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Iraqi Nuclear Abstracts: 1991
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Commercial KSA 1000 satellite photographs taken by the USSR reveal a secret Iraqi "facility in the Qarachoq Mountains, south-east of Mosul in northern Iraq." The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) claims that the facility is linked to a uranium mine 120 miles to the north in the Gara Mountains. Hoshyar Zebari, a spokesman for the KDP, said, "we are absolutely sure this is a nuclear plant." a US nuclear technology specialist, who examined diagrams drawn by Andrew Garfield of the National Imagery Analysis Centre in the UK, said that the facility might be a gas centrifuge or gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment facility. The facility is located next to hydro-electric plants. 

Hartmut Meyer, a spokesman for Interatom of the FRG, said his company did not supply experts on nuclear technology or nuclear technology itself to Iraq. 



DER SPIEGEL (HAMBURG), 12/24/90, PP. 69-72 

It has been discovered that Interatom, a subsidiary of the FRG firm Siemens, has had extensive contact with Iraq, which has included training Iraqi personnel and developing nuclear technology. Ali Adbul Mutalib Ali, formerly an economic attache in Bonn, has assisted in promoting Iraq's nuclear program throughout Europe with the help of the Iraqi firm Industrial Projects Company (IPC). IPC is part of the Industry Ministry, yet is managed by Husayn Kamil, Saddam Husayn's son-in-law. From the War Ministry, he also organizes all arms procurement. On 4/8/89, Ali and some experts visited Interatom's center at Bergisch Gladbach. Interatom builds reactors and specializes in enrichment technology, both of interest to Iraq. In the summer of 1989, Interatom agreed to help Iraq in the area of construction of industrial pipelines, however it is suspected that in fact it provided Iraq with nuclear technology, especially concerning uranium enrichment. Interatom was intended to supply highly sophisticated equipment such as helium leak detectors and vacuum pumps, with which the Iraqi engineers were to conduct tests. Months after the agreements were concluded, Bonn discovered the transaction and, after a meeting between the Foreign and Economics Ministries, forbade Interatom to carry out the transaction. Prior to this, other ministries were alerted to the sensitive nature of such deals, due to the possible political consequences the United States in particular has increased its criticism due to potential losses inflicted on its military forces by German-produced technologies. Iraq's nuclear program is based on centrifuge technology, a specialty of the Germans, which Pakistan illegally acquired in the 1980s. FRG Economics Minister Helmut Haussmann commented on the similarity of some components and parts of the Iraqi ultra centrifuge to various FRG gas centrifuges. Such centrifuges are produced on flow turn machines like the three supplied to Iraq by the H and H Metalform company of Drensteinfurt, in which the Iraqis hold a 50 percent share. Former MAN Technology engineers Walter Busse and Bruno Stemmler, who are specialists in centrifuges, worked as technological advisors to Iraq in the 1980s. According to the Federal Intelligence Service, Iraq was supplied with German technology via Brazil as well, although Interatom has argued that considering the differences between Brazil's and Iraq's enrichment techniques (jet-nozzle enrichment vs. gas centrifuge), Brazil could not have illegally passed on the knowledge to Iraq. The Foreign Ministry stated that "everything was to be done" to prevent German technology or supplies, such as those from MAN and Interatom, from reaching Iraq, which the Finance Ministry has stated as attempting to gain uranium enrichment components and technology since 1988 at the latest. Interatom and Steag, also of the FRG, exported a jet nozzle enrichment plant to Brazil which is to be online by 1992.

IPC has played a leading role in all nuclear projects, possibly

  • buying high quality steel from Schmiedemeccanica,
  • special magnets from Inwako,
  • or training from the UK firm Magnatech.
However, a manager of Interatom, Hartmut Mayer, has denied knowledge of Iraqi efforts toward uranium enrichment prior to 4/23/90, despite its Baghdad chief's obvious familiarity with Iraq.

According to law, Interatom applied for the Iraqi project license at Eschborn, where it was approved by Johannes Pfirschke in 10/89. After approval, though, Interatom changed what had nominally been a pipeline- related project to one that included experts in "uranium enrichment plants" and "advanced reactors and energy systems-plant operation." Interatom also supplied Iraq with the "Handbook of Hydraulics," published by the US National Nuclear Energy Commission.

Iraq has also shown interest in desublimation technology. Apparently Iraq has little enriched uranium, and will be unable to procure or produce enough to make a nuclear weapon for eight to ten years.

Meanwhile, Bonn has withdrawn the license for the IPC program due in part to the Eschborn federal office President's (Hans Rummer) statement that "doubts have emerged" as to activities conducted in the program. Western intelligence has reported that India has a Siemens Telperm M control plant system which is used at its heavy water plant. 


NUCLEAR DEVELOPMENTS, 2/25/91, PP. 44-46  

DER SPIEGEL (HAMBURG), 2/4/91, PP. 33-35 

The UK engineer Chris Cowley worked on the Iraqi Saad 16 military research project located at Mosul near the Tigris River. Among the projects at Saad 16 was a nuclear weapon construction effort. Gildemeister Projects GmbH (Gipro) of the FRG was the main contractor for the Saad 16 project. Gipro will be prosecuted by FRG courts for exporting a computer with a spectrometer and a small computer to Iraq without certificates. The Bonn Economics Ministry's Federal Economic Office in Eschborn had permitted Gipro's exports to Iraq, except for the computers.

Litten industries of the US owned a 17% share in Gipro from 1984 to 1989.

The Sauer Informatic GmbH company of the FRG, which is managed by Klaus Murmann, exported a DM 10- million computer plant to Iraq for the Saad 16 project. Experts estimate that US companies supplied 40 percent of the high-technology equipment for the Saad 16 project.

Hewlett Packard and Electronics Associates both participated in the projects. In 1986, the US Defense Department banned the delivery of a large computer for Saad 16. But in 2/90, the US commerce Department approved the delivery of the computer. Between 10/86 and 8/90, the US commerce Department granted 500 permits for dual-use exports, including high-tech electronics equipment, from the US to Iraq involving $728 million.

