ARGENTINA'S NUCLEAR POLICIES UNDER ALFONSIN

Created: 7/31/1984

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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THIS ESTIMATE IS ISSUED BY THE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE.

THE NATIONAL FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE BOARD CONCURS.

The following intelligence organixo'iont participated in the preparation ol the Estimate;

The CimfrotefemeAgency, the Noltonol Security Agency, and the intettger-te araaniioHom el thel State ond Energy

Afco Participating:

Ihe Anfctont ChJel at Staf) (or Intelligerxe,ol the Areiycte> ol NnW Intelgence. DepaMrnent ol the Navy The AhJUottI Chief of Stofl,epo/'men" ol the Air Force

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CONTENTS

SCOPE NOTE.

KEY JUDGMENTS.

Uranium Enrichment

Technical Assessment

Produclion Capability

Alfonsin's Nuclear Policies

Safeguards on Enrichment

Civilian Control

Sensitive Research Continues

The Nudear Debate

Nuclear Reorganization

The Nuclear Budget

Likely Approach to Safeguards and

Nonproliferation Issues

Importance of Nuclear Exports

Regional

Implications for the United States

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STeaU.

SCOPE NOTE

The purpose of this Estimate is twofold: to assess Argentina's claimranium enrichment capability and the Implications ofapability, and to examine the scope and likely impact on Argentina's nuclear program of President Alfomln's publicly proclaimed policy objectives. This Estimate complements. Argentina'*-Policies In Light of ihe Falklands Defeat,hich reviewed Argentine tech.iical capabilities and presented various scenarios for the production of plutonium ineriod. The scope of this Estimate Insofar as it pertains to technical capabilities continues to. Political projections, however, should be regarded as more tentative and do not extend beyond one year. I-

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KEY JUDGMENTS

'President Alfonsin has initiated steps lo place Argentina's nuclear ft. .hinder civilian control and to limit militarylhin Argentina's Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEAI Tlic Argentineafter more tlian seven months in office, however, has yet tolear nuclear policy or to take many specific steps lo alter Ihr scope or direction of the national nuclear program. Wc believe, on the tasis of available evidence, lhat Argentina does notrogram to develop ih test nueleai explosives. We also believe that Alfonsin is likely to prevent tbe formal initiation ofrogram during his tenure.

We believe Argentine statements to t'S officials, however, tliat work will continue on technologies needed to close tin- nuclear fuel cycle; Argentina will have the capability to separate pliitonium from safesrnarded fuel when lis nuclear reprocessing plant Is completed67 Furthermore, the mililary is likely to continue ils involvement in some of the mml sensitive nuclearncluding uranium enrichment and reprocessing.

Proposed cuts in tl* nuclearas much asinevitable, due largely lo the government's currentdifficulties, and are likely to slow completion of somepensive, safe-

guarded facilities are the ones most likely lo be allccfrd. [

We doubt lhat any restrictions Alfonsin might place on the CNEA would undermine Argentina's long-term efforts to achieve its goal ofull range of nuclear-fuel-cycle facilities, with no externally imposed reslricfions on what it considers to be Argentine technology. The persistent progress of the program for more lhanears supports this judgment. Moreover, Alfonsin supports these overallwl his maneuvering room on nuclearon other issues thai have broad nationalisticcircumscribed by his tenuous political base, the fragility of Argentine democratic institutions, and tlte pressing nature of other crises confronting his administration. Our assessment Is that Alfonsin will avoid making substantia! changes in nuclear policy because of the political controversyove would hiiiilc. Mis personal popularity will be severely tested on other, man- pressing issues.

We believe that Argentina has successfully teMed uraniumtechnology as It claims. It Is unlikely, however, thai llie uranium

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Sreati^

enrichment facility mi" wider txmst ruction Mill Ik- completei by ll announced target (lair ol r thai it will produce si uantities of enriched uranium before lliet tbe earliest.

e Mleve tlial construction of this fact ity will continue. Sincenstallation of lhc new government, seniorU have publicly indicated that uranium enrichment will continue to be funded and have been nnncorimiital lo foreign reqiiosls lhat it Ik' placed under international safeguards. We believe that Alfonsin will not ojx-ii the new enrichment facility al Pilcaniyen to safeguards inspect Inns by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),

The announced objective of an annual production capability ofof uranium enriched toercent, if achieved, wouldthe option to produce weapons-grade material. Oncebecomes opcational. it could take as littleearalfyears to produce sufficient highly enriched uranium for aif Pilcaniyeu were tlie only source of enrichment, ami sixless ifpercent-ercenl-enrichcd uraniumfrom foreign sources. An important constraint on the limingdifficulty Buenos Aires is likely to encounter in seeking lospecialized equipment needed to complete its plant.

