|Iraqi Nuclear Abstracts: 1992|
IRAQ'S BOMB: BLUEPRINTS AND ARTIFACTS
BULLETIN OF ATOMIC SCIENTISTS, 1-2/92, PP. 30-40 BY D.
ALBRIGHT & M. HIBBS
Project Comment: The article provides a detailed description of the
Iraqi nuclear weapons program, as disclosed
in documents seized by IAEA inspectors from the program's headquarters
in Baghdad. The papers contained information on not only the progress of
the weapons-development effort, but the foreign firms that participated
in the effort through transfers of technology and equipment.
..... On 9/22/91, IAEA inspectors found Iraq's nuclear weapons program archives in Baghdad. Less than a week earlier, Iraq's ambassador to the IAEA, Rahim al-Kital, told the IAEA conference in Vienna that Iraq had no nuclear weapons program. However, the documents found in the archives showed that Iraq had invested heavily in a nuclear weapons program since 1988 or 1989.
By 6/90, Iraqi scientists had begun conducting experiments on implosion- type nuclear bombs with highly-enriched uranium cores surrounded by shaped charges. Iraq had problems in developing or acquiring the electronic equipment needed for a nuclear weapon. Western experts believe that Iraq would have needed one to two years of additional work even if the Gulf War had not occurred. In addition, Iraq would have needed two to three years minimum to produce the highly-enriched uranium needed for a nuclear weapon. The papers were found in the headquarters of Iraq's nuclear weapons program, called "Petrochemical Three" (PC-3). PC-3 was under the control of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, and also had links to the Ministries of Defense, and of Industry and Military Industrialization. Jaffar Dhia Jaffar has been portrayed in official accounts as the technical and administrative director of the weapons program, but IAEA officials say that he may have been in charge of the calutron program only, and a person as yet unknown may have been in charge of the whole program. Iraq has attempted to hide the names of top weapons officials from IAEA inspectors. According to David Kay, an IAEA inspection team leader, Iraqi political leaders became interested in nuclear weapons development after a 1988 or 1989 decision was made to "pour money" into the program.
On 5/7/90, the minister of Industry and Military Industrialization opened the site called al Atheer, which was to be the Iraqi equivalent to Los Alamos. Iraq had a nuclear research center at Tuwaitha subject to IAEA safeguards, but began transferring people and equipment to al Atheer in early 1990. Little has been released concerning the nuclear program at al Atheer , especially where foreign companies are concerned. However, the IAEA has released one report of two which covers progress made from 1/1/90 to 5/31/90. Iraq's main effort was directed at building an implosion-type device. The design was crude, and would have needed extensive refinement in order to become practical by the end of 1992. Theodore Taylor, a US weapons expert, has said that future achievements would have been greater than those of the past. Rolf Ekeus, head of the UN Special Commission in charge of destroying Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, said that Iraq had blueprints and knowledge, but lagged in engineering, due in part to the difficulty in acquiring much of the necessary equipment from abroad. In several cases, Iraq had been forced to build the equipment itself. Carson Mark, former head of the theoretical division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said that Iraq's design resembled the one the US worked on after 1945. Theoretical work in Iraq's program was under the direction of Khalid Ibrahim Sa'id. Iraq had not selected a design with a set amount of HEU, high explosives and tamper. The progress report for the second half of 1989--which the IAEA has not released-- offers specific information about the weapon design. The device was to have a solid core of 18 kg weapons- grade uranium, a reflector of natural uranium metal, and a tamper of hardened iron. There is evidence that Iraq was investigating the possibility of using the principle of levitation in its design. This would have involved leaving an empty space beneath the high explosives, which would have increased the power of the implosion, and the resulting explosion. Mark said that Iraqi scientists had not progressed sufficiently to deride whether they would use the principle in their design. Iraq had conducted experiments in high explosives with shaped charges, and had a possible test site at al-Hadre. Iraq possessed high-speed cameras to conduct the tests and had made some effort to build a 600 kv flash X-ray machine. Iraq had imported hundreds of tons of HMX, a conventional explosive that is preferred in nuclear weapons, but is also used in aerial bombs. At al Atheer , Iraq installed hot and cold isostatic presses capable of forming shaped charges. Iraq was also developing beryllium-polonium neutron initiators and had tested some using high-explosive lenses. Iraq worked on external neutron initiators as well, using tritium and deuterium initiators, but with little success. Iraq was unable to acquire from foreign countries the electronic equipment it needed to set off the nuclear weapons, so it worked at developing the equipment indigenously. Among the items under development were detonators, high-speed electronic switched and capacitors. This indigenously-produced equipment seemed insufficient to produce the desired results. Iraq obtained 150 lower-grade capacitors from Maxwell Electronics in California in 1989, which it later upgraded. William Higinbotham, who headed the electronics group on the Manhattan Project, said that the type of high-speed switches Iraq was developing--they employed a spark gap--were not the best design for use in nuclear weapons. Experts believe that Iraq would have eventually overcome these difficulties. A Soviet-supplied IRT-5000 research reactor was under IAEA safeguards, but was important for the weapons program because it produced polonium-210 by irradiating bismuth, and also produced a small amount of plutonium-238. An IAEA inspector said that Iraq had the ability to make uranium metal 18-24 months before invading Kuwait, and Iraqi officials admitted that almost 1,000 kg of uranium metal was produced at Tuwaitha, though Iraq may not have been able to make weapons components out of HEU. Jaffar denied that Iraq was working on a gun-type nuclear device; however, Iraq was developing a model for aa neutron initiator that was better suited to a gun-type bomb than an implosion weapon. In addition, Iraq was developing the capability to produce tungsten carbide which is a good reflector/tamper in gun-type weapons, at al-Atheer. Iraq was able to produce small amounts of lithium-6, and may have been interested in developing a design for a thermonuclear device. Iraq's primary program for producing HEU involved the calutron. Only a small amount of HEU had been produced with this technology.
Iraq tested eight "alpha" calutrons for producing LEU at Tarmiya between 2/90 and 9/90, but only an R & D site was located there when it was bombed in 1/91. The LEU from 70 alpha machines was to be enriched to HEU in 20 "beta" machines. A backup facility was planned for Sharqat, but no calutrons were installed there. The Iraqis had made stainless steel liners and collectors for the calutrons that could be replaced quickly, so that shut down time would be reduced. Production of weapons-grade uranium might have become as great as 20-27 kg/yr, assuming optimal performance. Experts doubt whether this was possible. The Iraqis cited major problems in producing uranium tetrafluoride feedstock and graphite for skilled personnel to operate the entire enrichment program. One IAEA official said that Iraq might have been able to produce material sufficient for a weapons in one year, but most disagreed. Iraq did have 1,800 kg of safeguarded LEU which it might have been able to divert, but this would have been enough for one or two bombs only. Iraq's centrifuge program had similar problems. Iraq depended heavily on foreign assistance for the program, but was unable to acquire all that it needed through foreign companies.