A mass spectrometer made by the Thermo Jarell Ash Corporation from the US was seized at the Frankfurt Airport in the FRG before it could be shipped to Iraq. 


On 2/18/91, Carson Mark, former head of the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said that the two research reactors at the Tuwaitha facility were not very useful for Iraq's nuclear weapons development program. During the first week of the Gulf War, Iraq's 5-MW (th) IRT-5000 pool-type research reactor and 500 KW (th) Tammuz-2 pool-type critical assembly were "totally destroyed," according to US military officials. Iraq's ambassador to the IAEA, Rahim Alkital, called the bombings of the two safeguarded research reactors a "major blow to the credibility of the safeguards regime." In 2/91, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) reported that Iraq had already "used the two reactors for research and development of nuclear weapons." A 2/6/91 report from IDF claimed that Iraq's effort to manufacture uranium enrichment gas centrifuges at the Factor 10 facility north of Baghdad was "apparently unsuccessful." During the first three weeks of the Gulf War, according to the IDF report, Factory 10 was heavily damaged. Israeli sources last week said that reports that Iraq had 26 operating centrifuges were based on "misinformation or disinformation." The Israeli sources claimed that Israel's Military Intelligence Agency in 1990 said that Iraq had manufactured 26 centrifuge outer casings at Factory 10 and planned to build entire centrifuges there. In 1981, after Israel bombed Iraq's Tammuz-1 research reactor, US-Israeli nuclear intelligence sharing was broken off, only to be renewed in 1990 after the Gulf Crisis developed. After Iraq invaded Kuwait, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) obtained information from Israel that Iraq could manufacture centrifuges. But one US official said that US agencies "never saw any evidence that Iraq possessed 26, or any number" of centrifuges. Iraq attempted to develop bottom centrifuges bearing but apparently failed. The IDF report concluded that Iraq would need "up to two years to produce a primitive weapon," which would spread "radioactive fallout without a full-fledged nuclear blast." Iraq "probably lacks beryllium," which is used as a neutron reflector, and would need five years to develop a five-kiloton nuclear weapon, according to IDF. 


On 1/16/91, US President George Bush announced that the US intended to "knock out" Iraq leader Saddam Hussein's nuclear bomb potential. However, one US official said earlier that Iraq's nuclear program was not a good reason to go to war, and the article suggests that this program was "so primitive that the international sanctions put in place [by the U.N.] may have had more substantive effect than the tons of bombs dropped by U.S. and allied planes five months later." After the 8/90 invasion, the German foreign office ordered cessation of a training program run by three FRG firms, including Interatom GmbH, for Iraqi employees of the Industrial Production Company (IPC). Israel's intelligence agency believes the IPC is central to Iraq's military procurement system, and the company is "behind" Al Fao General Establishment in Baghdad, which has worked to get missile technology for Iraq and also asked Interatom for centrifuge components.

Although export of nuclear know how from the FRG to Iraq is forbidden, Interatom said that IPC had expressed strong interest in getting such information. Hussein said in 7/90 that although his country did not possess nuclear weapons, it would be acceptable to use western aid in acquiring them to counter the Israeli nuclear threat. According to information from officials and experts in the US, Europe, Israel and the FRG, Iraq was 5-10 years away from producing nuclear weapons before the war started, the article contends. Bush said in 11/90 that this figure could be lower than 1 year.

Iraq had a small amount of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) under IAEA safeguards. Despite the fact that it had signed the NPT, Iraq seemed prepared to develop nuclear weapons, starting in 1987. According to FRG intelligence, Al Qaqaa State Establishment in Baghdad was developing non-nuclear components for the weapon, and Nassr State Enterprise in Taji was developing uranium enrichment processes. IPC attempted to buy weapon and uranium enrichment technology and equipment in Europe. Iraq has no known plutonium and cannot produce it in large quantities; Israel bombed the Osiraq reactor in 1981, which would have produced plutonium. Iraq is attempting to develop a gas centrifuge plant to produce HEU. The IAEA did a safeguards inspection of Iraq's safeguarded fuel in 11/90 and found it to be intact. Article states that an Iraqi bomb would probably be a fission device based on an implosion design, but could do so only if it used the 12.3 kg of safeguarded uranium (93%) in combination with 10 kg of 80% enriched uranium at the IRT 5000 reactor supplied by the USSR, the latter either enriched (a long process) or combined in its current state, which might be barely adequate to make a crude bomb. Carson Mark, of the US Los Alamos National Laboratory, says that Iraq would need at minimum "one year of hard work" to make a bomb from the 12.3 kg.

In 12/90, a US official said that it took Pakistan several years to transfer an implosion system despite reported help from the PRC in nuclear weapons design.

In the last five years the US approved sales of $1.5 billion to Iraq in equipment, some of which could be used for nuclear and ballistic missile developments. In 3/90, Iraq was caught smuggling detonation capacitors from the US CSI Technologies through the UK. In 1989, scientists from Al Qaqaa participated in a symposium in the US and inquired about krytons.

After the 3/90 smuggling attempt, Hussein stated that Iraq's Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization managed to produce similar capacitors, and Iraq also purchased lower quality capacitors from Maxwell Electronics (US) in 1989, William Higinbotham, also of Los Alamos, said that Iraq may have the know-how but its success will depend on the trained personnel responsible for making weapons components. It could take Iraq six months or longer to make the capacitors he said. Article states that Iraq will probably be able to design a "deliverable nuclear weapon" eventually, but an embargo could slow down that process.