We believe that any effort by Alfonsin to accede to international nonproliferation pressures would be effectively blocked by domestic criticism that he would be sacrificing Argentina's nuclearDespite early encouraging signals on ratification of the Treaty of Tlatclolco. both Alfonsin and Foreign Minister Capulo are now reported as saying that Argentina will not ratify tlie treaty in Ihe near future. We believe tin- acceptance of comprehensive safeguards is also unlikely.Q

' Wc believe that differences with Washington over nuclear policy issues will continue to cause problems for bilateral relations. Even

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We believe lhat Argentina's development of its own uranium enrichment technology has strengthened the commitment toevelopment in Brazil, which hasgiin to accelerate its indigenous nuclear program. Since3 it has proceeded with constructionilot centrifuge uranium enrichment plant, increased funding for all indigenous research activities at the expense of the nuclear power program, and tightened security measures at its nuclear research centers. We believe these activities are evidenceew level of concern prompted by growing distrust of longer term Argentine intentions and capabilities to develop nuclear explosives.

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though llie Alfonsin administration would probably welcome anin bilateral relations, we deem it unlikely tliat Argentina will make tlie necessary concessions required for the resumption of nuclear cooperation with Washington, given US legal and policy requirements. The completion and operation of unsafeguarded fuel-cycle facilities would have additional negative impact on bilateral relations and could inhibit cooperationider range of issues. Furthermore. Buenos Aires's firm resistance to comprehensive safeguards and international treaties lhat serve nonproliferation objectives casts some doubt on Argentina's commitment to keep its nuclear assistance tonations within the accepted rules of nuclear commerce.

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Concr-UaMOioc'C-Uti-Uranxni

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DISCUSSION

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- return to civilian rule, thr otiUtoini brad of the National Atomic Energy Commiiuonetired Vice Admiral Carle* Castro Madero. claimed -hitimluw had developed thr capability to roricTi uiciuti nunc thr cavout diffusion mrthod This pubncImportant politicaliit irtnfuiird rulwnalnttc prick- tot tha highly successful nuclear drvelotiment ptccam by dcmorrtl rati rut an indigenous capability to enrich ura-rriuoi; by overcoming US cutoff of enriched uranium; by countering criticism by Pirtiucrrt-elect Alfonsin of nuclear policies; and by reminding ihr world lhatoving toward command ol Hi own nuclear lod cycle. Q

alUlnrnent ol Iti own uraniumcapability is fresh proof oful twr of nwclrax facilitiessafeguard* Thr Tiomimniing ofrapulnliiv rWnforret internationaliparked by ibr corntraction of awill not brew motr k" Argentina will be ablethr fissile material riecesaary forThe returno civilianPmiornt Haul Alftmtln, however. Issubject llir nuclrar program to more criticalby other aovrrnmrftt elements. Including tbe For-

Ministry andeatury. than al any time inrear rmtocy. Arfonatn'i opposition lo the develop-mrnt of nuclear weapons and has drsirr io corrsoJicble the power of the rlrv'ed. corotMottonal government has resultedunhrr of penonnel changes dr-sirxnrd to establish civilian control over the nuclear proKram. These and other recent develooinrnU raise Important qurstions about the nature and future dure-lion of Arienlina'i nuclrar pmaram.

ptBlimMnMaMl'irM forr.tofnpwids or to dtwrl and reprocessIeprntewlea pW wol haw Ihe capacityrmah pl.isoeiiies lor -roonre me Firdbcuelonmhrrtnl nnahlbm to produce phj*onlum, treArtnfl-M'i nWimr refacin/ liie

Uranium Enrichment Technical Assessment

hhouttb ibe Argentines. base developed the technology to enrich uranium, we lack confirmation thai Ibeirulpmcnt Iu? functioned

