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STATE FOR ISN/NESS AND IO/T DOE FOR EM-1 TRIAY NRC MDOANE AND JSCHWARTZMAN
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG, TRGY, KNNP, AORC SUBJECT: NUCLEAR SAFETY: U.S. DEL REPORT ON THE THIRD ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING OF THE JOINT CONVENTION ON THE SAFETY OF SPENT FUEL MANAGEMENT AND ON THE SAFETY OF RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT, OCTOBER 13-14, 2008
REF: (A) STATE 101834 (B) STATE 021717 (C) UNVIE 000336 (D) STATE 083792 (E) STATE 089182 (F) STATE 078514 (G) STATE 115372 (H) STATE 108911
1. (SBU) Confrontation and procedural machinations marred the October 2008 Organizational Meeting on the Joint Convention. The meeting's main purpose was to elect officers for the May 2009 Third Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties. The U.S. candidate for presidency of the Third Review Meeting had plurality support in the first round of voting but fell short of the required 50-percent-plus-one. The past Review president orchestrated the blocking of the U.S. candidate. USDEL opted to accept a vice presidency. End summary.
BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION
2. (U) The Third Organizational Meeting of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (Joint Convention) took place October 13-14, 2008 in Vienna. Janet Gorn, Department of State (ISN/NESS), headed the Delegation. USDEL included Alternate Delegate Ben McRae, Assistant General Counsel for Civilian Nuclear Programs, Department of Energy, and Advisors Patrice Bubar and Catherine Haney, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Accompanying the Delegation were Dr. Ines Triay, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Environmental Management Program, Department of Energy, and the U.S. candidate for President of the Joint Convention Third Review Meeting; Frank
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Marcinowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regulatory compliance, Department of Energy; Douglas Tonkay LLW/MLLW Team Leader, DOE Office of Disposal Operations; and Heather Astwood, Nuclear Safety Attache, U.S. Mission to International Organizations, Vienna (UNVIE).
3. (SBU) The preparatory meeting was called to elect officers, establish country groups, recommend a budget, and establish a Provisional Agenda for the May 11-20, 2009, Third Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties. For all Parties, the meeting was particularly challenging in seeking to chart a consensus course despite the Organizational Chairman's efforts to impose operationally his views on agenda items, including in particular election of Organizational and Review Meeting Officers. The U.S., Canada, and the U.K. set forth recommendations for an open-ended topical session to focus on suggestions and recommendations for improving the process. U.S. representatives were elected to Review Meeting offices, as Vice President of the Peer Review Meeting and as Coordinator of a Country Review Group. Noteworthy was a special presentation by the President of the Joint Convention Second Meeting of the Parties, Andre-Claude Lacoste, and his innovative views on making public all National Reports, encouraging interviews with journalists and the media, and introducing the media into the process by opening the Joint Convention process to the Press.
Opening of the Meeting (Agenda Item 1)
4. (U) Mr. Tomihiro Taniguchi, IAEA Deputy Director General heading the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, opened the meeting. His opening remarks spoke to the current expansion of nuclear power
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programs to meet the increasing energy demands in many parts of the world, making spent fuel management and disposal, decommissioning, and radioactive waste disposal key concerns for many policy makers, the public, and the news media. He noted that plans for new and reinvigorated nuclear power development worldwide needed to be complemented by equally ambitious plans for the establishment and enhancement of sustainable spent fuel and radioactive waste management. He commented on the need for a global waste safety regime and the maturing of international safety standards, noted the progress and challenges identified in the past two Joint Convention Review Meetings, welcomed the five new Parties (China, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, South Africa and Tajikistan), and stressed the need to increase Joint Convention membership in particular for those non-nuclear power countries with disused sealed source disposal, including via IAEA promotional efforts and those of Contracting Parties.
Election of the Organizational President and Vice President (Agenda Item 2)
5. (SBU) Mr. Andre-Claude Lacoste/France was nominated for President of the Joint Convention Organizational Meeting. There being no other nominations, Mr. Lacoste was elected by consensus. For the office of Vice President no candidates were proposed. From the dais and without prior consultation with USDEL, Lacoste nominated Ms. Patrice Bubar of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for Vice President. A U.S. intervention thanked Mr. Lacoste but declined the nomination. There being no other Vice President nominations this agenda item was postponed until the IAEA Secretariat could confer with delegations. Subsequently, Mr. Luc Baekelandt/Belgium was proposed and elected by consensus.
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Adoption of the Agenda (Agenda Item 3) and Consideration of Credentials of Participants (Agenda Item 4)
6. (U) The Organizational Meeting Agenda was adopted by consensus as presented. There were no credential challenges or requests for participation by any new Parties whose ratification instruments had been submitted to the IAEA, but had not yet entered into force.
