Cable en el que EEUU analiza los avances españoles en materia nuclear

En 2009, la Embajada de Madrid da cuenta de los cambios recientes en materia de seguridad en las centrales

ID: 189375
Date: 2009-01-29 11:39:00
Origin: 09MADRID98
Source: Embassy Madrid
Classification: SECRET//NOFORN
Dunno: 08MADRID1182 08MADRID1362 08STATE135193
Destination: R 291139Z JAN 09

S E C R E T MADRID 000098



E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2034

REF: A. 08 STATE 135193
B. 08 MADRID 1362
C. 08 MADRID 1182

Classified By: A/DCM William Duncan for reasons 1.4 (b), (c), and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: Cognizant of the threat posed to its nuclear
industry by terrorists and determined to counter a spate of
bad publicity from recent accidents at its nuclear
facilities, the GOS is taking steps to ensure the security of
its nuclear facilities. This cable provides a backdrop of
past terrorist attacks against Spain's nuclear facilities,
highlights recent security and safety incidents at nuclear
plants, and, as requested in REFTEL A, addresses how Spain
accounts for its nuclear material and how it is physically
protecting its nuclear material and facilities. The IAEA
recently fulfilled a peer review, requested by the GOS, of
Spain's nuclear regulatory infrastructure and its safety
practices in nuclear installations, radiation, waste,
transport, emergency preparedness and -- for the IAEA's first
time -- nuclear security. The IAEA,s Integrated Regulatory
Review Service (IRRS) conducted site inspections, interviews
and evaluations in early 2008 and in November 2008 publicly
issued its final report, the results of which the IRRS team
leader publicly described as "excellent" for Spain. On
January 14, POLOFF met Julio Barcelo, Commissioner at Spain's
Nuclear Security Council (CSN), to discuss the IRRS report
and broader issues of nuclear security in Spain. POLOFF also
discussed Spanish nuclear security issues on January 26 with
knowledgeable U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
officials, the first of whom stated that the GOS has made a
concerted effort to enhance physical security requirements at
its nuclear facilities since 9/11 and the Madrid train
bombings in 2004. The second NRC official stressed that
there is a long-standing history of bilateral cooperation
between the USG and the GOS on the physical protection of
nuclear facilities. END SUMMARY.

//Spain's Nuclear Plants - A History of Previous Terrorist
Attacks, The Threat of Future Attacks//

2. (U) Spanish nuclear facilities - Spain currently is home
to eight civil-use nuclear reactors at six plants, as
detailed in REFTEL B - are a past and present target of
terrorism. During 1977-82, the domestic terrorist group
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (known as ETA) conducted a
series of attacks on the nuclear plant that was under
construction in Lemoniz, in Spain's Basque Region. On
separate occasions, ETA exploded bombs near the reactor and
the turbines of the plant. ETA also employed sabotage,
letter bombs, hand grenades, kidnappings and targeted
assassinations of the chief engineer and director involved in
the plant's construction. The campaign resulted in a handful
of deaths and wounded several others, which contributed to
the GOS decision in 1983 to discontinue the plant's
construction before it ever became operational.

3. (U) The radical Islamist attacks in the United States on
9/11 and the Madrid train bombings in 2004 prompted the GOS
to redouble its efforts to secure its nuclear facilities from
attack. Al-Qa'ida and al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb
routinely call for the recapture of the former
Muslim-controlled region in the Iberian Peninsula they still
call "al-Andalus." The GOS in 2004 passed its Plan for the
Development of a Nuclear, Radiological, Biological, and
Chemical (CBRN) Defense System, which assigned 1,682 Civil
Guards to the prevention of and reaction to a CBRN attack in
Spain. Spain's National Intelligence Center (CNI) issued a
report in 2006 indicating that the most devastating blow that
jihadists could strike against Spain would be by attacking
one of Spain's nuclear plants.

