244249 1/19/2010 22:04 10STATE5218 Secretary of State UNCLASSIFIED VZCZCXRO2248 RR RUEHSL DE RUEHC #5218/01 0192211 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 192204Z JAN 10 FM SECSTATE WASHDC TO RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0304 RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 4648 RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 2120 RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ASTANA 4228 RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 2126 RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU 9936 RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 5733 RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2509 RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 2098 RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 6606 RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 1780 RUEHSL/AMEMBASSY BRATISLAVA 0851 RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 6085 RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST 2872 RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 0507 RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 4932 RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 6615 RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 2591 RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 1611 RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI 0965 RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 5916 RUEHKG/AMEMBASSY KINGSTON 0694 RUEHKL/AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR 3733 RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV 3079 RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 8476 RUEHLJ/AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA 7090 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 8847 RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 3643 RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA 3914 RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 0236 RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 6517 RUEHMS/AMEMBASSY MUSCAT 1735 RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0397 RUEHBH/AMEMBASSY NASSAU 0521 RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5940 RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 0511 RUEHPF/AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH 0759 RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA 2244 RUEHDG/AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO 0459 RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 2823 RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 2548 RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA 4549 RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN 0608 RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 1976 RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 2192 RUEHTG/AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA 6289 RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0450 RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 7516 RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1958 RUEHUM/AMEMBASSY ULAANBAATAR 7785 RUEHVT/AMEMBASSY VALLETTA 7765 RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 0559 RUEHVL/AMEMBASSY VILNIUS 3139 RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 5777 RUEHYE/AMEMBASSY YEREVAN 8335 RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB 3806 RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 5632 RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 5986 UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 STATE 005218
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG, KNNP, IAEA, XA, XB, XC, XD, XF, XG, XH, XL, XM SUBJECT: IF-ASKED POINTS ON HELIUM-3 SHORTAGE FOR POSTS IN COUNTRIES WITH SLD CORE PROGRAM AND MEGAPORTS INITIATIVE INSTALLATIONS
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. Please protect accordingly.
1. (SBU) Due to an enormous increase in demand over the past few years for helium-3 (He-3) in neutron detection (particularly in radiation portal monitors), the USG does not have enough He-3 in stock to meet current demand over the next few years. The USG has made the decision to defer allocation of He-3 for radiation portal monitors. While diplomatic efforts are underway to raise awareness of the shortage and find solutions, Posts in countries that have already received, or will receive, equipment under the Department of Energy,s Second Line of Defense (SLD) Core Program and Megaports Initiative may find themselves the recipients of queries from their host governments about future support of these installations. This cable provides talking points to respond to queries. However, no proactive action is requested of Posts at this time.
2. (SBU) He-3 has been typically produced by the radioactive decay of tritium (H-3). He-3 is used in a range of
STATE 00005218 002 OF 005
SUBJECT: IF-ASKED POINTS ON HELIUM-3 SHORTAGE FOR POSTS IN COUNTRIES WITH SLD CORE PROGRAM AND MEGAPORTS INITIATIVE INSTALLATIO applications, including medical imaging, oil/gas exploration, cryogenics and low temperature physics, and neutron detection. After 9/11, the latter application increased demand on the U.S. stockpile, as nuclear security-related radiation detection systems were deployed domestically and abroad.
3. (U) The following fact sheet was produced for use in diplomatic fora in autumn 2009.
Addressing the Worldwide Helium-3 Shortage Fact Sheet
There is a worldwide shortage of the helium-3 (He-3) isotope, which has a variety of applications, including nuclear security and safeguards. Greater international cooperation is needed to increase the supply and decrease the demand for this valuable resource. The isotope, a decay product from tritium, is a non-reactive, non-corrosive gas which is currently the material of choice for neutron detection, providing fewer false positives than other techniques. In addition, it is finding widespread use in such areas as cryogenics, medical imaging and diagnostics, and oil/gas exploration.