Establishment of country Groups (Agenda Item 5.1)
7. (U) Since the Second Meeting of the Parties in 2006, five new Contracting Parties submitted their instruments of ratification. As a result there are now forty-six (46) Contracting Parties (45 countries plus EURATOM). To accommodate the number of current national reports to be reviewed and a reasonable timetable, the number of country Review Groups was expanded from five (5) to six (6). The IAEA Secretariat announced all National Reports had not been submitted and requested those countries with delinquent reports to promptly forward their reports both electronically and in hard copy.
Election of the President and two vice-Presidents of the Review Meeting (Agenda Item 5.2)
8. (SBU) Election of officers for the Joint Convention Third Review Meeting became complicated first with a two-week extension of the
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deadline for nomination of officers at the request of Andre-Claude Lacoste, President of the Second Meeting of the Parties. Lacoste made clear to all his view that the President of the Joint Convention should be a regulator, and he lobbied governments to that end. Prior to the extension there was one candidate (U.S.) for President and one candidate for each of the two Vice-Chairman positions. As a result of the extension and recruitment of others, for the first time in corporate memory an election of officers was conducted. The election took up the entire morning session. Three candidates were formally nominated for the Office of President: Dr. Ines Triay, US/Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary, Environmental Management; Dr. Kunihisa Soda, Commissioner, Japan Nuclear Safety Commission; and Mr. Abel Gonzalez, Argentine Autoridad Regulatoria Nuclear (who did not attend the Organizational Meeting). Three candidates were nominated for the two Vice President positions (Japan, Hungary, Ukraine).
9. (U) Prior to the start of the Organizational Meeting, Dr. Triay and her DOE team along with the U.S. Head of Delegation had met with Joint Convention delegates to discuss Dr. Triay's vision statement "21st Century Challenges for the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management." Dr. Triay pointed out that twelve years after the Convention was opened for signature the global nuclear village had dramatically changed. There was a reemergence of interest in expanding the benefits of nuclear power and more then forty (40) developing and transitional nations were considering adding nuclear power to their energy portfolios, while advanced nuclear nations were expanding their nuclear fleets, she said. To meet the challenges of this renaissance, Parties needed to reinvigorate a Joint Convention leadership that would seek to better achieve its goals and objectives as the use of nuclear power increases over the coming years.
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10. (SBU) Before the election of officers for the Organizational Meeting, the IAEA Secretariat (Office of the Legal Advisor) called a meeting of the three Presidential candidates and the meeting president, Mr. Lacoste. The Secretariat noted that it was not in the best interest of the Joint Convention process to hold an election and suggested candidates reconsider their candidacies. All candidates declined to withdraw their names. Outgoing President Lacoste offered to support the United States as the next President of the Meeting of the Parties of the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) if Dr. Triay would withdraw her current candidacy. The U.S. responded neither Dr. Triay nor the U.S. delegation had the authority to accept such an offer, moreover the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission was the lead agency for the CNS, not the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Triay also met separately in private with each of the candidates prior to the Organizational Meeting.
11. (U) With the announcement of the need for a secret ballot, the IAEA Secretariat outlined the process for the Parties. The U.K. and the Canadian delegations were designated ballot counters. The U.S. delegation requested that Dr. Triay be recognized to make a statement regarding her views on the Joint Convention. President Lacoste declined to accept a statement from the candidate; however he stated he would entertain statements by the delegations. The U.S. delegation presented Dr. Triay's Vision Statement. Prior to commencing with the distribution of ballots, the Argentine delegation withdrew Mr. Gonzales's name as a candidate, because the election was by vote and not by consensus.
12. (U) Forty ballots were passed out. The vote result favored Dr. Triay, who received 19 votes; Dr. Soda had 18 votes, there were two abstentions; although not a candidate, Mr. Gonzalez received 1 vote. The IAEA Secretariat declared a second secret ballot would be
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distributed, because the first ballot was an "unrestricted ballot" (requiring an absolute majority), which had not been made clear prior to the vote. Dr. Triay requested the U.S. delegation seek a recess for the candidates, which was granted, and proposed a meeting between the U.S. and the Japanese.
13. (U) During the lunch break the Secretariat convened a short meeting regarding an election irregularity with the abstention ballots cast. One of the two ballots cast was by the EURATOM delegate; EURATOM has no voting rights and the vote was declared invalid.
14. (SBU) During the lunch break a number of discussions took place between the IAEA Secretariat, the U.S. and Japan, in which the Secretariat Office of the Legal Advisor proposed, with USDEL concurrence, that Dr. Soda withdraw given the U.S. candidate had received the most votes. President Lacoste also met with the Japanese candidate and urged him not to withdraw.