Between 6/88 and late 1990, only single-centrifuge tests had been conducted, and only minute amounts of uranium enriched. Two carbon-fiber rotors had been successfully tested in centrifuges and a test stand using uranium hexafluoride was able to enrich a small amount of uranium, though the rotor used broke down and was badly damaged. IAEA inspectors do not believe Iraq was able to produce carbon fiber rotors capable of enriching uranium. The carbon fiber rotors they found were believed to be based on the fourth centrifuge design by URENCO, the European enrichment consortium. The fibers were bought in Japan, and the rotors are believed to have been manufactured outside Iraq. The rotors are believed to be of an advanced design, since they possessed no corrosion-resistent aluminum lining. Three other designs by URENCO use maraging steel. Iraq was preparing to assemble aa centrifuge production facility using maraging steel, and had made components for these centrifuges: outer casings, molecular pumps, bottom bearings, and rotor tubes of maraging steel. However, the rotors were of insufficient quality to enrich uranium. Iraq also tried, unsuccessfully, to buy aluminum tubing for centrifuges from Switzerland and Germany. Iraqi nuclear experts are still at large, so long-term monitoring of its program is essential. Iraq was able to develop calutrons partly because they were not included in export control lists. The IAEA will require continued cooperation from the UN and foreign governments' intelligence agencies in order to ensure success in monitoring Iraq. A year after the US began speculation on Iraq's bomb capabilities, David Kay and 43 other IAEA inspectors found the large cache of documents in Baghdad. Kay implied that Iraq could have had a nuclear weapons in two months, assuming a regular supply of enriched uranium. He later revised the estimate, upward to 12-18 months.
On 10/5/91, IAEA Director General Hans Blix hinted that Iraq might be working toward a thermonuclear weapon, despite the absence of any Lithium-6 in Iraq. This supported arguments for US programs for defense against future nuclear threats from the Middle East.
In 11/91, IAEA inspectors found traces
of 93 percent enriched uranium unconnected to Iraq's known materials or
calutron program. Different sources speculated that Pakistan or the PRC
might have provided Iraq with weapons-grade
uranium. Rolf Ekeus speculated that Iraq either had an unknown foreign
supplier or an unknown stockpile of the material. However, the samples
may have been contaminated in the laboratory. The IAEA has sent new samples
to three countries for a new analysis. IAEA officials and others have also
hinted that finds were exaggerated in order to preserve funding, and their
mandate to continue their anti-proliferation efforts. Although Iraq
has resisted giving details of its nuclear procurement program, some facts
have emerged. The IAEA has compiled comprehensive lists of imported technology
and equipment, and the firms involved. However, Western firms and governments
are pressuring the UN to suppress information concerning commercial activities
The IAEA gave lists to countries with jurisdiction over companies
implicated last fall, but some information was suppressed after the fifth
Iraq inspection, under pressure from the European consortium Urenco, whose
centrifuge technology was the backbone of the Iraqi centrifuge program.
A group of European firms will coordinate efforts against expected media
reports linking their commercial activities with Iraq's program.
firm Interatom GmbH refused to admit for a year that it had any connection
with Iraq's program,
but by 11/91, IAEA inspectors were sure Interatom
and a German construction firm, Strabag AG, had worked at a building at
al-Furat which had been planned as a 100-centrifuge cascade hall.
the French government secretly revealed to the IAEA that it had provided
Iraq with three metric tons of heavy water with the reactor it sent to
Osirak (which Israel bombed in 1981). The IAEA refused to reveal the source
of the heavy water, but other officials did so. On 12/11/91, the IAEA named
13 companies whose equipment had been found in Iraq.
However, much more
equipment--including unfinished calutrons from Germany--were sent to Iraq.
the French government secretly revealed to the IAEA that it had provided
Iraq with three metric tons of heavy water with the reactor it sent to
Osirak (which Israel bombed in 1981). The IAEA refused to reveal the source
of the heavy water, but other officials did so. On 12/11/91, the IAEA named
13 companies whose equipment had been found in Iraq.
However, much more
equipment--including unfinished calutrons from Germany--were sent to Iraq.
SADDAM HELPS ALGERIA MAKE ISLAMIC NUCLEAR BOMB
SUNDAY TIMES INSIGHT (LONDON), 1/8/92, PP. 1-2 BY DAVID
LEPPARD, NICK RUFFOR
Iraq successfully smuggled 10 tons
of natural uranium to Algeria via Jordan before UN inspection teams arrived
in 5/91. Iraq also sent scientists to Algeria to work on a reactor which
could provide material for nuclear weapons. Western officials fear a possible
Iraqi-Algerian security threat. Some experts believe the shipment may be
recognition of Algerian support of Iraq during the Gulf War. Experts believe
that Algeria will have enough plutonium to build a primitive bomb by 1995.
However, both the PRC and Algeria say the reactor being built by China
will not be used to produce plutonium for weapons. Leonard Spector, proliferation
expert for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that the
idea of a nuclear axis between Algeria and Iraq was "alarming." Algeria
already possesses large amounts of uranium dioxide which it imported from
Argentina. The additional Iraqi material has ensured that Algerian nuclear
production will continue into the next century. US officials believe that
Algeria's accelerated nuclear research stems from fear of Libyan nuclear
weapons development. Algeria is the only nuclear-capable Arab nation not
to have signed the NPT.
..... Related article: Algeria announced on 1/8/92
that it would sign the NPT, but set no date for taking that step. It is
not clear how recent Algerian political turmoil will affect plans to sign
the NPT. (Arms Control Today, 1-2/92, p. 51 "Iraqi-Algerian Nuclear Connection?")
IRAQI CENTRIFUGES INCOMPLETE ON EVE OF SERIAL PRODUCTION
NUCLEONICS WEEK, 1/23/92, PP. 10-11 BY MARK HIBBS
On 1/17/92, the IAEA announced that Iraq
"eventually" would have had a successful centrifuge enrichment program
but at the beginning of the Gulf War it was not ready to start "a sizable
production of centrifuges." A week earlier, US press reports had speculated
that Iraq had already mass produced centrifuges, based on a leak of a report
prepared by Robert Gallucci, assistant director of the UN Special Commission
for the elimination of Iraq's weapons, that summarized the results of the
ninth IAEA inspection of 1/12/92 to 1/15/92. Hans Blix, Director General
of the IAEA, wrote to Rolf Ekeus, head of the UN Special Commission, to
protest the premature release of information.
