INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Nuclear Fuel Supply Assurances

Published: Thu 7 Sep 2006 01:53 PM
VZCZCXRO3770
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DE RUEHSA #3722 2501353
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071353Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5544
INFO RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 3300
RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 8092
RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 5188
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0129
UNCLAS PRETORIA 003722
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG KNNP PARM PREL SF
SUBJECT: NUCLEAR FUEL SUPPLY ASSURANCES
REF: STATE 129965
1. (U) Sensitive but Unclassified; Protect Accordingly. Not
for Internet Distribution.
2. (SBU) Incoming and outgoing Econ M/C's and Econoff
presented August 31 reftel points and concept paper to
Department of Mineral and Energy's Tseliso Maqubela, Chief
Director, Nuclear Energy and Mahlatsi Koma, Deputy Director,
International Relations. Noting that he had not previously
seen the IAEA concept paper, Maqubela expressed several
general reservations. He noted that a conventional nuclear
energy program is a long-term undertaking, as much as 65
years, and the international environment could change
dramatically in that period. He added that equity among
countries was a key principle for South Africa and any
arrangement should not perpetuate inequality. The concept
sounded like a group even more closed than the Nuclear
Suppliers Group. Personally, he thought the Generation IV
structure represented a balanced approach. In closing,
Maqubela stated that Minerals and Energy Minister Sonjica
would present the offficial South African view of the concept
during the IAEA Special Event on Assurances in Vienna.
3. (SBU) Asked about press reports that the Minister had
stated that South Africa would enrich uranium, Maqubela said
that the news media had not correctly quoted the Minister and
provided econoffs with a copy of the Minister's August 25
speech, which he had helped write. Maqubela noted that news
media were not present at the speech and that the Department
of Minerals and Energy subsequently distributed the speech.
Noting the expected rapid expansion of the nuclear energy
industry worldwide and a predicted shortage of enriched
uranium, Maqubela said South Africa would look at the uranium
enrichment issue strictly in economic terms. In an August
25th conversation (septel) DFA DDG Abdul Minty told visiting
USUNVIE COM Schulte that South Africa had made no decisions
regarding possible uranium enrichment, but did not want to
foreclose any options. (Note: in her August 25 speech at the
launch of the South African Young Nuclear Professionals
Society, the Minister said, inter alia, quote: I therefore
believe that time has come for South Africa to conduct a cost
benefit analysis into the beneficiation of uranium. I will
soon be making certain announcements in this regard. It goes
without saying that beneficiation of uranium comes with its
own responsibilities and sensitivities and we would pursue
this within our national and international obligations. End
quote. Full text of speech sent to AF/S END NOTE).
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