15. (SBU) During the lunch period President Lacoste also called a European Union (EU) meeting for the purpose of drafting an EU demarche to the U.S. In an oral demarche made to the U.S. Mission representative by a French Mission official, the EU stated it was supporting Dr. Soda and would support the U.S. for a Vice President position. While the U.S. was considering the EU demarche, President Lacoste reconvened the Organizational Meeting and attempted to move forward with a vote for the President, necessitating a U.S. intervention for a short recess to complete consideration of the EU demarche.
16. (SBU) After USDEL internal deliberations, Dr. Triay decided in the best interest of the Joint Convention process she would withdraw her candidacy for President rather than prolong the election with
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further negotiations. Dr. Triay declined the offer of submitting her name for a Vice President position and requested Mr. Frank Marcinowski be nominated as the U.S. candidate.
17. (U) The Organizational Meeting was reconvened once again to take up the agenda item to elect a President for the Review Meeting. Dr. Soda was elected by consensus. A secret ballot was distributed to Parties for the election of the two Vice Presidents. The Japanese candidate dropped out of the VP election, because one country cannot have two executive officers. The French delegation nominated Mr. Marcinowski for Vice President. The other candidates remained on the ballot. The U.S. received 33 votes, Dr. Laszio Koblinger the Hungarian candidate received 25 votes, and the Ukraine candidate Ms. Olena Mykolaichuk received 14 votes.
Election of Country Group Officers: Coordinators (Agenda Item 5.3), Rapporteurs and Chairpersons (Agenda Item 5.4), Election of Vice Chairpersons (Agenda Item 5.5)
18. (U) With the two-week extension of the deadline for nomination of candidates for the Country Review Group Officers (Chairman, Vice Chairman, Coordinator, and Rapporteur), the number of formally nominated candidates increased with multiple nominations for each office in each Group. The election of officers followed Joint Convention Guidelines, whereby each Country Review Group elected its officers. With no exception, all of the Groups stipulated all candidates were well qualified and opted not to vote by secret ballot. The two criteria used to measure the most suitable candidate were: 1) Equity among nations, in particular providing a leadership opportunity to smaller nations, and 2) Whether or not the candidate could read, write, and speak fluent English. Selection of
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officers was by consensus. The U.S. assigned group selected Ms. Mary Biesi, Program Analyst, Office of Disposal Operations, DOE Office of Environmental Management, for the office of Coordinator.
Adoption of a Budget for the Review Meeting (Agenda Item 5.6)
19. (U) The budget was adopted by consensus as presented, at 106,500 Euros. This represents an increase of 378 Euros from the 2006 budget.
Open-ended Topic Session (Agenda Item 5.7)
20. (U) Interventions were made by the U.S., Canadian, and U.K. delegations for topical proposals for two Open-Ended Sessions; one on the Voluntary Data Presentation Tool (U.S.) and one on a collection of proposals to improve the Joint Convention Process (U.S., Canada, U.K.).
21. (U) The U.S. proposal for the Voluntary Data Presentation Tool was adopted by consensus without comment. The Canadian and U.K. delegations supported the U.S. five-point proposal to improve the Joint Convention process and added four additional topics. Additional interventions were made by other delegates supporting the U.S. proposal and those of Canada and the United Kingdom. Several Parties commented on the importance of increasing membership in the Joint Convention, in particular with the increased interest by approximately 40 non-nuclear power countries in adding nuclear power to their energy mix. The U.S. five-point proposal, the Canadian
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additional point proposal, and the U.K. three-point proposal for an open-ended topical meeting were adopted by consensus as follows:
BEGIN ADOPTED TEXTS
(1) The Voluntary Data Presentation Tool for Joint Convention national reports Based on Net-Enabled Waste Management Data Base.
The first topical proposal was developed by the Working Group of the country Coordinators for the Net-enabled Waste management Database (NEWMDB). Contributors to the proposal included the Untied States, the Netherlands, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Germany.
Contracting Parties and other IAEA Member States already provide detailed information regarding radioactive waste and spent fuel facilities, inventories, and ongoing decommissioning activities, into such IAEA databases as the Net Enabled Waste Management Database (NEWMDB), Nuclear Fuel cycles Information System (NFCIS) the Research Reactor Database (RRDB), and the Power Reactor Information System (PRIS). The information provided to these databases is a useful resource for reporting according to Article 32, Section 2, of the Joint Convention. Contracting Parties could use their information already provided in these databases (if current) for their National Reports, thus reducing the burden for the preparation of the reports and also promoting consistency between the data provided in National reports and these databases. The Topical Session proposal is to explore the voluntary use of the new data presentation tool to commence with the Fourth Review Meeting. The data tool would not replace preparation of the whole National Report, but would facilitate the development and review of tables and annexes that are now provided in various formats. The proposal was adopted by consensus with little comment. NOTE: The
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U.S. supported the use of the data tool and volunteered to use the U.S. National Report data as a model to demonstrate the value and benefits.