IAEA information suggests
that before mass-producing centrifuges at a large-scale facility with the
code-name of Al Furat, Iraq had to
choose a design to use for the top magnetic suspension bearing. One design
used aluminum nickel cobalt (AlNiCo) magnets; Iraq had imported about 125
AlNiCo ring magnets from the German firm Inwako GmbH. Two other designs
used cobalt samarium magnets, of which Iraq had gotten "a few tens" from
a British firm. The 125 AlNiCo magnets were made by British firms, and
the UK allowed the transaction to continue once they knew they would be
exported to Iraq, in order to monitor their use in Iraq. The IAEA is searching
for the origin of some bottom bearings that Iraq imported. Iraq had also
obtained photo-etching equipment for making spiral-grooved bearings, but
wasn't ready for mass production.
The bearings are similar to ones designed
by Urenco, but the pattern was a reverse of the Urenco design. Iraq said
it had produced a few bearings at the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center
with indigenous equipment destroyed in the war.
Germany gave the IAEA information
on 5 firms that are suspected of adding to Iraq's centrifuge development;
the firms' names will not be released.
One German firm supplied 240,000
dual-use ferritic magnets that are used in producing motor stators for
centrifuges, but these did not help Iraq
get closer to centrifuge production.
H&H Metalform GmbH, which produces
flow-forming machines, is suspected to have aided Iraq. Iraq reportedly
had a 50% share in the firm, although H&H has denied any Iraqi involvement.
H&H Metalform also is suspected to have gotten computer numerically
controlled (CNC) machines from the German firm Neue Magdeburger Werkzeugmachinenfabrik
GmbH to send to Iraq.
In late 1991 IAEA inspectors found the CNC machines
in Iraq; they were used with computer programs from another firm to produce
centrifuge parts such as end caps. Iraq could not have developed the programs
The IAEA had "no information" suggesting that the German firm Maschinenfabrik
Augsburg-Nuernberg AG (MAN) had supplied Iraq with carbon fiber rotors
or carbon fiber winding machines, yet the German officials say the rotor
design Iraq obtained has "MAN's fingerprints" all over it. MAN supplies
centrifuge rotors to Urenco. The IAEA is investigating the origin of 20
rotors Iraq said it received in the late 1980's, 10 of which they say broke.
The ninth IAEA inspection found three German winding machines but said
they could not be used with the Japanese carbon fiber that Iraq imported.
Experts believe that Iraq's composite rotors were produced outside Iraq.
IRAQ HAS A PLUTONIUM PLANT, UN SAYS
THE NEW YORK TIMES, 2/13/92, P. A6, BY PAUL LEWIS
On 2/12/92, Rolf Ekeus, head of the UN Special Commission on Iraq,
said, "We have reason to believe Iraq may have an undeclared plutonium
reactor." The 10th UN inspection team was searching for the secret reactor
based on intelligence mostly provided by France and is scheduled to leave
Iraq on 2/13/92. On 2/11/92, the team searched a prison in Mosul but found
nothing. The new intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein was trying
to build a nuclear weapon using a plutonium explosive. The IAEA inspections
have already shown that Iraq was trying to develop highly enriched uranium
explosives using centrifuge and electromagnetic enrichment processes. Since
Iraq had signed the NPT, the existence of an undeclared reactor would be
a violation of the treaty.
A US document released in 7/91 indicated that in 1986, the PRC ran a feasibility study for constructing a nuclear power plant in Iraq. Paul L. Leventhal of the Nuclear Control Institute said that there is no evidence that the reactor was built. UN officials said that the intelligence referred to a possible hidden reactor with power between 20 and 30 megawatts that could make around 20 pounds of plutonium per year. Iraq's Atomic Energy Commission has shown interest in reprocessing used fuel to get plutonium. Between visits by the IAEA, Iraq had secretly produced 3 grams of plutonium from fuel at a Soviet-made reactor that had been placed under safeguards.
..... Related Articles: IAEA head Hans Blix
was convinced that Iraq was involved in building a secret reactor in its
northern mountains. US intelligence showed that the PRC may have supplied
the plans and materials for the reactor, which could have been finished
in 1990. (The Independent, 2/13/92, by Leonard Doyle, "Iraq faces UN action
over 'secret reactor'"). ..... Other Western intelligence information show
that Iraq requested other countries besides the PRC to do a feasibility
study on building a reactor undetectable by satellite, but nothing shows
that such a reactor was ever built. (Nucleonics Week, 2/20/92, p. 11, by
Mark Hibbs, "Faulty Intelligence Led to Prison 'Reactor' in Iraq").
PAY LURES 50 SOVIET EXPERTS TO AID IRAQ'S NUCLEAR EFFORT
WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/2/92, PP. A1, A8
On 3/2/92, a German newspaper carried an interview with two Russian
nuclear scientists who were reportedly on their way through Berlin to assume
their new positions in Iraq's nuclear program. Yegor Belousov, a laser
specialist from Arzamas-16, and Viktor Bakunin, an expert in multiple nuclear
warheads from Dnepropetrovsk, claim that Iraq
has recruited more than 50 nuclear scientists from the FSU. The two scientists
further claim that Israel is also taking advantage of the fragmentation
of the Soviet Union to acquire nuclear specialists, noting that they met
colleagues en route to that country.
