricks was not sure where the research and
development agreements stood. However, Chief Director
Tseliso Maqubela later informed us that all stakeholders had
agreed to the latest U.S. IPR language, and that the
agreements were on the Minister's desk awaiting her approval.
5. (SBU) CDA Teitelbaum noted that while return of
U.S.-origin spent fuel assemblies could not take place in
2006 for logistical reasons, both sides were moving forward
in a step-by-step fashion to facilitate the exchange. The
"take back program" was triggered by Minister Hendricks' July
2005 announcement that South Africa would convert its Safari
research reactor from highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel to
low enriched uranium (LEU), i.e., non-weapons grade fuel.
6. (SBU) CDA Teitelbaum commented that given Minister
Hendricks' July 2005 announcement, South Africa would make a
fitting host for the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test
Reactors Annual Meeting in October or November of 2006.
While Hendricks was not aware of the invitation, she agreed
that it seemed to be a good event for South Africa to host.
She looked forward to receiving an invitation from the IAEA,
since planning for the event would have to get underway
soon. Maqubela later told us that a letter from an IAEA
Deputy Director General to Director General Sandile Nogxina
would suffice, if arranging for a letter from IAEA Director
General ElBaradei to Minister Hendricks would take too long.
7. (SBU) CDA Teitelbaum added that bilateral cooperation on
nuclear energy would make a nice addition to the June 2006
review of the Joint Statement released by Presidents Bush and
Mbeki in June 2005. Hendricks nodded in agreement.
8. (SBU) In closing, Hendricks thanked CDA Teitelbaum for
raising these issues, adding, "We really do need to move."
"These things could have fallen through the cracks," she
continued, "in the transition from one minister to another."
Hendricks promised to follow up on the RERTR Conference.
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