(2) Five Recommendations to Improve the Joint Convention Process.
The second topical Open-ended Session was proposed by the United States to discuss the five (5) topics as reflected in Dr. Ines Triay's nomination vision statement, "21st Century Challenges for the Joint Convention"
BEGIN U.S. TOPICAL SESSION POINTS:
-- Continuity Between Meetings. We need to establish continuity and an ongoing dialogue between Review Meetings to support sustained momentum toward meeting the objectives of the Joint convention. Through efficient communication, Parties can communicate important and real-time lessons learned and discuss and even resolve emerging issues related to the Joint Convention. Initiatives to consider include: (1) Reinstating the Joint convention newsletter; (2) scheduling regular and more frequent meetings of the General committee (for example, meetings every six months); and (3) exploring innovative use of electronic communication methods, such as web-based meetings, web-exchanges and blogs, and development of CDs.
-- Robust Peer Review Process. We need to ensure the peer review process remains a strong and transparent process that encourages frank and open discussion of issues that arise in national programs so that all Parties can exchange experiences and learn from one another and thereby enhance their national programs. In addition, as the number of Parties increases, we need to explore mechanisms to increase the efficiency of the peer review process without
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diminishing its effectiveness.
-- Increased Membership in Joint Convention. We need to reinvigorate efforts to increase the number of Parties to the Joint convention. As countries consider starting or expanding nuclear power programs, it is essential that they participate in the Joint convention and gain a better understanding of the importance of the back-end of the fuel cycle - waste management and disposal. Efforts should be undertaken to make the Joint Convention more relevant to these countries, as well as countries engaged in uranium mining and industrial uses of radioactive materials, including sealed sources.
-- Greater Public Acceptance. We need to consider mechanisms to foster greater public acceptance of spent fuel and radioactive management activities. We must explore how to reach out to members of the public, local governments, community and environmental groups and others, to communicate why spent fuel and radioactive waste management activities are safe and secure, and to explain in simple and understandable terms what ate the actual risks associated with these activities and what is the level of protection afforded by safety standards, radiological protection measures and concepts such as "defense in depth."
-- Inclusive Joint Convention Leadership. We need to ensure the leadership of the Joint convention includes a broad cross section of these persons involved in spent fuel and radioactive waste management activities, including government officials responsible for making spent fuel and radioactive waste management policy, implementing regulatory requirements, and making management decisions that affect the level of safety and security in spent fuel and radioactive waste management activities. We should consider formalizing the informal guidelines outlined by the President of the Organizational Meeting for the Second Meeting of the Parties to
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facilitate selection of the President, Vice-Presidents, and other officials for the Review Meetings. These informal guidelines include factors such as: gender, rotation of leadership positions among countries, mixture of operators and regulators, representation from large and small countries, and geographic variability. (See paragraph 8 of the Report of the President of the Organizational Meeting for the Second Review Meeting of the Parties.) -- the remaining 20 percent should be paid -- either 10 percent in cash up front or over 23 years. Jabr said that he is pressuring the Chinese Government to forgive the entire debt since the GOI has allowed the Chinese to develop an oil field in Wasit Province.
11. (C) Egypt: There are two debt issues outstanding -- both sovereign debt and workers' remittance money owed to Egyptian workers. Jabr says that Iraq owes USD 340-400 million in remittances and does not plan to seek a reduction of this money. He is hesitant to simply pay it, however, as this would reduce leverage on the Government of Egypt to forgive the bilateral debt. There has been no movement on the bilateral debt issue, he said.
Siemens Generator Deal
12. (C) Saying that Siemens "came to Iraq at a bad time, they should have come here three years ago," Jabr said that he "would not guarantee" payment. (Note: A deal with Siemens was signed on December 21. End note.) Citing concerns about the declining price of oil and its effect on Iraq's ability to finance capital expenditure projects, Jabr said he, as Minister of Finance, would not provide the same "guarantee of payment" that had been recently provided to General Electric. "If the Council of Ministers tells me to pay, I of course will pay," he added.
13. (C) The successful second IMF review of Iraq's SBA triggering the final tranche of Iraq's Paris Club Debt forgiveness is a significant, but easy step forward in setting Iraq's financial house in order. The steps that Iraq has taken with countries such as Poland and China are also important as resolving its debt with non-Paris Club member countries demonstrates that Iraq is serious about putting its financial house in order. Solutions to its debt with countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will only come when the underlying political issues are resolved. Resolution of Iraq's sovereign debts will prove to be all the more important should oil prices remain low for the long term, and Iraq need to seek loans to continue the rebuilding of its economy and infrastructure. CROCKER