IRAQ'S SHOP-TILL-YOU-DROP NUCLEAR PROGRAM
THE BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS, 4/92, PP. 27-37
BY ALBRIGHT & HIBBS
Project Comment: This article presents a good overview of Iraq's nuclear
procurement effort, including a detailed section on the gas centrifuge
and its components. ***** Iraq's secret nuclear program "Petro Chemical
Three," carried out under the Atomic Energy Commission and linked to the
Defense Ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization,
pursued several different technical paths to the bomb simultaneously. The
procurement effort sought to evade export controls by subsidizing orders,
using middlemen, falsifying end-use and purchasing large amounts of available
equipment even though the Iraqis were
not ready to use the material. On 1/12/92, Maurizio Zifferero, head of
the 9th IAEA inspection team, requested a complete report on Iraq's procurement
The Iraqi report on its centrifuge program admitted importing materials
from the FRG and said that the material they had received, including 100
tons of maraging steel, has been destroyed or made unusable. The 9th IAEA
report stated that when the Persian Gulf War broke out, the Iraqis had
not yet decided on a centrifuge design and was not ready to manufacture
large numbers of centrifuges, but they knew what was needed to make key
components. Some exports headed for Iraq
were stopped before arrival,
In the second half of the 1980s, the US government approved $1.5 billion worth of dual-use exports to Iraq, including computers, electrical equipment and machine tools. The eighth IAEA report states that "The presence of application- specific fixtures removes most doubt as to intended use" of exports to Iraq. Many of the known exports for Iraq's centrifuge program come from firms in the FRG, where export laws and enforcement were fairly lax. In mid 1989 the German firm Interatom signed a contract with Iraq's Industrial Projects Company (IPC), believed to be a procurement operation for Iraq's centrifuge program. The contract called for the training of Iraq's technicians, construction of a workshop for "tube processing" and supply of equipment. German construction firm, Strabag AG, was contracted to build the facility. the first stage of the program was carried out in 1989 with the approval of the FRG's Federal Economics Office (BAW), but BAW cut off the second stage in mid 1990 after learning of IPC's link to the Iraqi centrifuge program, citing stricter export control law amendments that prohibited unintentional aid to other countries' nuclear weapons programs. IAEA inspectors found that the workshop, code-named B-01, was to be used for manufacturing cascade pipes and testing centrifuge at Al Furat. (sketches provided). In 1990 Iraq also sought know-how from Interatom on equipment for remaining enriched uranium gas from the cascade. FRG's Inwako GmbH, directed by Simon Heiner, arranged for the supply of 125 ring magnets from the UK firm Endshire Export Marketing to Iraq. The British government was aware of the export, but allowed it to proceed in order to learn more about the Iraqi centrifuge program. Between 1987 and 1989, H & H Metalform of the FRG supplied Iraq with several flow forming machines. The eighth IAEA report states that Iraq used an H & H machine to make a small quantity of maraging steel rotor tubes. In 2/92 Dietrich Hinze, technical director of H & H, was surprised at some of the IAEA's findings. H & H is thought to have supplied some of the mandrels that support maraging steel while it's being flow-formed, but H & H denies this. The supply of centrifuge-specific mandrels would not have violated German export laws. H & H also helped Iraq obtain CNC machine tools from the German firm Neue Magdeburger Werkzeug Machinen (GMLH). From 1987, the British firm Technology Development Group (TDG), co-directed by Iraq's Safa Al-Habobi, was involved in H & H transactions with Iraq and received a commission on all equipment H & H supplied to Iraq. A late 1990 German government report claimed H & H was "50 percent owned by parties in Iraq," which has been denied by H & H. The British believe that TDG and Al-Habobi, who is also in the management of Matrix-Churchill, was involved in the procurement of machine tools for Iraq's nuclear program in the late 1980s. Matrix- Churchill was involved in the acquisition od stock of the Swiss firm Schmiedemeccanica by Durand Properties, a financial company which soon became wholly owned by the Iraqis. Iraq's IPC ordered 1000 metal forgings for centrifuge endcaps and baffles from Schmiedemeccanica which were confiscated in 7/90 by customs officials in Frankfurt. It is thought that the forgings would have been used in CNC machines Iraq ordered from Schaublin AG of Switzerland, five of which were seized in 1990. Bruno Stemmler, who used to be employed by MAN-Technologies AG and Dornier GmbH, both partners in Urenco, was also linked to H & H's participation in Iraq's centrifuge work. In the late 1980s, Stemmler and Walter Busse, another former employee of MAN, visited Iraq with H & H management. Stemmler met with Iraqi centrifuge design engineers and helped them with a problem in the vacuum system of what he thought was a "centrifuge mechanical test stand". Iraq paid Stemmler through H & H for his work. Stemmler also gave the Iraqis information on his patented method of organizing maraging steel, and wanted H & H to sell his patents to Iraq. He was aware that Iraq would purchase an oxidation furnace. When Stemmler's activities were stopped by a German investigation in 1989, he had started designing a bottom bearing for Iraq without a contract, which he felt Iraq had requested as a test of his knowledge. The Ninth IAEA inspection report notes that Iraq's centrifuge design matches early West Europe designs but that modifications were made with which Iraq probably received outside help from unknown sources. The Iraqi design is similar to Urenco machines built at Almelo, Netherlands and Gonau, FRG in the 1970s and use principles found in Urenco's G1 with some features of G2 and G3. Neither Urenco nor the IAEA have found information to substantiate suspicions that Iraq acquired Urenco blueprints for individual centrifuges.
Iraq's calutron effort imported parts from several foundries, but Voest-Alpine AG of Austria is the only foundry that has been identified. The Iraqi State Electric Establishment first ordered pieces directly from the foundry, and a second order for 28 pieces was made through a German company. At Tarmiya, the main calutron site, the main contractor for the infrastructure may have been Yugoslavia's Federal Directorate of Supply and Procurement (FDSP). Another Yugoslavian firm, EMO, supplied electrical installation. According to an inspector, Siemens AG of the FRG supplied electrical distribution equipment.
Iraq's imported HMX high explosives were believed by western intelligence to have been supplied by Carlos Cardoen of Chile, but it is suspected that the explosive was made in Eastern Europe.
In 9/89 the Japanese Firm Hamamatsu KK exported two streak video cameras and related equipment to Iraq's Ministry of Industry and Minerals.
Switzerland's Asea Brown Boveri provided Iraq with a large cold isostatic press, and Arthur Pfeiffer Vakuum Tecknik GmbH of the FRG manufactured a vacuum induction furnace obtained by Iraq. Both items could have been used in Iraq's weaponization program. BCCI financed Iraq's commercial transactions and the Atlanta branch of the Italian Banco Nationale de Lavore (sic) (BNL) is being investigated for fraud and conspiracy related to the financing of Iraq's nuclear weapons procurement effort. BNL provided Iraq with close to $1.6 billion for investments in petroleum; the earnings were to be used for procurement under the management of the son and brother of Jaffar Dhia Jaffar, who is vice chairman of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission. Many of the items imported by Iraq for its nuclear program were ordinary dual-use items, but some were more specialized nuclear related items that Iraq could obtain due to lax export controls, especially in the FRG and Switzerland.
***** Related Article : This insert describes Iraq's progress in developing
centrifuge parts and its related procurement efforts.
Iraq was exploring
several designs for the top magnetic suspension bearing, one using aluminum-nickel
cobalt ring magnets supplied by Inwako GmbH of the FRG, who had them procured
by Endshire Export Marketing of the UK from another British firm that made
the magnets. Two other designs used cobalt-samarium magnets from an unknown
supplier. The magnets may have been made in Britain, according to an IAEA
inspector. Iraq had spiral-grooved bottom bearings similar to those of
a G2 centrifuge, but the pattern is not from Urenco. Iraq claims its photo-etching
equipment was destroyed by the bombing. A US official said Iraq acquired
a laser cutting system in 1987.
had obtained 84 tons of aluminum alloy tubes from a German firm that could
be used with a CNC machine from Neue Magdeburger Werkzeugmachinen Gmblt
to manufacture 6,000 molecular pumps. Iraq also imported 300 tons of thick
aluminum alloy tubes for outer casings from a German firm (310 tons were
ordered but not delivered due to the 1990 embargo) and aluminum forgings
for several thousand top and bottom flanges. Another CNC machine from
Magdeburger was for machining casings. Iraq used a design for an axial
hysteresis motor (stator).