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il ledilittt of IBV.ll wit] Li- aMe In produce k'liwam quantitiesriched uranium before ll*th allktt q

Production Copobtttj

6 Wf brbrvehr productionilograms prr yrar nl ur.mit.ni rorichrd tortrrWin jnn.ni nerd axed ol thewould tntntlk-aBtk imprmr thrir abilityproduce nmlrai raphwltrs. dmuld lhj| drrisMm hr made analihr in anlunt rnrichmml facditi trnsaim unsafecuarded All bound ihr tfalrd purpose of ibeo provide luel lor Amrntina't rrsrarch and power reactor" and riiwrt purwr have rrsma-lioni about (hr Hatedunlrd thai the pnssrvinn of an rnrK'hmrnt capability Kites Anrrntina credibilityupplier ofreaclor* lot ihe export marhrl. llie auinnaili talks economic viability (by" US standards) and liinnrrt tlie availability of alternativealrMiuidrd mrtched uranium from the Soviei lininn and China. | 1

hould ihr Anrrulinr* <lrci<lr- to produceenriched uraniumhr liinr rrqiiirrdmrnrrmrnl nf nprratioM In produce era <ui(li HELarlrar device could tanax Irom loo yean down lowwilbv drprndmc onbriber preen-tichrd uranium could be obtained in sufficient quanti-liri from outsklrcnrral rule, one uranium ennrhment trthnokwt hat brm mastered and wtnr ripcriencc hai breiioliticalhr cnnlinllirw factor in any nation *sto produce wnpmn nuhir enriched uranium.

Allonsln'i Nucleor Policies

I i Salrgvcndi on Enrichnwit

S officials have been inld by the Argentine Forrtan MinHter thai President Alfonsin Intends not io curlail thr enrichment program or place it under Internal tonal wfmiiardv Although Hearly surprised and apparentlyIrritated by whatconfrotHsd" mlh this mnVjr capability Mfcmin: his rlettton. bi' subsequenthaveimited In assmancrs dial thr pro-tfrjm will hr eud only for israrrful purpnsn q

brU-seuron.pen thr nrw rt.iichmrW facility at Pistawtrsi In ufnruank iospcc-Irio by thr Intrrnallond AWnk Ormy Axmct UAEA1 Tbe acteptai'se nf international ulnrardt al thisAiaatilinrclrarly rrurdikji hcrak with what haili<mil policy of opoosiilt all li"rn.In imuw rnlrlclitMn. .own nuclear (aellitin aiwl InlinnlnKy. Alluiain hat been noncummillal in hh rrtpomn tn nu.Tuinni by both Ihe tAKA anil iWlale. lliat Ihr pruKrain be |

publk riaternrnt* reurdiiwhave lircti ii'iiie aenrral in K'ope,belirvr hr Mill probably leavr thr uVfemernarani tn nuclearhave alreadyAKA uFrauanhwould corppromtw important livlutical wreli,that haiirrn advancid liy Soulhandmpran riaiMrirt to protectveruemof uranium mrirhnimt trchrmlmyabo araur lhat -

None ol ihe *orld'i aaimui diff udun rnrirhmrnt plants arr no* tubtrcl lo International in*urctran.

IAEA Mfrguard) (it uranium rnrichmrnta lawou* diffinion ptneru atr Mill in llie developmental stow. [

Civilian Control

hr rrtinaiicr In plaelio enrlcbitirnl Fj.iii'irt under IntrrnaTlnnal tafrsuariK or lirllrve lhat Prrddrnt Alfnminlike lo Impnsr Iwhlrr national controls over ArteMim'? nudrar pxviam and prrvmt ihr drvrlopmenl of nudrar *ri|ian rXirlna bit campaian. he frequrnlly rrnounrrdShortly brlnrc hi? inauauralkxi in. hepreial thrrc- mrmhrr comiiin ltra<bd by FnrptKn MinMer Danle (larnilo In draft lealalation drvlBiird Inlte CNKA and remove ll from military cimtrnlv* AccnrdliHi In Amrii'

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In" in MinHliy iJI-iil xxl4 Anii-lilHu'i mi-l