Currently, no foreign country appears to be assisting Iraq in nuclear weapons development. After the embargo is lifted, the USSR may again sell Iraq HEU. France at one point attempted to deliver low-enriched uranium in place of HEU, but Hussein objected. Also, the USSR might need assistance from the US and other western countries in converting its research reactors to produce lower enriched fuels; the US has done so for a number of other countries. Japan has a civilian plutonium program. A firm in Italy negotiated with Iraq to sell plutonium in the early 1980s, but then turned out not to have any plutonium. Iraq tried to purchase desublimer technology from the FRG firms which had given this technology to Urenco, but did not succeed in doing so; however, Iraq's major goal has been to develop centrifuge technology.

Inwako GmbH of the FRG exported ring magnets, a non-rotating component of a centrifuge, to Iraq. The FRG's export controls, put in place before the war started, had slowed down Iraq's uranium enrichment program.

In the past, the German Export Union GmbH had sold Iraq 250-grade maraging steel (of marginal use in centrifuge rotors). Before 1988, H & H Metalform GmbH (FRG) sold Iraq flow- forming machines used to shape rotor tubes and Schaublin of Switzerland sold Iraq spin-forming machines used to shape endcaps. Iraq ordered maraging steel preforms from Schmiedemeccanica, also of Switzerland, but this deal was halted by the international embargo. These parts are all required for centrifuge rotor assembly construction. According to some reports, Pakistan acquired a G2 centrifuge from Urenco. Bruno Stemmler, who worked at MAN Technologien GmbH in the FRG, discussed centrifuge design with engineers from Iraq and saw a centrifuge test stand which he concluded could only be used for elementary tests of a centrifuge rotor. Walter Busse, another FRG engineer, also visited the centrifuge production facility. He also said that Iraq would need five more years to develop an operational centrifuge.

Italy supplied a hot cell for Iraq's Tuwaitha reactor and another hot cell there is "associated" with the USSR's IRT-5000. Iraq's Al Qaqaa State Establishment is used for top-secret weapons work by the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization. The FRG says non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons are developed at this facility. Iraq has received blueprints for some FRG centrifuges. Iraq's Technology Development Group, based in the UK, bought an 18% share in Schmiedemeccanica, which had made centrifuge endcaps and baffles for Iraq.

Brazil made its first attempts to produce a centrifuge in the late 1970s; by 1982 it was producing slightly enriched uranium in indigenously-developed centrifuges, and was operating its first cascade in 1984. In Ipero enrichment plant was opened in 1988, and Brazil intends to expand this plant further. 


A senior Iraqi nuclear scientist defected to the US and told US Pentagon officials that a significant part of Iraq's nuclear research facilities survived the US bombing raids, US officials said on 6/3/91. In 1/91, US General H. Norman Schwarzkopf said that the US-led bombing raids had "neutralized" Iraq's "nuclear manufacturing capability." After the war, Iraq denied possessing any weapons-grade uranium, but later admitted that it possessed 91 pounds of the material. The US Defense Department is leading the debriefing of the defector. US officials were not happy that the news on the defector was revealed. In 4/91 and 5/91, IAEA inspectors found 98 pounds of weapons-grade uranium at the Tuwaitha nuclear research facility. US officials suspect that Iraq is still hiding smaller quantities of nuclear materials. 


In 6/90, US experts briefed an Iraqi nuclear official who defected from Iraq. The US experts now believe that Iraq has at least one secret calutron uranium enrichment facility. US satellite photos taken several months ago may reveal calutron equipment. Since 1988, Iraq has been importing gas centrifuge uranium enrichment equipment from several western countries. In 1990, the US Department of Commerce blocked the sale to Iraq of vacuum diffusion pumps from CVC, a US company in NY, after US Customs determined that the pumps could be used in Iraq's centrifuge program. US officials now believe the pumps were intended for Iraq's calutron program. In the late 1980's, another US firm exported to Iraq $1.2 million worth of 5-ampere, 40 to 45 kilovolt electrical generators, claimed to be for induction welding. US officials now believe that Iraq imported the generators for use as calutron power supplies. The generating equipment does not fall under dual-use technology US export control laws. Export and import of centrifuge-related dual use technology is strictly controlled by US export laws, while calutron-related equipment is not controlled. In 1949, the US declassified calutron equipment. Calutron equipment is not on the Zangger "trigger list," or the Nuclear Suppliers Group commodity control list. The Iraqi defector claims that Iraq produced 40 kg of weapons-grade uranium from its calutrons, but US officials believe that Iraq only produced 1 to 5 kg.

In late 1990, press reports in the US claimed that Saddam Hussein had constructed

    centrifuge plants,
  • uranium hexafluoride conversion facilities,
  • a uranium mine, and
  • an underground plutonium production reactor,
all located in northern Iraq. US officials have not confirmed these press reports.

A calutron plant may be located near a hydroelectric power station in northern Iraq, but US officials say this facility is non-nuclear. None of the "fingerprints" of any large calutron facilities have been observed by US satellites, one western expert claims.

On 6/22/91, a UN Special Team of 10 experts and 5 support personnel will begin inspections of Iraq nuclear facilities at the request of the US. UN Resolution 687 calls for dismantling Hussein's nuclear program. Maurizio Zifferero, a former IAEA Deputy Director General for Research and Isotopes, will head the inspection team. IAEA spokesman David Kyd said the team will inspect the Tuwaitha reactor site, which an IAEA team inspected in 5/91. It found all declared Iraqi nuclear materials but did not find any materials that hadn't already been declared. The team will also inspect other sites in Iraq and Iraq's ambassador in Vienna, Rahim Alkital, will be kept informed. 


On 6/22/91, the second UN team to visit Iraq under the UN Resolution 687 inspection effort arrived in Baghdad and informed the Iraqis that they wanted to inspect the Abu Ghraib military camp, ten miles west of Baghdad. On 6/23/91, the UN team was denied access to Abu Ghraib but was able to view workcrews, trucks, forklifts, and cranes moving large crates that could have contained electromagnetic isotope separation equipment used to enrich uranium. On 6/25/91, the UN team again attempted to access the Abu Ghraib site, but the Iraqis prevented them from entering. On 6/26/91, the UN team finally was granted access but found that the crates had been cleared.