Rhein-Bayern Fahrzeugbau GmbH acted as a middleman
for Iraq's purchase of 240,000 magnetizable ferrile spacers and 10,000
soft iron ring band cores for the stators. Between 1/90 and 5/90, the Iraqi
State Electrical Industries Establishment received the stator components
and, from the same firm, a die-casting machine for coil rings. The sub-components
were enough for 10,000 stators, and led to incorrect reports that Iraq
was ready to manufacture 10,000 centrifuges. Iraq
obtained inverters for its centrifuge cascade effort from Acomel SA of
Switzerland. Five high-frequency inverters were ordered in early 1989 by
the Iraqi Electromagnetic Equipment Establishment in Falluja and were delivered
in 5/89. Iraq obtained scoops of tubing to manufacture more. Iraq stated
that Balzer AG and VAT AG of Switzerland and Nupro of the US supplied it
with 7000 uranium hexa-fluoride-resistant bellows valves. Iraq's R &
D program used carbon fiber rotors but sought to produce maraging steel
Iraq claims it bought 100 tons of maraging steel in pre forms and
sheets, but it will not reveal the supplier. The steel is thought to have
originated in the FRG or the UK. Iraq estimated it could produce 5000 rotors,
endcaps and baffles from the material but that only half of them would
have been usable. No maraging steel rotors suitable for enrichment have
been discovered in Iraq. Iraq hoped to develop the capability to make its
own maraging steel but had not yet done so.
Iraq used at least one of the
flow-forming machines from H & H metalform to make maraging steel motors
and one of the Neue Magdeburger CNC machines had fixtures for cutting rotors
to a specified length.
Iraq had two oxidation furnaces; the larger one,
from Degussa AG of the FRG, had not been used. The oxidation process used
matched Bruno Stemmler's patent. Iraq
claimed it acquired 20 carbon fiber rotors from an undisclosed "dealer"
in Europe, but that eight of them were broken. IAEA inspectors have seen
the other twelve. Toray, a Japanese firm, is thought to be the manufacturer
of the carbon fibers but not to have been involved in making the rotors.
Toray's only customer for the fibers is Urenco. Several of the rotors had
windings that were different and did not match the European rotors. IAEA
inspectors found three winding machines at the Dhu Al Figar factory, but
they were not thought to be intended for making carbon fiber rotors. Iraq's
endcaps and baffles have similar details to those in the FRG. Iraq
supplied the manufacturer of its CNC machines with specific plans for its
endcaps, baffles and other components. Ten CNC machines had been delivered
and five others were seized by customs along with maraging steel forgings
Iraq had shipped from Schmeidemeccanica of the FRG to the machine manufacturer
for a demonstration of the machine's capabilities. Schaublin of Switzerland
is said to have made the machines. An IAEA official said Iraq had acquired
all the computer programs necessary to produce the components.
equipment for Iraq's centrifuge manufacturer includes: an electron beam
welder for attaching maraging steel endcaps to rotors from Leybold Heraeus
of the FRG, centrifuge balancing machines from the German firm Reutlinger
und Sohne, KG and metal inert gas welding equipment for aluminum parts.
(The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 4/92, pp. 32-34 by David Albright
and Mark Hibbs, "The Gas Centrifuge, Piece by Piece").
U.N. BLOWS UP MAIN BUILDING AT IRAQI NUCLEAR PLANT
COMPUSERVE EXECUTIVE NEWS SERVICE, 4/14/92 BY PETER SMERDON
UN Chief nuclear inspector Dimitri Perricos said that a casting and
metallurgy building at the al-Atheer nuclear complex in Iraq
was destroyed in accordance with UN resolutions. The key buildings at al-Atheer
were marked for destruction by IAEA to ensure that weapons of mass destruction
cannot be manufactured there. The IAEA said that the al-Atheer nuclear
site was designed to produce nuclear weapons and not for civilian purposes
as Iraq has claimed.
..... Related Article: Rolf Ekeus, the head of the
US Special Commission on Iraq, said the efforts to find and destroy Iraqi
weapons of mass destruction were effective. But he underlined the limitations
of the present safeguard system in preventing nuclear proliferation. He
said that only a rigorous system could be effective against proliferation
of nuclear weapons. (Executive News Service, 4/25/92, "U.N. Official Praises
Iraqi Weapons Destruction," original source: Reuters, 4/24/92.)
PART 1: HOW IRAQ REVERSE-ENGINEERED THE BOMB
IEEE SPECTRUM, 4/19/92, PP. 20-24, 63-65 BY GLENN ZORPETTE
According to David A. Kay, a former inspector with the IAEA, Iraq
was constructing a weapons-grade uranium enrichment facility at Tarmiya
prior to the Persian Gulf War. The uranium enrichment techniques at Tarmiya
involved an electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS). He estimated that
Iraq may have spent as much as $10 billion over the past decade and employed
12,000 people on the development of an atomic bomb. According to Kay, Iraq
was 12-18 months away from obtaining a crude nuclear device. Maurizio Zifferero,
the head of the IAEA "action team", said that it would have taken Iraq
24-40 months to develop such a device. The Iraqi
nuclear program started in the 1960s with the purchase of 2 MW Soviet light-water
research reactor. In the 1970s France sold Iraq a 50 MW research reactor,
Tammuz 1, and 0.5 MW reactor, Tammuz 2. During the 1980s, Iraq bought some
450 metric tons of yellowcake from Brazil, Portugal and Niger. Some 27
tons of yellowcake purchased from Brazil were not reported to the IAEA,
which was in violation of Iraq's NPT obligations. In addition, Iraq produced
some 164 metric tons of yellowcake domestically. The uranium processing
equipment is thought to have been built by the Swiss firm Alesa Aluswisse
Engineering AG. According to Zifferero, Iraq's nuclear activities and facilities
construction were kept secret to prevent their destruction, because of
the Israeli bombing of the Tammuz 1 reactor in 1981. In violation of the
NPT, Iraq managed to separate a small
amount of weapons-type plutonium from fuel roads irradiated in the Soviet
reactor. Some evidence suggests that Iraq may still have an underground
nuclear reactor capable of producing plutonium. Much of Iraq's enrichment
equipment came from European and US companies. After initial examination,
Iraq abandoned efforts to develop gaseous diffusion and laser separation
methods to enrich uranium and concentrated instead on EMIS, gas centrifuge,
and chemical separation methods. In the late 1970s both France and Japan
developed different chemical enrichment techniques. In the early 1980s,
Iraq entered into negotiations with
France to acquire its chemical enrichment process, but later it backed
out and started developing its own process based on information obtained
from the French. While Iraq's EMIS program used open sources for its development,
the centrifuge program was based mostly on parts, materials, and equipment
obtained clandestinely. Both methods were pursued at Al Tuwaitha nuclear
research complex, which was equipped with personal computers and an NEC
750 mainframe. John Googin, who took part in the Manhattan Project, later
positively identified some of the equipment from that complex as belonging
to the EMIS program. Dimitrius Perricos, deputy head of the IAEA action
team, labeled the EMIS program as a "Living dinosaur." Iraq's EMIS program
was directed by Jaffar Dhia Jaffar. According to Zifferero, Iraq
was able to enrich half a kilo of uranium to 4% u-235, but Kay argues that
some of the samples reached 20-30-% U-235. To produce uranium hexaflouride
needed for the centrifuge enrichment method, Iraq converted an aluminum
fluoride plant bought in the late 1970s. It is believed that the fluorination
equipment came from Alesa Alusuisse Engineering. Reports also indicate
that in the early 1980s,
Iraq bought centrifuges from Brazil, which had
earlier purchased them from Germany. In their efforts to develop the centrifuge
program, the Iraqis were assisted by the PRC.