//Spain Requested IAEA Peer Review of Its Nuclear Regulatory

4. (C) Barcelo, the longest-serving member of the five-person
Commission that constitutes the senior leadership of Spain's
nuclear regulatory agency, told POLOFF that, in requesting a
peer review of its nuclear regulatory infrastructure, the GOS
was motivated to compare its strengths and weakness to IAEA
safety standards and to exchange best practices with other
countries. While the UK, France and Romania have undergone
similar IAEA peer reviews, Barcelo emphasized to POLOFF that
Spain is the first country to have a "full scope" IRRS
review, which includes a module conducted on nuclear
security. The English language version of the IAEA,s IRRS
final report on Spain is available at .pdf while the
supplemental report on physical security is unavailable to
the public. (COMMENT: Note that the IRRS report addresses
how well Spain's nuclear regulatory agency takes its
responsibilities to develop a regulatory program. The report
was not intended to directly assess the physical security of
Spain's nuclear facilities per se, but many of its findings
provide useful information for this cable. END COMMENT.)
Barcelo informed POLOFF that the GOS will be engaged in
follow-up activities to the report for the next two or three

5. (U) The IAEA/IRRS report rated the overall results for
Spain as "excellent." The team identified 16 good practices
utilized by Spain, offered 26 suggestions for improvement,
and made five general recommendations. When applicable,
several of the security-related strengths and weaknesses are
highlighted in the paragraphs below. Among the items listed
as an issue for improvement, the IAEA/IRSS recommended that
"nothing should diminish the first priority of CSN to oversee
the safety of the nuclear and radioactive installations" and
that Spain should "continue its focus on ongoing efforts to
strengthen CSN's activities in physical protection..." From
the supplemental reports on nuclear safety, there were two
recommendations. First, that that CSN participate in
national radioactive waste management planning. Second, CSN
was encouraged to develop a plan and communication of plans
for the final disposal of spent fuel and high-level waste.
(COMMENT: Spain currently only has a domestic disposal site
for medium-level waste. END COMMENT.)

//Specific Security Measures at Nuclear Facilities//

6. (C) One of the areas identified by the IAEA/IRSS as a
strength of Spain was the collaboration between CSN and the
Ministry of Interior in physical protection-related
activities and the use of regulatory and licensing activities
to enhance physical security at nuclear facilities.
According to Spanish press reports, Spanish security forces -
primarily the Civil Guard, a paramilitary law enforcement
force - and intelligence services are responsible for the
external security at Spanish nuclear facilities while private
security guards hired by the owners of the plants have
responsibility for the interior of the facilities. Barcelo
told POLOFF that most of the security guards at Spanish
nuclear facilities are former members of the police or

7. (C) Spain appears to have made progress since a number of
recent high-profile incidents in which the physical security
of its nuclear facilities was compromised. In 2002,
Greenpeace activists stormed the Jose Cabrera nuclear
facility in Zorita and scaled the dome of the plant, from
which they unfurled a banner with an anti-nuclear message.
The incident raised concerns about the physical security of
the plant, which subsequently was shut down in 2006.
Following the Zorita incident, CSN recommended that the
companies that own Spain's nuclear facilities surround them
with a double physical barrier. According to Spanish press
reports, security at Spanish nuclear plants has been beefed
up since early 2007, making access to the facilities more
difficult. A late 2007 article in Spain's flagship daily El
Pais details four security checks that workers must pass
through at the Cofrentes nuclear plant in Valencia. The
first identify themselves to guards, then pass through a
finger-print check before being scanned for metals and
explosives and finally undergoing a fourth, unspecified
check. CNI reportedly also began conducting more stringent
investigations of the nuclear facilities' employees.
Finally, the article stated that there are two fences around
the Cofrentes facility; one is electrified and the other has
razor wire at the top of it.

8. (S) POLOFF also discussed physical security measures at
Spain's nuclear facilities with an official from the U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) who has been inside the
Cofrentes plant within the past year. The NRC official noted
that the Cofrentes plant has detection systems along its
fenceline that include video cameras, motion detection
sensors, and infra-red surveillance and described the
physical security system as very similar to those at U.S.
nuclear facilities. The NRC official also remarked that
physical security measures at the Cofrentes plant go beyond
what is mandated and include an additional measure of "pretty
impressive" technology: a camera system in place at the
service entrance to the plant which takes an image of the
undercarriage of any vehicle passing through. The next time
that vehicle passes the camera system, the system will take a
new image and be able to detect if there have been any
alterations since the last visit.

9. (S) This NRC official remarked that the GOS and the CSN
have taken "very seriously" several recent breaches in the
physical security at Spanish nuclear facilities. In
mid-2007, for instance, Greenpeace again breached the
security of a nuclear facility, this time by overflying the
Extremadura-based Almaraz nuclear facility in a paraglider.
In the same event, Greenpeace activists also stormed the
Almaraz facility by a Zodiac-style speed boat while a third
team chained themselves to the front gate. (Publicly
available photos of the physical removal of the activists
from the site show the Almaraz guards equipped with sidearms
and night sticks.) According to the NRC official, the
Cofrentes facility responded to the paraglider incident at
Almaraz by placing a field of razor wire along the roofs of
building that house sensitive materials. In late September
2007, guards at the Juzbado fuel-element producing facility
in Salamanca found uranium tablets along a perimeter fence,
in what authorities believe was an attempt by a member of the
workforce to smuggle the goods out of the complex. CSN
publicly stated shortly thereafter that the tablets could not
be used to make a bomb. The NRC official states that the CSN
was quite chagrined by the incident and its potential
implications and acted to prevent its reoccurrence.