Without a concerted international effort, the supply will soon be short of the projected international demand by approximately a factor of 10. The United States is
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SUBJECT: IF-ASKED POINTS ON HELIUM-3 SHORTAGE FOR POSTS IN COUNTRIES WITH SLD CORE PROGRAM AND MEGAPORTS INITIATIVE INSTALLATIO interested in: (1) working with possible supplier nations to harvest He-3, (2) working with He-3 users to better use their stocks, and (3) investigating alternatives to He-3-based systems. Since most of the demand for He-3 gas is for portal-type monitors, international safeguards, and basic science R&D, investigation of these three alternatives would benefit from the participation of the relevant international technical groups.
The purpose of this fact sheet is to make potential users aware of the He-3 shortage and identify U.S. contacts for entering into bi-lateral or multi-lateral discussions.
Points of Contact
We request your assistance in developing a better understanding of the needs of the international safeguards and security community. In support of this effort, we have set up a special e-mail address: email@example.com for exchanging information.
Contact people are:
U.S. Department of State Michael Curry
U.S. Department of Energy Joseph Glaser
END FACT SHEET.
IF-ASKED TALKING POINTS ON MEGAPORTS AND SLD
4. (SBU) These points may be provided if Post is queried by
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SUBJECT: IF-ASKED POINTS ON HELIUM-3 SHORTAGE FOR POSTS IN COUNTRIES WITH SLD CORE PROGRAM AND MEGAPORTS INITIATIVE INSTALLATIO its host government about whether there will continue to be support for the SLD Core Program and Megaports Initiative. Post is not requested to proactively contact its host government.
-- The United States will continue to support the SLD Core or Megaports installation in your country. Already deployed equipment is not affected and deployments scheduled for FY10 and FY11 will continue as planned using portal monitors with He-3 detectors. Further into the future, the He-3 shortage may limit deployment of equipment using this material, but alternative technologies can be used to ensure that the same capability is present at these installations.
-- Note, too, that He-3 is used only for neutron detection. The current gamma ray detection technologies are unaffected by this shortage.
END IF-ASKED TALKING POINTS ON MEGAPORTS AND SLD.
FOR EMBASSY ISLAMABAD ONLY
5. (SBU) BACKGROUND: While Pakistan does not have a signed Memorandum of Understanding on SLD or Megaports, it has been operating a Secure Freight Initiative (SFI) program, which they are looking to expand. END BACKGROUND
6. (SBU) IF-ASKED FOR PAKISTAN ONLY
-- The United States will continue to support the SFI installation in your country. Already deployed equipment is not affected and deployments scheduled for FY10 and FY11 will continue as planned using equipment with He-3 detectors. Further into the future, the He-3 shortage may limit
STATE 00005218 005 OF 005
SUBJECT: IF-ASKED POINTS ON HELIUM-3 SHORTAGE FOR POSTS IN COUNTRIES WITH SLD CORE PROGRAM AND MEGAPORTS INITIATIVE INSTALLATIO deployment of equipment using this material, but alternative technologies can be used to ensure that the same capability is present at these installations.
END FOR EMBASSY ISLAMABAD ONLY
IF-ASKED TALKING POINTS ON JMOX
7. (SBU) For TOKYO and UNVIE only. These points may be provided if Post is queried about the status of He-3 supplies for applying international safeguards to the Japanese Mixed Oxide (JMOX) fuel fabrication plant, which is scheduled to start construction in May 2010.
-- The United States is seeking to meet He-3 requirements for applying international safeguards at the JMOX facility.
-- While we have not yet allocated He-3 for this safeguards installation, we are seeking to clarify the requirements and identify additional sources of He-3 that may be used to meet those requirements.
END IF-ASKED TALKING POINTS ON JMOX
POINTS OF CONTACT
8. (U) Washington thanks Posts for their assistance in this regard. Please slug questions to points of contact in paragraph 3. CLINTON