Iraq had also obtained centrifuge
design information from Urenco.
In the late 1980s, Iraq hired German engineers
Bruno Stemmler and Walter Busse to trouble-shoot an experimental enrichment
cascade the Iraqis had set up at Tuwaitha.
According to Stemmler, equipment
at that facility included vacuum pumps from Veeco Instruments Inc. of the
US, and valves, furnaces and other parts from VAT of Lichtenstein and Leybold-Heräus
of the FRG.
The IAEA has also discovered carbon-fiber centrifuge motors
in Iraq imported illegally from the
FRG. In addition, some 100 metric tons of maraging steel, a key raw material
for the centrifuge program, were imported Iraq. In 3/91, Iraq attempted
to illegally import Krytons from CIS Technologies Inc. of the US. Several
years earlier, Iraq had imported weapons-quality capacitors from other
US concerns. IAEA investigators have also found about 230 metric tons of
high-energy explosive HMX in Iraq that may have been purchased from Czechoslovakia.
IRAQ PROVIDES NAMES OF 3 FIRMS THAT AIDED ITS A-ARMS PROGRAM
THE WASHINGTON POST, 5/19/92, P. A15 BY MICHAEL WISE
Iraq has revealed to the IAEA that
C. Plath of the FRG, Schaublin of Switzerland and Matrix Churchill of the
UK manufactured parts and tools for Iraq's centrifuge development program.
IAEA official Maurizio Zifferrero said that the three companies were involved
in Iraq's production of centrifuge prototypes.
In addition, the IAEA has
identified three more companies from the FRG, two from Switzerland, and
one from the US, whose products were used in Iraq's arms buildup. Robert
E. Agan, president of Hardinge Bros. Inc., the US firm listed on the IAEA
report, said that he does not know how the Super Precision Lathe his company
had manufactured found its way to Iraq.
Earlier the IAEA had identified
a dozen other firms, mostly German, whose products were used in Iraq's
nuclear program. One of the companies, Dupont de Nemours & Co. of the
US, supplied to Iraq a special lubricant used in centrifuge enrichment
German authorities have begun investigating possible violations of export control laws by several German firms. In 4/92, 27 supplier countries agreed to strengthen the rules for transfer of sophisticated dual-item technology. Thus far Iraq has refused to provide comprehensive data on the supplies of materials and technical advice for its nuclear program.
..... Related Article: UN inspectors are demanding that Iraq identify the
suppliers of 100 tons of maraging steel used in construction of centrifuges
and 20 carbon-fiber rotors used in the enrichment process. The UN inspectors
also believe that some foreign specialists from the nuclear industry provided
Iraq with the expertise for its nuclear weapons program. (Financial Times,
4/25/92 by Mark Nicholson, "Iraq Told to Name Nuclear Suppliers.")
IT'S ALL OVER AT AL ATHEER
THE BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS, 6/92, PP. 8-10
BY DAVID ALBRIGHT AND
The eleventh IAEA inspection in Iraq
in 4/92, led by Dimitri Perricos, destroyed most of the important buildings
at the Al Atheer nuclear complex and the adjacent Al Hateen high-explosive
test establishment. Among the items destroyed were a uranium metallurgy
facility, a high-explosives test firing bunker, one-third of a tungsten
carbide production building, and dual-use equipment such as special furnaces,
precise measuring equipment, metal coating equipment, machine tools and
isostatic presses. Other buildings were scheduled to be destroyed in 5/92.
Iraq's nuclear weapons program may have been slowed down due to the time
and resources used to produce its state-of-the-art laboratories. Iraq continued
to refuse to supply information on its procurement network, especially
that related to its centrifuge program. Western intelligence sources informed
the IAEA prior to the 4/92 inspection that Iraq may have imported 400 metric
tons of high-grade maraging steel, although Iraqis have claimed they received
only 100 metric tons. An unidentified middleman company allegedly helped
Iraq to purchase the steel. The IAEA sought a confirmation of the information
and the names of both the middleman and the producer of the steel. Inspectors
also sought information on the supplier of carbon fiber rotors. Iraq
used an epoxy on both its carbon fiber rotors and for embedding ferrite
spacers in the stator motors that matches epoxy used by Urenco for its
stator motors. Since Iraq claims it embedded the stators itself, inspectors
wonder if Iraq also produced the carbon fiber rotors. A 1987 report written
by an Iraqi engineer provides information on Iraq's calutron program, which
was behind schedule at the outback of the Persian Gulf War. The first 8
alpha calutrons were installed from 2/90 to 9/90, and preparation to install
17 more were stopped by the bombing. The report mentions a stock of 1,700
kg of enriched uranium that could be used as feed stock for the calutrons;
this corresponds closely to 1,763 kg of 2.6 percent enriched uranium Italy
supplied to Iraq in the 1980s. However, Iraq would have had to either secretly
divert this supply or renounce the NPT in order to use the Italian-supplied
uranium, which is under IAEA safeguards. The IAEA has no information suggesting
that Iraq obtained unsafeguarded enriched uranium.
IRAQ'S QUEST FOR THE NUCLEAR GRAIL: WHAT CAN WE LEARN?
ARMS CONTROL TODAY, 7-8/92, PP. 3-11 BY DAVID ALBRIGHT
AND MARK HIBBS
|PROJECT COMMENT: This article covers in detail Iraq's nuclear weapons
efforts, including its calutron, centrifuge and weaponization programs.
UN inspections and lessons for future nonproliferation efforts are also
addressed. ..... Since the Gulf War the IAEA has carried out 13 on-site
inspections in Iraq, searching for
nuclear weapons related facilities, destroying equipment and buildings,
and tagging dual-use equipment for inventory. IAEA officials believe the
key facilities and major efforts of the Iraqi program have been found,
although some questions, especially questions related to procurement, remain.
An Iraqi official told at least one IAEA inspector that Iraq is opposed
to revealing its procurement networks because it is using them again. The
summer of 1992 marks a transition from "search and destroy" inspections
to long-term monitoring. CIA Director Robert Gates has stated that Iraq's
nuclear program could be running again in two years if there was not international
surveillance. The IAEA is preparing a list of equipment and sites to be
monitored to verify that Iraq is not attempting to build nuclear weapons.