On 6/28/91, the UN team requested access to the Fallujah military base, about 30 miles west of Baghdad, where "intelligence reports indicated that the crates had been moved," according to David Kay, the UN team spokesman. The UN team was denied access but was allowed to view the Fallujah site from a water tower, from which they photographed another moving operation. Shortly after this, two UN team members were able to photograph from close range a truck convoy that exited the Fallujah site from a rear gate. The Iraqis fired shots into the air apparently to try to scare off the two UN inspectors. David Kay said that the photographed equipment was electromagnetic isotope separation equipment that could manufacture weapons-grade uranium. After the shooting incident, the Iraqi News Agency reported that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had ordered all Iraqi officials to allow the UN representatives "to see or inspect what they wish." US Pentagon officials said on 6/27/91 that the US is preparing a range of military options against Iraq. The article describes a wide range of US military equipment in the region that could be used to destroy Iraq's remaining nuclear equipment and materials. Related Articles: The San Francisco Chronicle, 6/29/91, pp. A1, A18, "UN Inspectors Again Kept Out of Iraq Base"; San Francisco Examiner, 6/30/91, p. A7, "UN Sends Ultimatum to Iraq on Nuclear Arms" 


In early 7/91, US spy satellites photographed Iraqi forces burying calutron equipment at a secret military base at Yerbaz near Baghdad. The Iraqis buried several large magnetic discs, each 12 to 15 feet in diameter, which are believed to be parts from one of 30 calutrons that Iraq admitted it possessed. Iraq made this admission in a 29-page letter to the IAEA on 7/8/91. On 7/9/91, State Department Spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler said that the Iraqi letter fell short of US expectations. Tutwiler said the letter had "significant omissions and distortions." Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams spoke about the importance of continuing "full and complete visits" by inspection teams to search for Iraq's nuclear items. On 7/9/91, Iraq showed UN inspectors uranium enrichment equipment. The buried discs are believed to be from the same calutrons that a UN inspection team was blocked from examining on 6/28/91 at the Fallujah military base. US officials said Iraq set fires nearby newly discovered nuclear sites to hide the facilities. Near Tuwaitha, UN inspectors found a crane that had been magnetized because it moved calutron discs. The Iraqis broke up the concrete floor at another nuclear facility to try and hide traces of radioactivity, but UN inspectors were able to measure it anyway. An Iraqi electrical engineer who was involved in Iraq's nuclear weapons program recently defected. The engineer revealed four secret nuclear sites and claimed that Iraq had hidden 88 pounds of highly enriched uranium. The Iraqi letter, written by Ahmed Hussein Khudayer, said that Iraq hid its nuclear program for national security reasons. The letter said that Iraq had three types of uranium enrichment programs underway, including electromagnetic (calutron), chemical and centrifugal. ..... Related Article: On 7/10/91, President George Bush criticized Iraq for burying nuclear materials and for "hiding and cheating and lying on nuclear matters." Bush said the US was "deadly serious" about enforcing UN demands that Iraq dismantle its non-conventional and ballistic missile weapons programs. (The Washington Times, 7/11/91, pp. A1, A8 by Bill Gertz and Paul Bedard, "US warns Iraq to disarm.") 


