GAINING IAEA BOARD MAJORITY FOR RUSSIAN LEU RESERVE WILL TAKE WORK - INDIA STILL A PROBLEM

Identifier: 
09UNVIEVIENNA424

C O N F I D E N T I A L UNVIE VIENNA 000424

SIPDIS

FOR T, ISN, SCA/ISNB, S/SANAC, IO/GS, EUR/PRA AND EUR/RUS
DOE FOR NA-20, NA-243
NSC STAFF FOR SCHEINMAN, HOLGATE
NRC FOR OIP DOANE, HOLZMAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/11/2014
TAGS: ENRG, TRGY, PARM, KNNP, IAEA, RS, IN, PK
SUBJECT: GAINING IAEA BOARD MAJORITY FOR RUSSIAN LEU
RESERVE WILL TAKE WORK - INDIA STILL A PROBLEM

REF: A. MOSCOW 2248
B. STATE 80019

Classified By: Ambassador Glyn T. Davies, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (U) In their introductory meeting September 8, 2009,
Ambassador Davies asked Russia's IAEA Governor, Ambassador
Grigory Berdennikov, how he saw the state of play on the
issue of assurance of nuclear fuel supply. Berdennikov said
he was pleased Director General ElBaradei had referred
encouragingly to the issue in his statement opening that
week's meeting of the Board of Governors. Because of that
statement, Russia, he said, would speak on the issue under
Any Other Business (which we had encouraged the day before,
and which Berdennikov did September 10; all statements to the
Board on fuel assurances reported septel).

2. (C) Berdennikov said the GOR was planning to pursue Board
approval of the Angarsk LEU fuel reserve proposal in November
(when the IAEA Board next meets, November 26-27). He said
some "unimportant missing pieces" remained between Russia and
the IAEA Secretariat but that Moscow would pass the two
agreement texts to the USG "immediately" after they are
finalized. Russia was relying on U.S. approval of the
arrangement, he said. The Ambassador indicated his
understanding that we would be supportive.

3. (C) Berdennikov noted that the Board must authorize the
Director General (DG) to sign the Russia-IAEA agreement and
under defined conditions to enter into the model transfer
agreement with purchaser countries. He asserted there was no
prospect of gaining consensus support for the arrangement
from the Board as currently constituted or in its next
constellation, when, he noted, Pakistan will join. The only
route to approval in the Russian view is to adopt the method
by which indefinite extension of the NPT was gained in 1995:
advocates draft a resolution and gather co-sponsors in excess
of half of the Board's membership, so that upon introducing
the resolution majority support is manifest. Berdennikov
noted that Russia itself could likely not be the sponsor
enlisting co-sponsors, and he recalled the role Canada had
played in the NPT scenario.

4. (C) Berdennikov concluded that the arrangement should be
pushed through as soon as it is ready, in order to avoid that
it be delegated to a Board working group where skeptics could
talk it to death. He was working with ROSATOM to have the
project approved in November, he said, also because he was
not sure how committed the next DG (Japan's Yukiya Amano)
would be to an IAEA role in fuel assurance. "It seems he's a
little afraid of alienating the G-77," Berdennikov said
drily, before adding that Amano had "said the right things in
capitals." Ambassador noted USG outreach in recent weeks in
skeptical capitals.

5. (C) Comment: This will not be easy. Berdennikov
neglected to mention the role South Africa played in 1995
enlisting G-77 support or acquiescence for NPT extension. A
similar team effort is advisable if not indispensable in this
case. Approving the Russia arrangement in a simple majority
vote that splits along "North-South" lines would be a Pyrrhic
victory. Looking at the roster of the Board that will
convene September 22 for the ensuing twelve months, the
Republic of Korea looks to be a credible champion/proxy to
line up supporters for a resolution, but would need help
working the G-77 side of street. Peru, Mongolia, one of the
African members (one yet to be determined) or other
candidates are possible.

6. (C) Comment cont'd: The proposal will need a contingent of
G-77 states to vote on the technical merits over the
strongest voices within the G-77/NAM on the issue, those of

opponents (and non-NPT signatories) Pakistan and India. For
the second Board meeting in succession, India delivered the
most retrograde statement, positing that the Board should
reach consensus on norms for any fuel assurance mechanisms
submitted "to the Board or General Conference" before
considering specific proposals; these norms should include
that any mechanism operate under predetermined,
Board-approved, non-discriminatory conditions, be available
to all states in compliance with safeguards obligations, and
not infringe a state's rights. Understandably fixated on its
status under the NPT and suspicious perhaps of the market
implications, India seems unwilling to weigh agnostically the
Russian proposal as a facility being offered by one Member
State under IAEA auspices that would provide benefit at the
margins of the global LEU market to other, smaller states.
End Comment.

DAVIES