Iraq's effort to seek a plutonium bomb was halted by Israel's bombing of
Iraq's Osiraq reactor, but there have been suspicions that Iraq
was building a secret underground reactor for plutonium production. However,
no such reactor has been located by the IAEA. Iraq's calutron program was
the biggest surprise to the IAEA. The program, which may have began as
early as the late 1970s, was basically a duplication of the US calutron
program. US calutron specialist John Googin first identified the purpose
of Al-Tarmiyah from IAEA pictures. A 1987 report by an Iraqi engineer shows
Iraq considered diverting LEU from safeguarded stocks, since LEU feed can
greatly increase calutron productivity. Iraq's other enrichment technologies
may also have been intended to supply low-enriched feed for the calutrons.
Iraq was close to acquiring the capability
to produce centrifuges prior to the Gulf War but no final design had been
chosen due to design problems. Both Pakistan and Brazil took ten years
to develop pilot plants for their centrifuge programs. Several key questions
remain unanswered about Iraq's centrifuge program: the suppliers of maraging
steel, the origin of carbon-fiber rotors found in Iraq, and the supplier
of centrifuge design information. Until these questions are answered, the
IAEA cannot know if Iraq is still hiding parts of its centrifuge program
or if it plans to use its procurement networks again. Western intelligence
sources have stated that Iraq may have imported up to 400 metric tons of
maraging steel rather than the 100 tons declared by Iraq. The IAEA cannot
rule out the existence of a small test cascade of centrifuges until it
can verify the number of carbon fiber rotors in Iraq. Iraq has claimed
the rotors came from an overseas "dealer," but some information suggests
the rotors may have been made in Iraq. Iraq's centrifuge designs match
Urenco designs of machines built in the 1970s at Almelo in the Netherlands
and were shown by the Iraqis to a German
engineer in 1988 and 1989. An IAEA inspector has commented on Iraq's weaponization
program that "it was too grandiose," which slowed down the program, since
Iraq at times chose more difficult solutions than necessary and built world-class
facilities. Iraq planned to use a complex method of molding uranium bomb
parts using a hot isostatic press imported from Sweden that used cerium
sulfide. Iraq's nuclear weapons program was slowed, but not stopped, by
export controls that drove it to seek domestic manufacturing capabilities
for centrifuge and bomb parts. The embargo of late 1990 stopped equipment
such as spectrometers, centrifuge valves and unfinished calutron iron pieces,
the latter of which was being shipped by truck via Turkey, from reaching
Iraq's nuclear scientists. Iraq's program was also hindered by IAEA safeguards,
but took advantage of loopholes in the country's safeguards agreement.
While inspectors visited research reactors and nuclear material at al-Tuwaitha,
Iraq hid calutron and centrifuge work
in the same complex. In addition, Iraq exempted small quantities of spent
fuel from safeguards for learning the process of plutonium, separating
Iraq's irradiation of bismuth in a safeguarded research reactor for polonium-210
production for neutron initiator research went undetected. Iraq was not
required to provide the IAEA with information on an enrichment facility
under construction and did not tell the IAEA it was enriching uranium on
a laboratory scale. Iraq was also allowed to acquire large amounts of yellow
cake outside of international controls.
Foreign individuals driven by a
profit motive provided key know-how to Iraq. To limit such participation
in the future, the FRG recently approved a "citizens participation" laws
that make it illegal for German citizens to take part in potential proliferation
countries' nuclear weapons program. IAEA inspections in Iran and North
Korea are also mentioned.
U.N. SAYS IRAQ SHREDDING NUCLEAR WEAPONS DOCUMENTS
|COMPUSERVE-EXECUTIVE NEWS SERVICE, 7/9/92, BY J.T. NGUYEN
Iraq has shredded documents about
its nuclear weapons program allegedly kept in the Agriculture and Irrigation
Ministry, according to UN accusations. These documents would reveal incriminating
information about Iraq's activities in ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons,
as well as names of foreign suppliers, technological information, and interim
development. This information would be extremely helpful to Swedish nuclear
expert Rolf Ekeus and his Special Commission investigation of Iraq's nuclear
program. Ekeus' envoy, Douglas Englund, met with the Iraqi government on
7/8/92 to negotiate. ..... RELATED ARTICLE: Iraqi
Agriculture Minister Abdul-Wahab Mahmoud al-Sabbagh denounced the UN team's
vigil outside his ministry. US Army Major Karen Jansen heads the inspection
team. (Compuserve-Executive News Service, 7/9/92 "Iraq Says No Weapons
Hidden in Ministry"; original source: Reuter, 7/9/92 by Leon Barkho.)
IRAQ BACKS DOWN, ALLOWS INSPECTIONS
WASHINGTON TIMES, 7/27/92, PP. A1, A8 BY R. SCARBOROUGH
AND F. MURRAY
On 7/26/92, Rolf Ekeus, Chairman of the UN Special Commission, announced
that Iraq had agreed to let UN inspectors
enter the Agriculture Ministry. For three weeks, Iraq had blocked the inspectors'
entrance to the building, which is suspected to contain material related
to Iraq's weapons programs. US President George Bush, who had threatened
to use air strikes against Iraq to end the confrontation, said the US supports
Ekeus. However, he said the delay was unacceptable because it gives the
Iraqis time to "remove incriminating evidence of nuclear or chemical weapons.
The Iraqi ambassador to the UN, Abdul Amir Anbari, stated that the crisis
was over. Ekeus said that to date his commission had successfully destroyed
"significant parts" of Iraq's nuclear program, all of which had not been
destroyed by allied bombing.
..... Related articles: On 7/27/92, the UK
stated it would continue to put pressure on Iraq to fully comply with UN
Security Council resolutions. The latest conflict between Iraq and the
UN began on 7/5/92 when a UN inspection team was not permitted to enter
the agriculture ministry, where it was thought there were materials hidden
relating to "missile and possibly nuclear warhead programmes." (Compuserve-Executive
News Service, 7/27/92; original source: Reuter, 7/27/92, "Britain Vows
to Keep Pressure on Iraq.") ..... Rolf Ekeus said he was "pessimistic...about
making any major catch" at Iraq's agriculture ministry, but that he was
sure there had been important materials relating to missiles and nuclear
weapons in the building. Ekeus will go with the new inspection team to
Iraq on 7/28/92 and might personally carry out the search in the office
of the agriculture minister. (Compuserve-Executive News Service, 7/27/92;
original source: Reuter, 7/27/92, "UN Inspector Pessimistic About Visit
to Iraq.") ..... Excerpts from remarks made by Bush and Ekeus on 7/26/92
are given. (New York Times, 7/27/92, p. A4, "Excerpts from Statements by
UN Official and Bush.") ..... A profile of Ekeus is provided. (New York
Times, 7/28/92, p. A5 by Seth Faison, "Tracker of Iraq Arms: Rolf Ekeus.")