On 7/2/91, in a meeting with UN officials, the chairman of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC), Homan Abdul Khaliq, said that there was "no program for enrichment of uranium in Iraq at the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission." Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz then told UN officials that the IAEA official program was the only nuclear program in Iraq. On 7/7/91, however, the UN received a 29-page report from Iraq which described Iraqi efforts to enrich uranium using three different techniques: gas centrifuge, magnetic isotope separation, and chemical separation. Iraq admitted that it had enriched 0.5 kg of uranium to 4 percent U-235. US Department of State spokesperson Margaret Tutwiler said that Iraq admitted that it had eight operable calutrons, a "laboratory scale" chemical isotope separation program, and an "incomplete centrifuge program." A senior White House official said that the 37 IAEA officials now in Iraq are "certain" that a truck convoy in Iraq last week contained calutron equipment, specifically heavy metal rings which could function as magnets. IAEA inspectors in Iraq are currently looking for the calutron equipment. US officials said the recent admissions by Iraq are consistent with recent statements by a defecting Iraqi nuclear official. The IAEA reportedly is angry because the US has refused to provide the IAEA information on suspected secret nuclear-related sites. ..... Related Articles: Dimitri Perricos is the head of the UN inspection team currently in Iraq. Perricos said that Iraq has indicated that it has eliminated, damaged, and buried a large portion of the equipment listed in the 29-page document. Diplomatic sources said that the listed equipment included 30 calutrons. UN officials tried to inspect a 60 truck convoy, on 6/28/91, that may have concealed calutron equipment. White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater said the 29-page document shows that Iraq had previously not complied with UN Resolution 687 and that "Iraq continues to engage in various activities related to weapons of mass destruction." (Los Angeles Times, 7/9/91, pp. A1, A13 by Stanley Meisler, "Iraq Admits It Can Produce A-Bomb Fuel.") ..... The 29-page document was provided by Iraqi Foreign Minister Ahmed Hussein. The document contended that Iraq's nuclear program is devoted to peaceful purposes. The document detailed a list of material and equipment Iraq has in its possession. Sources said that items on the equipment list include 30 calutrons, plus associated electrical power generators. The list also admits the possession of four kg of enriched uranium. (Washington Post, 7/9/91, pp. A1, A16 by John M. Goshko, "Iraq Gives Information to U.N. on Extensive Nuclear Program.") ..... Dimitri Perricos, the Greek leader of the UN team currently inspecting Iraq, is quoted extensively in this article. Perricos said that the list provided by Iraq admits for the first time that Iraq has a uranium enrichment program. Perricos said that the UN team would inspect a mine at Akashat in northwest Iraq near the Syria border. This site is not on the new list, or on the old list, which Iraq provided in 5/91. (Washington Times, 7/9/91, p. A8 by Nicholas Phythian, "Iraq admits wider, secret nuclear ability.") ..... The Iraqi document received by the UN on 7/8/91 revealed sites where uranium enrichment activity was taking place, as well as intermediate installations for preparing large amounts of uranium ore. One installation produced 100 tons of uranium dioxide and had the capacity of producing 185 tons of uranium per year. US Administration officials believe that Iraq has produced enough weapons-grade uranium using calutrons to build at least one nuclear bomb. Iraq's calutrons were produced indigenously. (New York Times, 7/10/91, p. A6 by Elaine Sciolino, "Iraqi Atomic Admission: Mixed Blessing for Bush.") ..... On 7/9/91, Margaret Tutwiler said that recent information "makes us believe strongly that Iraq has a program to develop nuclear weapons." Iraqi officials described their calutron enrichment program as peaceful, but cited "national security reasons" for having kept it secret. Analysts believe that Iraq was operating calutrons at Tuwaitha, Tarmaiya, and an unspecified third site. Analysts estimate that Iraq produced roughly 25 pounds of highly-enriched uranium. US Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams on 7/9/91, "Clearly ... we are learning now from a variety of intelligence sources things we didn't know when we did the target planning for the war about elements of their nuclear capability." (Washington Post, 7/10/91, pp. A1, A16 by R. Jeffrey Smith, "U.S. May Have Misjudged Iraq's Nuclear Capability.") ..... On 7/9/91, Margaret Tutwiler said that Saddam Hussein's 29 page report contained "significant omissions and discrepancies" although it will be useful for the investigative teams inspecting Iraq. The report claimed that 3 uranium purification plants were destroyed and two damaged during the war. See this article for Tutwiler's comments on the report. (Los Angeles Times, 7/10/91, p. A4 by Norman Kempster, "U.S. Rips Iraqi Nuclear Report.") ..... Iraq's permanent representative to the UN, 'Abd-al-Amir al-Anbari, met with UN official Rolf Ekeus on 7/13/91 in order to review the progress of inspection operations currently under way in Iraq. Al-Anbari said that the list Iraq provided to the UN was accurate and that Iraq has fully complied with international resolutions and is fully cooperating with the international inspectors now in Iraq. (Proliferation Issues, 7/24/91, p. 20; original source: INA (Baghdad), 7/13/91) ..... On 7/9/91, Demitri Perricos, an IAEA official, said that Iraq was cooperating with a current inspection of Iraq's nuclear facilities. Perricos said that the equipment photographed on 6/28/91 by UN inspectors included huge calutron magnets. (Washington Post, 7/10/91, p. A14 by Caryle Murphy, "U.N. Team Inspects Iraqi Nuclear Sites.") ..... On 7/9/91, Demitri Perricos said that the IAEA was conducting an inspection of a phosphate strip mine and processing plant at Akashat, near the Syrian border. Perricos said that Iraq was extracting uranium from phosphate. The US-led coalition bombed the mine during the gulf war. (New York Times, 7/10/91, p. A6, "UN Team Sees Iraqi Plant.") 


Hans Blix, head of the IAEA, said that Iraq's nuclear program was too expensive to be peaceful. Blix estimated that Iraq has spent between $4 to $8 billion on its nuclear program. Blix and Rolf Ekeus, head of the UN Special Commission on Iraq, said that a UN team had inspected two major industrial sites in Iraq that could have begun large-scale uranium enrichment within 18 months to two years. Jay Davis, of the Livermore Research Laboratory, estimated that each of the two facilities could have produced enough material for one bomb per year. Professor Maurizio Zifferero, deputy IAEA director, said that Iraq would have to expend five times the energy to enrich uranium to 3 to 3.5 percent using calutrons, compared to the amount of energy that would be produced in a nuclear reactor from this enriched uranium fuel. US Ambassador Thomas Pickering said that Iraq's latest list appeared to be incomplete. ..... Related Articles: Blix and Ekeus said that Iraq's list of nuclear sites, provided to the UN on 7/14/91, added nothing new to a list of sites released on 7/7/91. Blix said that Iraq has not complied with the UN resolution. Thomas R. Pickering said the new list included "more details rather than revelations." Iraq's Prime Minister Saadun Hamadi predicted a US attack on Iraq. Sir David Hannay, the UK representative to the UN, said the UN was not discussing military action against Iraq, but that Iraq's nuclear program must be removed. Blix said that Iraq's calutron program was in the pilot program stage. One of the installations designed for industrial production may have been destroyed in the war and the other had not been started up. (The New York Times, 7/16/91, p. A9 by Frank Prial, "U.N. Inspectors Report Iraq Still Conceals Atom Program.") ..... Maurizio Zifferero said that an undisclosed uranium enrichment plant, found by UN inspectors near al-Sharqat between Mosul and Tikrit in northern Iraq, was identical to a plant the Iraqis did report at Tarmia, near Baghdad. Dr. Jay Davies, a US nuclear expert, said that Iraq probably had spent up to $8 billion to build its calutron uranium enrichment facilities. IAEA inspectors found that both calutron facilities were empty and both had been bombed. (Financial Times (London), 7/17/91, p. 6 by David Fishlock and Michael Littlejohns, "IAEA calls emergency talks on Iraqi N-programme") 