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line nHicials. this commission will ilirxMrt til draft proposals to Congress inaputo has told VS Embassy officials tint he plans lo be lbc only spokesman for nuclear policy and that ihr Argentine Conirrrss will exercise special oversight lumlkms.neither has vet beenlo be ihe

he appointment nl civilian Alberto Cortstan-tini as President ofo indication ofesire to reduce military influence within the nuclear program Comtantini. boss-ever, has come to favor continuation of the national program along much thr same lines aa his prHecenor. retired Vice Admiral Castro Madero. Nevertheless, becauselose friend of Alfonsin, his appointment dees provide Ihr President salih atotential means lo control CNEA Castro Madero has continued to exerton nuclear policies through aggressive lobbying activities and as an honorary adviser to CNEA. He reportedly now intends toigh-level position with the International Atomic Energy Agency In Vienna | |

ecause of these developments we do nottlse initiationormal program to developnuclear explosives. We believe that AlfonsinIn his intent to prevent the developmentof nuclear explosives, and that he wouldweapons-relaled work should he discover it.appointed men of high caliber to designof civilian control Formulation andof these policies, however, couldbecause of the sheer sire and comple sitynuclear establishment and Its strong -j. I:

Sensitive Research Continues

II. Wr consider il unlikelyuclrar weapons program per tc could remain hidden from Alloroln, but some sensitive research cwild be shielded from scnitlny. Foreign proruretnetrt efforts continue at aTinn the search for re processing assistance and unufrgiiartleil supplies ol heavy water and uranium hetaf luoriile miclear field lo male future achievements llkeljachievements thai would enhance the prestige of Argentine

spite (he current budget battle, ibe spent-fueland uranium-enrichment programs will receive sufficient fund' to continue. Tlsr spent-fuel reptneess-Ing plant is now scheduled for startup in

lfonsin and his advisers may not be fully aware of the scope of CNEA's activities, or of the precise nature of ils relationship wilh ancillary oiganl-ralions such as Techint and INVAP, which have major nuclear engineering responsibilities for lbcof reprocessing andtecli-noloRv. respectively. Furlbermore. some sensitive us-pects of the nuclear program apparently remain inner the control of the mililary. such as tbe uranium-enrichment facility al Pilcaniycu Since these organ!-tatEons In particular have not been singled out for criticism, it is possible lhal some research andactivities now assigned to CNEA could be shifted to these semiautonomous enlilles and thai their role In nuclrar development will expand.

tire involvementIn nuclear andIs continuing to grow. Moreover, iheyauthority to Import nuclearmaterials.

Tha Nuclear Debate

he electionivilian government and the uranium enrichment announcement have engendered an urrr^ecedented ongoing public ddiale over thr overall direction of tlte nuclearew politicians and newspaper* have criticijred the nuclear program, arguing that CNEA has received ashare of budgetary resources for years, thereby contributing to Arpcnllna's economicIn addition, secrecy surrounding nucleargenerally, and uranium enrichmentull v. reinforced domestic and international concerns almui Argentina's nuclear capabilities und goals Therearge body of domestic opinion, however, culling

4 press interview, theForeign Minister gas* new emphasis lo tltenf maintaining the nuclear programigh tecbrvological lesrl Argentina has alreadyufficiently high level of technical capability In the

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BCCM military (tillian/luitt hint Inclral acs-srnpl shnicnrt and mtirprtxWtxrourcealtonl prklrarlylewr advocates nuoV puhbc appeals lo present AHoralalx- nudrar budget, sfiblline CNEA, and aceediiloagrccmrnti. Thev demanded thr Rovrrnment guarantee tliat Ihe nuclear plan continue, rrmain Irak-pendent, andnecessary funding.eparate lorinal dedaia-tlon, severalst congressmen mmed thatcould hrromf the first Argentine Indent lo abdicate nurlraresponse to eiternal pressures |

iiiii rrportedlv hai not Incused on tlie nuclear issue, nor liai he made any fundamental deciiiom regarding il. So lar. proposed reforms have been minded to leorganiratsnri. mne protectedand statemcnls against nudrar sseap-om Alfcsstn has probably deeded lo cotsserrecapital lor more immediate issues, tudi as the foreign drlg and labor reform, j

Nix War ReorQoniialion

llnnsin has taken seme Initial steps tocontrol over the nudrar program Forhr has removed it from the Navy'sdirected the Treasury lo oversee ibe

military

who haveand are currently performing technicalwho are employees of long standing arefrom CNEA This actionv the new governmentritical stepcivilian control over the Pssdrarkey civilian

personnel -ill be retained, although Jhere is likely In be some redndlllng of pmlttnns Moreover, the Intent of Irgislallie proposals recently drafted by the Caputo commission reportedly Is to assure civilian control over Ibe nuclear program. The specific recommendations are la

egal reqmremrnt lhal Argrtrtina'sactlsltin be directed only loward peaceful uses

road ofppointed by Ihe President, lo oversee the KitriM nf the nuclear agrnde*.