IRAQ USED AMERICAN-BUILT PLANT TO DEVELOP A-ARMS
LOS ANGELES TIMES, 8/7/92, PP. A1, A22 BY DOUGLAS FRANTZ
AND MURRAY WAAS
|In the spring of 1989, XYZ Options Inc., a small Alabama engineering
firm, was building a carbide-tool manufacturing facility southwest of Baghdad
at an Iraqi government installation.
Firm president William H. Muscarella said he told US government agents
everything about the plant. This carbide-tool factory was proven to be
part of Iraq's main nuclear- weapons complex by UN inspectors. According
to Peter D. Zimmerman, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic International
Studies, the Bush Administration contributed materials to Iraq by avoiding
strict evaluation of export end-uses. In a 7/2/92 White House memo for
National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, reports of US technological
contributions to Iraq military capability were denied. The Bush Administration
rejected efforts to restrict US technology sales to Iraq until 5/90. The
XYZ Options deal was described as a commercial transaction, arranged by
Matrix Churchill of Cleveland and financed by the Atlanta branch of BNL.
XYZ Options apparently did not violate US export laws. Carbide tools can
be used to cut and machine commercial products or military products such
as valves for nuclear weapons. Iraq
sought a carbide plant in 1988. Muscarella negotiated the XYZ Options deal
with Safa al-Habobi, the president of Matrix Churchill. Thirty-six Iraqis
were trained in Topeka, Indiana to run the plant. The Commerce Department
rejected an export license for a Connecticut manufacturer because its precision
jib grinder was "advanced enough to machine missile parts and nuclear-related
components." It is believed that Iraq obtained a grinder from a foreign
company for the carbide factory. When federal investigators closed down
BNL's Atlanta branch in 8/89, Iraq set up new financing for the carbide
plant through its embassy in Washington, where invoices were then sent
IAEA HAS NO EVIDENCE POINTING TO SECRET IRAQI PU PRODUCTION PROGRAM
NUCLEAR FUEL, 9/14/92, P. 7 BY MARK HIBBS
|Although IAEA chief inspector Maurizio Zifferero confirmed from Baghdad
that there was no evidence of an Iraqi
secret project to build a plutonium processing reactor, suspicions arose
again that such a reactor exists and has yet to be discovered. Former IAEA
inspection team leader David Kay was "convinced" that Iraq had at least
started to build a plutonium production reactor. A few officials at the
Special Commission in New York agreed with him. During the 1970s and 1980s
Iraq pursued feasibility studies on power reactor construction with the
USSR, PRC, France, Belgium and Scandinavia. The IAEA has documentation
of assistance from Belgonucleaire and Framatome.
Iraq informed the IAEA
of its clandestine centrifuge manufacturing facility at Al Furat only because
Germany's Interatom had supplied it, one Western official said. IAEA officials
believe Iraq did not have a secret
plutonium production reactor program for the following reasons:
IRAQIS USED UK PARTS IN NUCLEAR PROGRAMME
THE INDEPENDENT, 11/12/92 BY STEVE BOGGAN
In 1989, Matrix Churchill of the UK exported CNC machine tools to Iraq.
UN inspectors found a Matrix Churchill CNC multi-access [sic., multi-axis]
milling machine at Nassr Establishment that was used to produce gas centrifuge
components, other Matrix Churchill machinery at a Salahuddin complex that
manufactured centrifuges and armaments, and Matrix equipment at Badr that
was part of a calutron production program. Additionally, Matrix Churchill
exported 150 disassembled small precision-tooled components for centrifuges
to Iraq in 1989. The exports took place when ministers Lord Trefgarne,
Alan Clark and William Waldegrave were debating whether to license 6 million
British pounds worth of Matrix Churchill consignments to Iraq. A secret
note from Steve Lillie, official at the Middle East department of the Foreign
Office, to Waldegrave on 8/24/89 states "the lathes could be used to produce
components for a nuclear explosive device" and that licensing the Matrix
Churchill equipment is contrary to British export policy. At that time,
Matrix Churchill was majority-owned by TMG Engineering. The owner of TMG
was Iraqi-owned TDG, which a British Department of Trade and Industry note
claimed was probably part of Iraq's nuclear procurement network.
IRAQ HEDGES ON ARMS INSPECTIONS; CIA WARNS OF ONGOING PROGRAMS
ARMS CONTROL TODAY, 12/92, P. 24 BY JON WOLFSTHAL
The 16th IAEA inspection team visited Iraq
in 12/92. Maurizio Zifferero, the team leader, was told Iraq was finally
willing to respond to questions about its foreign procurement network for
its nuclear weapons program. IAEA spokesman David Kyd said questions regarding
Iraq's suppliers would be submitted and discussed during the next IAEA
inspection, scheduled for 1/93. Kyd said the gathering of information from
Western supplier countries was going slowly and that cooperation from Iraq
was necessary to speed the process. An UNSCOM biological and chemical weapons
team inspecting Iraq in 12/92 received an opposite response from Iraq.
Team leader Johan Santessen was informed by Iraqi General Amer Rashid that
Iraqi cooperation with UNSCOM was over, a comment that UNSCOM deputy chief
Pierre Corden said reflects a "deterioration of Iraq's willingness to fulfill
its obligations." On 12/15/92, US CIA Director Robert Gates claimed that
Iraq still has "formidable programs
in all four areas of weapons of mass destruction", including nuclear weapons,
and will continue to develop them despite the costs and the presence of
UN sanctions and inspections. Gates said Iraq has the equipment and materials
to develop nuclear weapons "in five to seven years, and start full-scale
nuclear weapons production in the middle of the next decade" if UN inspections
and sanctions are not continued.
****** Related Articles: The head of Iraq's Atomic Energy Agency, Humam Abdel Khaliq Abdel Ghafuras, met with Zifferero to inform him of the new Iraqi willingness to answer supplier questions, in hopes of getting sanctions lifted sooner. (Reuter, 12/8/92 by Randall Palmer, "UN Inspector Sees Iraqi Nuclear Cooperation.")
****** Gates' comments
were at odds with the position of UNSCOM, whose spokesman John Scott said
UNSCOM had not been "able to find residual programs of any size what so
ever" in Iraq. Gates also claimed Iran would acquire nuclear arms in eight
to ten years with outside assistance, such as the technology it is now
receiving from China and the nuclear materials, weapons and technology
it is seeking in Russia and other countries. (Compuserve- Executive News
Service, 12/16/92; original source: Washington Post, 12/16/92 by George
Lardner Jr. and R. Jeffrey Smith, "Gates Warns of Iraqi Nuclear Aspirations.")