According to an IAEA inspection report, Iraq has four clandestine calutron uranium enrichment facilities at three different sites. The facilities include a pilot calutron plant at Tuwaitha, a large-scale calutron facility at Tarmiyah, another large-scale calutron facility at Al Sharqat, and a smaller calutron facility, which is located next to the large-scale facility at Tarmiyah. On 5/24/91, an IAEA inspection team visited the Tarmiyah site, which is located about 60 kilometers north of Baghdad, after an Iraqi defector provided secret information to US intelligence. The inspectors saw no specific nuclear activity, but did find that electrical and ventilation equipment had been removed. On 6/28/91, IAEA inspectors revisited the Tarmiyah site and found a multibillion-dollar large-scale calutron facility. US satellite photos had revealed the facility, called building 33, which was over 100 meters long. Inside the building, the IAEA inspectors found large cranes, a 100MW installed power supply, and purified chilled water. The IAEA determined that building 33 had the capability to support about 100 calutron units. The building was 6 to 18 months away from being operational. On 7/15/91, another IAEA team found an almost identical large-scale calutron facility at Al Sharqat, which is located on the Tigris River in northern Iraq between Mosul and Tikrit. IAEA officials said that the Al Sharqat facility could also hold about 100 calutrons. The IAEA said that Tarmiyah is also the location of a third calutron facility, which would serve as a "topping off" plant. This second-stage plant would take enriched uranium from the first-stage large-scale calutron facilities, and would enrich it to weapons-grade. The smaller calutron facility is located in Building 245 and consists of 40 MWs of power, a large control room, and room for about 20 calutrons. The IAEA said the second-stage plant was "12-18 months from completion." The Tarmiyah complex also included other calutron-related facilities including: chemistry labs, possibly, "designed for uranium tetrachloride processing"; a building for washing heavy calutron parts, such as vacuum boxes; and a building for the recovery and recycle of uranium. In late 6/91, the IAEA inspected a site named Zaafarniyah, located about 300 km southeast of Baghdad. A facility at Zaafarniyah, called Al Dijjla, under the control of the Iraqi Ministry of Industry and Military Production, contained manufacturing equipment capable of coil winding, designing and fabricating electronics, and other electrical components which could be used for calutrons. Another facility at Zaafarniyah, called Al Rabeeh, contained metal shops capable of producing the metal components of calutrons. The Iraqi defector said that the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center served as the initial calutron research and development effort for Iraq in the 1980's. During the IAEA's second inspection of Tuwaitha in late 6/91, they found equipment for 5 to 10 calutrons. The IAEA concluded that Tuwaitha had hosted research and development work on ion sources, magnets, and insulators. The IAEA determined that Iraq's calutron program was indigenous and that had the capability to "manufacture all required components" for calutrons. If five of Iraq's calutrons had operated continuously for two years they might have produced about 3 kg of HEU. In 5/91, the IAEA inspected Building 80 at Tuwaitha. In Building 80 they found that all equipment had been removed, although they found that it was equipped with a 7.4 MW power supply. The IAEA also inspected Tuwaitha's Building 85, which might have had the capability to demonstrate calutron process chemistry. In late-6/91, the IAEA inspected Tuwaitha's Al Hamath Workshop, which was equipped with large cranes similar to those at Tarmiyah. The inspection team determined that this was a "magnet test facility" that performed "lab/pilot scale uranium isotope separation with approximately five units for some unknown period of time." 


Iraq pursued several centrifuge designs in the late 1980s, but apparently concentrated on Urenco's G-1 centrifuge. The article describes the G-1 centrifuge as "an early, subcritical centrifuge designed in the late 1960s for the Gronau enrichment facility operated by Uranit GmbH, with a design throughput of less than 2 SWU/yr." A former engineer of Machinenfabrik Augsburg-Nuernberg AG (MAN) saw G-1 centrifuge design blueprints in Iraq in 1988. The IAEA concluded its third inspection of Iraq's nuclear program on 7/28/91. Iraq gave the IAEA a centrifuge rotor made of maraging steel with a diameter of about 250 millimeters and a length of 350 "mmm" (sic). These dimensions do not match the G-1 design, indicating that Iraq was experimenting with pre-Urenco centrifuge designs. On 7/7/91, Iraq claimed that it had built only one centrifuge model, an "oil type (Beams type)" centrifuge designed in the 1930s and 1940s before the US and Europe classified centrifuge know-how. The US did not believe the 7/7/91 claim. The IAEA obtained a second rotor tube from Iraq. This second tube had a diameter of 150mm (matching the G-1 design diameter), but was made with carbon fiber instead of maraging steel. The Iraqi carbon fiber rotor tube was damaged, so the length could not be determined. (The G-1 design calls for a length of 500 centimeters). Iraq may have used carbon fiber because it was unable to obtain enough maraging steel. In 1990, all but a test sample of a 50-metric-ton shipment of maraging steel from Export Union GmbH of the FRG was held up by the UN embargo against Iraq. Carbon fiber is on the US Commodity Control List. In the late 1980s, perhaps with the help of an Egyptian agent named Abdul Kadeer Helmy, Iraq obtained some carbon fiber. In 1990, Helmy was caught by a US sting operation when he tried to smuggle carbon fiber from the US to Iraq. The IAEA also obtained from Iraq centrifuge end caps and baffles made by Schmiedemeccanica of Switzerland. The endcaps and baffles were made of maraging steel and designed to G-1 specifications. In 1990, FRG customs halted an export of several hundred endcaps and baffles from Schmiedemeccanica to Iraq from the FRG. Iraqi officials said in 7/91 that Iraq planned to test a single bench-model centrifuge and then build a 100- centrifuge cascade. Western officials have found no evidence that Iraq had actually started industrial construction of centrifuges. The IAEA's fourth inspection team is currently searching Iraq for more information. Brazil was able to build a cascade of only 8 centrifuges, after a decade of development efforts. Experts are currently performing materials testing on the carbon fiber that the IAEA obtained from Iraq. 



AL-AHRAR (CAIRO), 7/22/91, P.1 

Western security agencies are investigating reports that Iraq may have transferred its nuclear facilities and material to Algeria by air a few days after the UN Security Council issued its first resolution imposing a blockade against Iraq. The US is convinced that Iraq has transferred its "nuclear arsenal" to Arab countries. Iraqi nuclear experts and scientists may have been transferred to Algeria. The US decision to appoint Mary Ann Casey, an intelligence and research expert, as ambassador to Algeria to succeed Christopher Ross, may have been motivated by the above information. 