Trawler nudrar regulatory fund ions (Indudbsg plant licensing and safety Imprctioojil from CNEA toa arsdv crealeil regulatory commission

that willir.vlnrs. T

ublx gatrmrnli inadr bdiar AH.gsvMi*trial thr energy jimtinn ofrlisilinrassiamd In the secretary g| energy Off tint thr nuclear pmver prngiam would In- slgiiillcimlly dnwngradid inniter have vi ln-eii sulmlaiilUl-edlllll it unlikely thatajor breakup of tbe CNEA .illoreover, the splintering tit of poweriag* res!nurturing of Ihe entire nuclear program thai would imxAe slrongow nuclrar advocates.]^

The Nuclear Budoat

resloVnl Allnnsin clearly iniendt lo bring ihr budgets of various agencies.e CNEA. under more critkal and cenlraliredould enable him lo improve thend oversight ofhe confused economic and financial situation vvlndi llie new government Inherited, it has so far been unable In formulate19HI iKisUtet.HM cuts in the nuclear program an- inevitable, given Argenlliui's current severe financial difficullirs and Allunsui's lo inrrrasrd eiprndriufr on mcial and

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n assessing the scope of Alfonsiu'i plans for nuclear reform. ssehat he is particularly sensitive and vulnerable In criticism thai he is will! nr. tn sacrifice ibe autonomy of Argentina'i nurlrarto Improve rrlalmns with the Cuius! Stain aid possibly other mrrnlirra of tin- lynrinri ill let alarmAlfnnidnragmatic prdilician whohat hr must maintain hit current popularity if lie Is In hr an effective Prrsldenl. He already riskt llie loss uf tome nationalistic -nuporl in his dfnrti In resolve the Channelpulr with Chile ami to itsions over thr FallUnds We WiW thai the main problem he faces in dealing with ihe CNEA. and them*.Ucmrnt in the nuclear tiro-gram, ll compounded by thr fart tliat tint lent dosrlrni-menl it nne nf the few iirrnt In which Argeiitirn bus had derisonstrnble Kiecesses in recenlthat prevjiHB giisrinmerils turned Intn patriotic Ui-

Out awpMivnl lhal Alfnrisin will lag makr substa.gial changes in Argentineliclrs IS

based nn lib hit need lo rsprtid hit pclilical capital and his personal popularity on Mhrr. moor pressing, political battles. Faced with divisive parliian poll Oct, and staggrrinc ecsmomicand social problems. Alfonsin srrms unconvinced of the need to enter the fight to substantially alter the scope and direction of the nuclear program. Conseqornliy. hit plant for nuclear reform al thit Juncture should he considered as largely unformulated ami fragile.

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Lihefy Approoch to Safeo, words and

Nonprolifwation Issuos

e do not eipeet maior changes In Argentine positions on International safeguardsillingness to adhere lo the nuclear nonprnll feral Ion regime.*refection of iheroliferation(NPT) hat been maintained, and. despiteearly signals on ihe Treaty ol Tlaleiolco, Alfonsin has now said that there will be no ratification In Ihe near future. Indeed, senior Energy and Foreignofficials arr giving new emphasis lo longslandlng Argentine obiecliont thai the Treaty discriminates against non-nuclear-weapon statesneffective it present. I

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nns for Argentine adherence to Tlatcloico:

A safeguards agreement with ihe IAEA that preserves the option to develop peaceful nuclear explosives.

