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April 5, 1978

Nuclear Waste Disposal of Nuclear Power Plants Iran 5 - 8; Here: Meeting of Mr. State Secretary with Dr. Etemad on 8 and 9 April 1978

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

[Federal Ministry for Research and Technology]

Official: Dr. Bonnet

Bonn, 5 April 1978


RE: Nuclear Waste Disposal of Nuclear Power Plants Iran 5 - 8

            here: Meeting of Mr. State Secretary[1] with Dr. Etemad[2] on 8 and 9 April 1978


  1. Mr. State Secretary


Mr. Division Head 2

Mr. Sub-Division Head 22


I. For the Tehran visit the following material is provided:

1. Preliminary program

(Confirmation by Embassy follows later)

Subfolder 1

2. Notes Sub-Division 22 on Meeting 23 February 1978 in Vienna

Subfolder 2

3. Notes Sub-Division 22 on Meeting 10 March 1978 in Bonn

Subfolder 3

4. Draft of letter on waste disposal issue without bracket addition. This version was handed to Dr. Etemad on 23 February 1978.

Subfolder 4

5. Draft of letter with bracket addition

Subfolder 5

6. Letter regarding Iran 1 and 2

Subfolder 6

7. Nuclear Energy Agreement

Subfolder 7

8. Diagram with estimates of uranium amounts to be outsourced

Subfolder 8

II. In addition to exchanges of letters on the waste disposal issue there is also still the exchange of letters missing regarding the inclusion of nuclear power plants Iran 5 to 8 in the Nuclear Energy Agreement on the transfer of nuclear material to third countries. Its implementation is again the condition for granting the export license. An according draft for Iran 5 and 6 had been handed to Dr. Etemad on 4 October 1977. On 23 February 1978 Dr. Etemad stated his general willingness to extend these drafts to Iran 7 and 8. Thus the following additional material is added here:

1. Draft and fair copy of the letter for Iran 5 to 8

Sub-folder 9

2. According letters of exchange for Iran 1 and 2

Sub-folder 10


III. Further Subjects in the Area of Nuclear Cooperation with Iran

1. Object Security System for Iran 1 and 2

a) Situation

On 15 and 16 March 1978 talks were held in the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology with Dr. Sotoodehnia regarding the options of German participation in designing a safety concept for Iran 1 and 2.

There it became evident that, according to the view of AEOI[3], the safety system so far offered by KWU[4] is rudimentary and in no way sufficient to guarantee the safety of the cc and adjacent facilities. In particular the electronic monitoring systems were considered to be deficient.

Thus the AEOI is looking for a consultant capable to design the needed safety system from the scratch. Sotoodehnia is estimating the time required to be 8 man-years and he is expecting an implementation as fast as possible.

This task goes far beyond what we heard in previous contacts with Sotoodehnia concerning this issue. It does especially exceed the capacities of the GRS[5]. Until now, the German side had operated with the assumption that a consultant would be required to review and optimize a safety system in part proposed by the KWU, in part by the Iranian side. Here the GRS would have been the appropriate partner. Sotoodehnia was asked to immediately send a detailed list of tasks in order to enable us to find a suitable client. A continuation of these talks was supposed you be held in Tehran on the 5th, 6th, and 7th of April. Since so far there has not been a reaction from AEOI, this timeline was not feasible.

In the meantime, Mr. Seipel had exploited German capacities to meet the requests of the AEOI. A specialized company comparable to Burns & Roe[6] does not exist. However, the KWU (Mr. Keller) views itself capable to offer and build a comprehensive safety system with support from Siemens. Furthermore, Herr Keller is willing to involve the Zettler Company in case of an emergency. He has agreed to confirm this willingness regarding to take over the overall concept before the 7th of April in a letter to Mr. State Secretary [Haunschild]. In this construction, the GRS could be involved similar to its field of expertise in our country. Currently it [GRS] is reviewing the previous safety offer by KWO for Iran 1 and 2 in order to gain an overview of the missing elements in the system.


b) Proposal for Talks

The AEOI should be referred to the emerging opportunity for an implementation by KWU/Siemens/GRS.


2. Expert for Primary Safety Analysis

During the talk on 16 March 1978 Sotoodehnia asked whether the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology could be helpful in recruiting an expert for his staff. The task of this expert is supposed to be the review of KWO documents and the preparation of their submission to the [Iranian] authority in charge of licenses. Mr. Sub-Division Head 22 promised respective support. Meanwhile the suitable institutions have received letters and were asked to name interested individuals (cf. Subfolder 12).