NUCLEAR NEWS, 9/91, PP. 76, 78 
The fourth IAEA inspection team to be sent to Iraq was given information that Iraq had fabricated and irradiated natural uranium oxide fuel at Tuwaitha. The fuel was irradiated in Iraq's 5 MW IRT-5000 research reactor. Three grams of plutonium were separated from the spent fuel. The first IAEA inspection team had earlier been told by Iraq that 2.26 grams of plutonium had been separated. The plutonium separation experiments were a serious noncompliance with Iraq's safeguards agreement as they were carried out at a safeguarded facility. Between 1987 and 8/90, the UK had granted licenses for export to Iraq of plutonium, thorium, thorium oxide, uranium, uranium acetate, zirconium, and zirconium rod. The UK's Department of Trade and Industry submitted this list to a Parliamentary Select Committee. The quantities were very small, including a milligram of plutonium and two grams of uranium in isotope calibration sources. These quantities are insignificant in relation to Iraq's indigenous plutonium separation research program. 


Forty-four IAEA inspectors uncovered sensitive nuclear documents at the temporary administrative headquarters of Iraq's Atomic Energy Commission in Baghdad. The documents contained design information for shaped explosive charges, implosion packages, and neutron initiators. On 9/27/91, Maurizio Zifferero, [director of the UN Special Commission on Iraq], said that the seized documents are "certainly evidence that a weaponization program was being carried out" in Iraq. Zifferero said that "all the components were in place for [a nuclear weapon program]." Leonard Spector, a nuclear proliferation specialist at Carnegie, said that the documents are "the ultimate smoking gun," although it remains unclear whether Iraq used the design information to advance its nuclear weapons program. IAEA inspectors also uncovered personnel records which could help determine Iraq's nuclear weapon program infrastructure, Zifferero said. He also confirmed that IAEA inspectors discovered 3 grams of plutonium that Iraq produced at its Tuwaitha reactor in violation of the NPT. Zifferero said that Iraq has a "laboratory capability to produce plutonium." ..... Related Articles: Rolf Ekeus, head of the UN commission responsible for eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, said on 9/27/92 that the UN would not release to the public the documents which reveal the names of foreign companies and governments which may have contributed to Iraq's nuclear weapons program. Ekeus said that a classified list would be given to the UN Security Council, which would then provide limited details to any government that asked for information on itself or its companies. Ekeus said his commission might reconsider this policy. The commission does not intend to publish the names of individual scientists who worked in Iraq's nuclear program. The Iraqi government fears the scientists could become the objects of assassination attempts by Israeli agents. (Los Angeles Times, 9/28/91, p. A15 by Stanley Meisler and Jim Mann, "Iraq's Nuclear Suppliers May Never Be Named.") ..... On 9/28/91, Iraq agreed to free a group of 44 UN nuclear inspectors that had been detained in a parking lot in Baghdad for three days. David Kay, the team leader, said that the agreement allows the inspectors to return to their hotel with all the documents they have collected and the videotapes they have made. In return, the inspectors are to provide Iraq with an inventory list of all this material. (New York Times, 9/28/91, pp. 1,6 by Paul Lewis, "44 U.N. Inspectors Return to Hotel After Baghdad Lets Them Go Free.") ..... On 9/29/91, the UN nuclear inspection team resumed its work and visited four locations in Baghdad. David Kay said that the team finished its inventory on 9/29/91 and flew all the documents out of Iraq. The documents consisted of 5,000 pages of records, 19 hours of videotapes, and 3,000 photographs. Kay also said that Iraq's "uranium enrichment process was about 18 to 24 months away form full-scale, large-scale production." (Financial Times, 9/30/91, p. 6, "UN team resumes arms inspection in Baghdad.") ..... On 9/25/91, an Iraqi letter to the UN proposed that the inspection team draw up a list of the documents and photographs before removing them. On 9/27/91, the UN agreed to Iraq's proposal. (New York Times, 9/27/91, p. A6, "Texts of Iraqi Letter to U.N. and the Council President's Reply." ..... On 9/24/91, Iraq criticized David Kay and his inspection team and warned that their activities would endanger the lives of Iraqi personnel who are named in the documents. On 9/24/91, Iraq's representative to the UN, Abdul Amir Al-Anbari, sent a letter to the UN Security Council saying that Iraq would allow the UN inspections teams to use helicopters to carry out their work. (New York Times, 9/26/91, p. A9, "Iraq's Letters to U.N.: 'Not Within the Team's Competence.'") ..... On 9/23/91, the 45-member IAEA team inspected a Central Baghdad building, where they found documents related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program. After a 5-hour standoff, Iraqi officials seized all of the documents from the team. (Washington Times, 9/24/91, p. a1, by Peter Gregson, "Iraq detains team, seizes nuclear notes.") ..... US hopes to learn from documents gathered by a UN inspection team whether Iraq has bought low-grade uranium "feedstock" illegally from foreign suppliers. The PRC may have supplied Iraq with uranium "feedstock." The PRC, however, denies involvement in Iraq's nuclear program. (New York Times, 9/30/91, p. A3 by Michael Wines, "Documents Said to Name Iraq Suppliers.") ..... Another UN inspections team is scheduled to arrive in Iraq on 9/29/91, but their arrival may be delayed if the UN inspectors being held in a parking lot in Baghdad are not released. (Los Angeles Times, 9/27/91, pp. A1, A7 by Stanley Meisler, "U.N. Accepts Iraq Plan to End Crisis.") ..... When IAEA inspector David Kay visited Iraq on an inspection tour in 8/91 Iraq declared 17.6 pounds of irradiated uranium it had kept hidden on a truck for 4 months. (Washington Times, 9/25/91, pp. A1, A12 by Peter Gregson, "Inspectors Camp Out, Refuse to Return Tapes.") ..... Ambassador Yuliy Vorontsov of the USSR advised waiting a little longer for an Iraqi guarantee that UN helicopters will be allowed to help conduct inspections in Iraq. Vorontsov said that Soviet officials are "talking in Baghdad" about such matters. (Washington Post, 9/21/91, pp. A17, A19 by Ann Devroy, "Bush Advised to Set Arms Search Deadline: Concern Expressed Over Iraqi Delays.") ..... On 9/23/91 US President George Bush addressed the UN Security Council offering to provide a US Air Force escort into Iraq for UN helicopters trying to carry out inspections for nuclear weapons. Bush suggested giving Iraq 48 hours to allow the helicopters into their territory unescorted, before providing the armed escort. (Washington Times, 9/24/91, pp. A1, A9 by Frank J. Murray, "Bush Vows Saddam Gets No Compromise.") 