10. (S) Embassy Madrid cannot independently confirm that each
of Spain's nuclear plants employs similar security
precautions to those described in the preceding paragraphs
about Cofrentes, but this NRC official indicates that the
Cofrentes plant likely employs the physical security standard
at which all Spanish nuclear plants are at or are on target
to meet. The NRC official did not believe that the
high-level of physical security at the Cofrentes plant was an
anomaly. A second NRC official with whom POLOFF spoke
stressed that there is a long-standing history of bilateral
cooperation between the USG and the GOS on the physical
protection of nuclear facilities, which includes bilateral
meetings every few years and periodic meetings and exchanges
by security officials.

11. (SBU) Unrelated to terrorism concerns but of interest
from a safety standpoint, the Spanish also have experienced a
number of accidents at their nuclear plants in the past 15
months. Spanish press reports and anti-nuclear campaigners
suggest that cost-cutting efforts by nuclear facilities and
the increasing use of subcontractors are resulting in
increased safety lapses. A radiation leak at the Asco nuclear
plant near Tarragona in November 2007 occurred when an
inexperienced worker dumped radioactive waste in a pool of
cooling water. Two plant directors were fired for covering
up the incident for months before it became public in early
2008; an action which prompted CSN to recommend that the
companies be fined up to roughly $30 million. Meanwhile, in
the summer of 2008, a pipe carrying hydrogen burst and
ignited at the Vandellos II nuclear plant. Together, the two
plants were off-line for 114 days in 2008, compared to 21 in

//Transport of Nuclear Materials//

12. (U) CSN has authority to carry out inspections related to
the transport of radioactive material by land, air and sea,
focusing on the nuclear safety and radiation protection. CSN
conducts about 60 inspections annually. The inspections may
be planned, reactive, announced or unannounced. The
IAEA/IRSS report identified several good practices related to
transportation safety, crediting the CSN for being pro-active
and practical in this regard and praising it for maintaining
a comprehensive, user-friendly database on the topic.

//Plans or Procedures for Responding to the Theft of Nuclear

13. (U) Among its good practices, Spain was praised by the
IAEA/IRSS for its "well trained emergency preparedness
organization" and its "very modern and well equipped
emergency center." According to Spanish press reports, CSN
in the aftermath of 9/11 recommended that the companies that
own Spain's nuclear facilities have the obligation to notify
CSN's Emergency Center - within one hour - of any detection
of the theft or loss of any nuclear material, including any
attempts at sabotage. Spain does have recorded incidents of
presumed theft of nuclear material, however, as mentioned in
paragraph 9.

//Plans or Procedures for Attacks on Nuclear Facilities//

14. (SBU) CSN does not publicly comment on such security
measures and the IAEA/IRSS supplemental report on physical
security was not released to the public. However, according
to a press report in late 2007, Spanish nuclear plants have a
retaining wall made of concrete-reinforced steel to surround
and protect the reactor from a missile or an airborne
terrorist attack. These anti-missile "slabs" reportedly
employ designs utilized by such U.S. firms as Westinghouse or
GE. The retaining walls also are reportedly designed to
safeguard against seismic activity.

15. (C) Spain is also taking political and operational steps
to increase its ability to prevent an attack on its nuclear
facilities. Throughout 2008, Spain had a very active role in
the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GI).
Spain hosted a table-top exercise in May, a plenary meeting
in June, and a field training exercise in October. This
series of events further developed Spain's expertise in
nuclear terrorism-related disaster preparedness and
contingency planning. As mentioned in REFTEL C, Madrid also
wants to continue to deepen cooperation to combat nuclear
terrorism by conducting more technical exercises and training
cooperation in 2009 within a multilateral context and
bilaterally with the United States.

16. (C) POLOFF concluded his meeting with Barcelo by asking
how Spanish nuclear security has evolved since he became a
Commissioner of the CSN in mid-2001. He responded that the
GOS had "good" security measures in place before 9/11, but
their implementation had become "relaxed." Barcelo assured
POLOFF that these types of physical security compromises
experienced in recent years could not happen nowadays.


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