3. Cooperation AEOI/PTB[7]

On the 10th of March Dr. Etemad handed over a list of problems regarding the finalization of the agreement between AEOI and PTB pertaining to a collaboration already agreed in principle. He asked for support from the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology to help clear up reservations against the agreement apparently held by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs. In this regard we have succeeded by intervening with the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs. In the meantime, the PTB has announced in a telex from 31 March 1978 its readiness to sign the agreement. (Subfolder 18)


4. The New Organization of Iranian Nuclear Research and the

German-Iranian Cooperation

In the context of deliberations to continue the cooperation with Iran and the dissolution of the CRAR, Professor Laue has written a confidential report about the situation in Iran (Subfolder 13). Here the recent developments regarding CRAR are again addressed and the current organization of AEOI is outlined. Professor Laue is reporting about a weakening of the position of Dr. Etemad and increasing criticism of the nuclear energy program. He [Laue] is referring to problems with the ongoing training program and does view future options for a cooperation in nuclear research with reservation. He is recommending to focus on application-oriented projects and to seek here the contact with the Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTEC). Remarkable in this report is also the included criticism of the work of the Embassy.

As a concept for a new beginning in cooperation with Iran, Professor Laue has written a paper titled “Tasks and Working Areas of a Technologically Oriented Nuclear Research Center/Technology Center in Iran (Subfolder 14). This concept with its comprehensive objectives and detailed lists of working areas is still in need of an exact review. At the current status of deliberations it is not yet ready for sharing with Dr. Etemad.

Furthermore, a coordination is needed with the Interatom[8] company, which is attempting to support the KWU with training and consulting services. A partner of Interatom is again ENTEC, with which now the KFK[9] wants to establish connections. Interatom and AEOI have negotiated a Technical Assistance Agreement running for 12 months that is supposed to be signed still in April (Subfolder 15).

The main elements of this agreement are as follows:

- Training and Consulting for Construction and Production

- Support for Building a Manufacturing Workshop

- Consulting on Main Working Areas and Equipment of ENTEC

- Computer Program for Reactor Design

These plans and the  KFK activities were also subject of a coordination meeting between KWU, KFK, and the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology on 23 March 1978 (Protocol in Subfolder 15). With his draft from 31 March 1978 (cf. Subfolder 17), Professor Köhler has submitted a proposal for the future cooperation with Iran and the coordination between the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology, KFK, and Interatom. Professor Laue does agree with the content of this paper. Further concretization does not appear to be necessary.


5. Funding Negotiations Regarding Iran 5 to 8

The KWU (Mr. Nolte) is reporting that, after the visit by Minister Yeganeh in Bonn, the Iranian side so far does not show any willingness to continue the funding negotiations with the KWU concerning Iran 5 to 8. Apparently the Iranian hopes for support by the Federal Government have been disappointed. The KWU is asking Mr. State Secretary [Haunschild] to address this issue at the sidelines of his talks with Dr. Etemad.

The assumption of the KWU is corroborated by statements from Dr. Sotoodehnia in the above mentioned meeting on 16 March 1978. There Sotoodehnia showed himself disappointed that the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs did not show any willingness to enter into oil barter deals or alleviate those through allowing a share in VEBA.[10] In his words, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs is viewing its options exhausted with the Hermes Cover.[11] The further handling of funding is said to be a matter for the contract partners.

A report from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs about the visit by Minister Yeganeh[12] has been requested and will be handed in later, if possible.


[Signed Freytag]

Dr. Freytag


[1] Hans-Hilger Haunschild (1928-2012), State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology from 1972 to 1987.

[2]Akbar Etemad (born 1930). President of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran 1974 to 1979.

[3] Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

[4] German Kraftwerk Union (KWU). Subsidiary of Siemens and AEG Corporations for nuclear power plant construction.

[5]Gesellschaft für Reaktorsicherheit” (Society for Reactor Safety), a German scientific research group.

[6] British engineering and environmental consulting firm.

[7]Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt” (Physical-Technological Federal Institute) is the national metrology institute of the Federal Republic of Germany.

[8] German reactor construction company, in 1978 owned by Siemens via KWU.

[9] “Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe” (Nuclear Research Center Karlsruhe).

[10]Vereinigte Elektrizitäts- und Bergwerks- Aktiengesellschaft” (United Electricity and Mining Corporation), a German state-owned energy company.

[11] A Hermes Cover (Hermes-Bürgschaft” in German) is an export credit guarantee by the German Federal Government. It protects German companies in the event of non-payment by foreign debtors.

[12] Mohammed Yeganeh (1923-1995), Minister of Finance of Iran 1977/1978, emigrated to the United States in November 1978.

Documents summarizes a meeting between Haunschild and Etemad on an upcoming visit to Tehran. It also includes information on talks held in March 1978 with Ahmad Sotoodehnia of the Atomic Energy Organization of lran.


Document Information


Bundesarchiv, B 196/77355. Contributed by Stephan Kieninger and translated by Bernd Schaefer.


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