UN inspectors raided Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) personnel files in an attempt to learn who headed Iraq's nuclear weapons program. The No. 2 official at the IAEC, Jaafar Dhiah Jaafar, appears to only know about efforts to produce highly enriched uranium by 3 separate methods, not about weapons design. Inspectors discovered clear evidence of a weapons design program, including designs for building detonators. UN Special Commission chairman Rolf Ekeus commented that "there must be someone who links the enrichment and design sides." Ekeus sent a general order to inspectors to suspend contacts with Washington after reports that US team members had been in contact with Washington by satellite phone. Team leader David Kay and Special Commission deputy chairman Robert L. Galluci are from the US. The team has also obtained records regarding nuclear materials purchased by Iraq from foreign countries. ..... Related Article: An IAEA spokesman said that IAEC vice-president Dr. Ja'far Dhiah Ja'far "is not considered Mr. Big, but he is the most senior person we have so far contacted," and called him a "highly-respected scientist." Dr. Ja'far's former colleague at London's Imperial College, Dr. John Hassard, said he was a "brilliant physicist" and that "we should take the potential of the Iraqi nuclear programme very seriously." (Proliferation Issues, 11/7/91, p. 42 by Michael Chilvers, "United Kingdom." Original Source: Press Association (London), 10/2/91 by Michael Chilvers.) 


NEW YORK TIMES, 10/5/91, P. 2 
Iraq has tested missile delivery systems as part of its nuclear weapons development program, according to a preliminary report of the UN Special Commission in charge of destroying Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Other Iraqi programs involved enriching uranium and assembling nuclear bombs. David Kay, chief of the UN inspection team which went to Iraq last week, said documents seized by Iraq indicated an Iraqi program to use centrifuges to enrich uranium. Maurizio Ziffero, a scientist with the atomic energy agency, said there may have been mistakes in lax export policies that allowed Iraq to acquire machine tools from Western countries to support its centrifuge programs. Iraq may have utilized complex jet-nozzle enrichment technology. The director general of the IAEA, Hans Blix, refused to comment on Iraq's possible nuclear trading partners. 


NUCLEAR NEWS, 11/91, P. 65 
Material seized by IAEA inspectors indicated that the Iraqi nuclear weapons program was much more extensive than previously believed. The purpose of this inspection was to determine how far the Iraqis had progressed with their advanced centrifuge enrichment development. An earlier inspection team found a facility for centrifuge fabrication which was described as "better than Urenco's." The IAEA estimates that Iraq was about 18 months away from production of nuclear weapons material. Iraq was also found to possess advanced technical knowledge on the assembly of actual weapons following the production of fissile material. It had designs for weapons with shaped conventional explosives and neutron sources. There is concern that Iraq's future weapons production capability will not be eliminated by the removal of fissile material and destruction of facilities. Iraq still has a large team of qualified scientists and technicians within the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission. The IAEA has sent a proposal to the UN regarding a continuing program to monitor Iraqi nuclear activities. 


The IAEA released a list of 13 firms that supplied materials used in Iraq's nuclear program. IAEA director Hans Blix cautioned that materials manufactured by these companies were found in Iraq, but that the IAEA does not know whether the companies sent the materials to Iraq or whether Iraq used clandestine intermediaries.
  • From the US, Du Pont supplied 30 gallons of vacuum pump oil, and NUPRO supplied bellow valves.
  • From the FRG, H & H Metallform Maschinenbau and Vertriebs Ltd manufactured a flow forming machine;
  • Leybold Heraeus AG manufactured an electron beam welder;
  • Neue Magdeburger Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik Ltd manufactured 3 large centrifuges;
  • Degussa manufactured a large oxidation furnace;
  • Dr. Reutlinger & Soehne manufactured horizontal and vertical balancing machines; and
  • Balzer manufactured bellows valves.

    All of these items were used in Iraq's centrifuge enrichment program.

  • Also from the FRG, Arthur Pfeiffer Vakuum Technik Ltd produced very high temperature furnaces.
  • From Switzerland, Acomel Ltd produced high frequency converters of centrifuges;
  • VAT produced bellows valves;
  • and the Swiss-Swedish joint venture division of Asea Brown Boveri supplied a large cold isostatic press.
  • Japan's Hamamatsu produced a video camera with the speed and resolution necessary for use in weapons preparation.
  • An IAEA source also said there is strong evidence that at least one European technician helped Iraq with the use of sophisticated centrifuge equipment.

Since the IAEA seized documents in Iraq while performing an inspection in September, it has been under pressure to release the names of the companies involved as suppliers to Iraq. A Du Pont spokesman put the value of the oil it supplied to Iraq at $30,000, and explained that it obtained an export license in 2/89 without objection from the State or Energy departments. Congressional investigators have criticized Bush and Reagan's export policies on high-technology goods to Iraq. .....

Related Article: An electron-beam welder produced by Leybold-Heraeus AG, which is said by the IAEA to have "a special fixture for holding the rotor tube," was shipped to Iraq by Leybold's US subsidiary in Export, PA. The machine was used in Iraq's illicit enrichment of uranium. Valves supplied by Dr. Reutlinger & Soehne are said to be "capable of handling uranium hexaflouride." (Washington Post, 12/12/91, pp. A43, A51 by R. Jeffrey Smith, "13 Firms Named as Sources of Nuclear Items for Iraq.") 


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