Concrete assonances by the United Kingdom lhat It -ill observe Its obligation! under Protocol II ofis. not permit lis nuclearIncluding nuclear-powered ships, lo enter the territorial waters of Latin America

Joint efforts by Bra til. Argentina, and Chile to bring the treaiy Into effect simultaneously.

e believe that Argentina's frequentlyresistance to all eilemal attempts to Influence its nuclear ambitions will continue to constrain US and other International efforts to bring It Into conformance wilh mator ronprollferatlon objectives such asof comprehensive safeguards or adherence lo the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Alfonsin"shas already Joined internationalrecent four-continent "peace initiative" under Indian leader sitn condemn the United Slate* ami ihe L'SSit for the breakdown In arms control talks uml tn bring pressure nn all nuclear- nranon states lo make progress toward disarmament as stipulated in Article VI of tbe NPT. | |

believe thai AKonsin's proposalegional South American safeguardssystem was designed in part tnpiritnuclear conpriation. We fuillier Mioscwas Intended toemonstralUm ofto keep its nuclear program withinThe Biatilians reportedly rejectedppears to have gone no further.

Importance of Nucleor Exports

problems throughout South Americato Impede major transfers of nuclearal least several years, hut Argentina continuesnuclear cooperation agreements wilh

nuclear assistance to Peru was halted temporarilyof funds. In contrast, however, nuclearIn nonsensitive areas appears tn heBrazil, and Argentina recently rrachcsl awith Chile.

consider it likely that Alfmtsln'smilitary applications of nuclear developmentdesire to improve bilateral nuclear relationsUnited States will have tome influence nnnuclear cooperation relations with otherproliferation concern. |

| At the same lime, however. Argrntlnq will continue to be courted as an attractive nuclear partner by other Third World countries, such as Pakistan. Turkey, and Algeria, because of Ils advances intechnology. T

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expansion of Argentina's nuclear raixnlt into such

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aieis of hx-hiiwk-qcvraise new eipurt control ilucstions re ihe nojiproliferalicn regime ar-tuci-cycle technology,eavy-water plant without international commit men is |

Rcg.onal Implication*

r believe llut Argentina's dc-rck-omcnt ol it) own uranium mi;chnvent leeht-olcervenal hrnrd Ihe cvmmitn-rnl tu rstarsrarIn Braril ind possirj, Clsslr. While public- erectionSooth Amrri-ca to Argentina's inrmiwrmml of in pilot enrlcb-rnrnt capabilityn passive ind moslli favorable. Brarilian officials privately arr concerned 1

Thrtr hivr aliopublic claimt byanking mll'lary ol fleers ol the existence nl annuclear program that could provide Ittaxll with Ihr capability to produce nuclear weapons by the end of ihrecision be made lo do so Weew aclivitieiew level of concern prompted by crowing distrust of lorsgrr termintctstiont and capahdrties to develop nucVar explosives'

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hile, whichimited nuclearau cement with Argrntinj in Sep!ember, did not publicly teed adversely to Buenos Aires'* anrsounce-mrnt '

ftial

Haco want! tn revitalize its nuclear research program and Ii Interested primarily in the acquisition of nucle-

side from llraral and Chile,mcountries are likely to conlinue viewpal "lilies positively. Peru has beena nuclear cooperalion aareeiuenl withihe Peruvians may. when It become*enriched uranium from lli-enm Aimreseaieh react on instead of from thecurrent

Impeco'ions for the United States

believe that, in general, the Alfonsinwould welcome an improvement in Inrelatlnnt wiih the United Stales.In demilitarize the CNEA and his nppnsitfcninuclear weapons program clearly serve USI i roll let at km inter rats. Q

drem il unlikely, however, tltulmake Ihe necessary coocewiom required forof nuclear cooper at>oo withUS legal and policy requirements Theunsafeguardeal uranium enrichmeig la*eprncessinB plant In Aigrutina. Ughinvolved foreign procurement aitivilies.InternalIonal suspicions concerningnuclear intentions. The completionof unsaieguardrd furl cycle facilitiesa nrgallve impacl on bilateral relations andcooperationider range of issues.the outcome. Argentine resistancr in USrsmproldrrationot likely lo abate Ininterview in, Foreigncrilicirrd ihr United Stales for makingwithout offrring anything in return Wh.lrthat fluenos Aires might be responsive lofrom Washington that would permit throf Ulateral problems, hr alsn cmphati'edcannot accept US pressure in ratifynf Tlatelnlcn or to place Ils enllrefacilities under IAEA safeguards.'

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