189142 1/28/2009 9:36 09BUCHAREST56 Embassy Bucharest SECRET//NOFORN 08BUCHAREST997|09BUCHAREST595|09SECSTATE135193 VZCZCXYZ0006 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHBM #0056 0280936 ZNY SSSSS ZZH P 280936Z JAN 09 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9148 INFO RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY S E C R E T BUCHAREST 000056
STATE FOR INR AND EUR/CE: ASCHIEBE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/27/2034 TAGS: KNNP, MNUC, PARM, ENRG, PINR, RO SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ON SECURITY OF EUROPEAN NUCLEAR MATERIALS (C-WP8-01022)
REF: A) SECSTATE 135193 B) 08 BUCHAREST 997 C) 08 BUCHAREST 595
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Jeri Guthrie-Corn for reasons 1.4(c) a nd (d).
1. (SBU/NF) This report responds to questions raised in ref A. As post acquires additional information it will be reported septel.
2. (S/NF) Over the past several months, EconOff has accompanied representatives of the National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control (CNCAN) on site visits to several Romanian nuclear sites. CNCAN is responsible for the security and transfer of nuclear materials within Romania. The General Director for Regulation, Licensing, and Control Activities at CNCAN, Lucian Biro (PhD), is also active in managing Romania's relations with the IAEA, and he has participated in IAEA inspections in other countries. EconOff was accompanied by Dr. Biro and Sorin Repanovici, the former International Affairs Advisor and current head of Physical Security for CNCAN, on his site visits.
3. (S/NF) The visited sites include the Romanian research reactor near Pitesti and the sole Romanian nuclear power plant near Cernavoda. Both installations are guarded by the Romanian Gendarmerie, a national police force under the authority of the Ministry of Interior. All Gendarmes guarding nuclear sites carry side arms, and EconOff passed through multiple checkpoints at both facilities. Entering and exiting the Cernavoda nuclear reactor facility, EconOff was also subjected to a full body scan to check for radioactivity and his identity documents were carefully checked against an access control list at both sites.
4. (S/NF) Euratom inspectors have access to Romania's nuclear facilities, and EconOff observed inspectors from both the IAEA and Euratom taking photographs of fuel rods in the Pitesti research reactor prior to a planned international transfer of highly enriched uranium fuel to the United States. The inspectors appeared cooperative with one another. U.S. personnel and contractors from the NNSA have had extensive access to certain Romanian nuclear installations (reported ref C) in connection with the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI). Previous transfers involving nuclear material on Romanian territory involved police and military escorts and unannounced transit routes or times. GTRI-related shipments have carefully adhered to both European and international nuclear security guidelines.
5. (S/NF) PolMilOff specifically discussed CNCAN's ability to respond to various radioactive events, whether accidental or intentional, with Repanovici. Repanovici was clearly proud of his seven-man team, but he noted that their protective gear was out-dated and that they train "about once a month," which he admitted is probably insufficient. However, if there were a problem at a Romanian nuclear facility, he was confident that they could respond quickly. A more serious incident, such as an accident or intentional attack during the transport of nuclear material, would need to draw on additional military and intelligence resources.
6. (S/NF) Comment. The Romanian authorities take their responsibility to safeguard nuclear materials very seriously. In general, the safeguards currently in place at Romania's nuclear facilities minimize the chances of a nuclear incident. However, an actual incident involving the release of radioactive material would severely test the GOR's crisis management capabilities. Emergency response training, in general, tends to be inadequate, with particular gaps in the capacity to respond quickly both with sufficient resources and an effective plan to coordinate an interagency and interdisciplinary response. End Comment. GUTHRIE-CORN