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Iraqi Nuclear Abstracts: 1994
These abstracts are excerpted from the CNS Monitoring Proliferation Threats Nuclear Abstracts Database.  The material presented here is a representative sample of the material contained in the full database.  Abstracts do not include the full text of the original source, but do include all proliferation-relevant information.  CNS has made no attempt to evaluate the veracity or accuracy of the information provided by the original sources.  Access to the CNS Databases is provided on a subscription basis. For information on how to subscribe, please contact Chris Fitz at

IAEA To Transfer Batch Of Enriched Iraqi Uranium To Russia

JPRS-TND-94-003, 1/31/94, p. 40  

AFP (Paris), 1/9/94 

In accordance with an UN Gulf War ceasefire resolution to liquidate Iraq's nuclear weapons, the IAEA reached an agreement with Iraq in 4/93 to transfer "around 35 kilograms" of enriched uranium from Iraq to Russia, according to the IAEA's Maurizio Zifferero [1]. A first shipment of 33 kilograms left for Russia in 12/93. The IAEA is now preparing for a second shipment to leave in 1/94, which will complete the transfer. Twelve kilograms of unenriched uranium were shipped from Iraq to Russia in 11/93. 

Supporting sources: 

[1] "First Consignment of Iraqi Irradiated Fuel Flown to Russia," AFP (Paris), 12/6/93, in JPRS-TND-93-001, 1/6/94, p. 41. 

All Nuclear-Weapons-Usuable [sic] Material Now Removed From Iraq

IAEA Press Release (PR 94/3), 2/15/94 
On 2/12/94, the IAEA, with the help of the UN Special Commission on Iraq, removed the last of two consignments of HEU in the form of irradiated nuclear fuel from Iraq. This last shipment of HEU completes the removal of all of Iraq's declared stocks of nuclear-weapons-grade material in accordance with Resolution 687. The first shipment of HEU was removed from Iraq on 12/4/93. Both shipments of irradiated fuel were removed from Iraq under contract with the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy and a US subcontractor which provided crash-proof casks. The irradiated fuel was removed from the Iraqi Nuclear Centre at Tuwaitha and transported by road to Habbaniya airfield west of Baghdad. From the Habbaniya airfield the nuclear material was flown to Yekatinburg, Russia where it will be further transported to a reprocessing facility in Chelyabinsk, Russia. It is expected to take six months to dilute the HEU at the Chelyabinsk facility; the residual material will then be sold under IAEA supervision for use in peaceful nuclear activities. 

In 1991, kilogram quantities of HEU in the form of fresh nuclear reactor fuel were removed to Russia from Iraq. Also in 1991, during inspections under Resolution 687, IAEA inspectors discovered gram quantities of separated plutonium which were subsequently removed from Iraq in the same year. 

'Most Complex' Weapons Inspection Uncovers No Violations

UN Chronicle, 3/94, p. 70 
From 11/1/93 to 11/15/93, the IAEA's twenty-second nuclear inspection team conducted monitoring inspections at eight former "core" Iraqi nuclear facilities. Water samples were taken from the watersheds of Tigris and Euphrates rivers for a radiometric survey, and inspectors verified equipment inventories and data concerning Iraq's centrifuge program. The 17-member inspection team also conducted "detailed microscopic examinations" of nuclear material in Iraq that is believed to be of Brazilian origin. An UNSCOM report stated that, "further corroboration will be sought with the assistance of the Brazilian government," regarding these materials. On 11/8/93 UNSCOM reported that no weapons banned under UN Security Council resolution 687 were found in Iraq during recent inspections. 

Iraqi Nuclear Development and the Future Threat

Security Affairs, 4/94-5/94, pp. 4-5, by Amatzia Baram 
Iraq's secret nuclear program began in 1971 when Iraq and France concluded a secret agreement to construct an atomic military research facility at Tuwaitha. From 1972 to 1974, Iraq spent roughly $10 to $25 million per year on its nuclear program, a figure which soared to $300 million per year by 1976. After the destruction of Iraq's French-built Osiraq reactor by Israel in 6/81, Iraq intensified its quest for nuclear weapons, spending an average of $1.5 billion per year, from 1982 to 1990, on nuclear development. 

Iraq pursued three different methods of uranium enrichment, including electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS), gas centrifuge, and chemical enrichment. Iraq also experimented with plutonium separation and laser enrichment in the laboratory. Equipment for the EMIS (Electromagnetic Isotope Enrichment) (calutron) enrichment program, Iraq's most successful, was almost entirely developed by the Iraqis, while the centrifuge program largely utilized technology, material, and experts from Germany.

The Israeli government was reportedly aware of Iraq's gas centrifuge program and notified the US government prior to the Gulf War. Both the calutron and centrifuge programs in Iraq have been disassembled. However, nearly 2,000 machine tools and a number of the blueprints drawn up by either Iraqis or Europeans for equipment and facilities are still missing or unaccounted for. With a workforce of between 18,000 to 20,000 technicians, engineers, and scientists who had worked on the program, Iraq has retained the ability to revive a nuclear weapons program. Since these workers have now finished the task of reconstructing the electricity and other technical systems in Iraq, many of them are once again conducting nuclear research. Construction of an Iraqi atomic bomb could be completed in five to seven years once UN sanctions are lifted and monitoring becomes ineffective. 

U.N. Nuclear Team Heads For Baghdad

Executive News Service, 6/21/94  

Reuter, 6/21/94 

On 6/21/94, according to UN spokesman Roald Osphal, a 14-member UN nuclear team led by Garry Dillon went to Baghdad to install video cameras at the most important Iraqi sites in order to prevent Iraq from restarting its nuclear weapons program. The team's work was part of continuing preparations for future monitoring of Iraqi nuclear sites. On 6/28/94, Dillon said the team had installed a "camera installation in Um al- Ma'rik...and a bigger camera installation in Nasr" to monitor the machines at the facilities. The camera network consists of 13 remote-control video cameras and four film cameras [1]. 

Supporting Source: 

[1] Reuter, 6/28/94; in Executive News Service, 6/28/94, "U.N. Installs Cameras At Iraqi Nuclear Sites." 

Permanent IAEA Monitors Now On The Job In Iraq

Nucleonics Week, 9/1/94, pp. 16-17, by Mark Hibbs 
On 8/30/94, the IAEA informed US Ambassador to the UN Madeline Albright that during the week of 8/21/94 the IAEA posted resident inspectors in Iraq who will carry out routine and ad hoc inspections of Iraqi nuclear sites under the ongoing monitoring program. Inspection activities will include the collection of environmental samples to measure isotopes that will indicate nuclear activity is taking place and the checking of dual-use machine tools to ensure they are not employed for nuclear use. The IAEA has installed video cameras at a number of sites for further monitoring activities. The IAEA will monitor 24 sites that housed nuclear activities or activities supporting or related to Iraq's nuclear program before the Gulf War. 

According to Western officials, the IAEA has "no information" showing any continuing Iraqi nuclear development activities. 

IAEA Clean Chit On N. Weapons

Asian Recorder, 8/27/94-9/2/94, pp. 24196-97  

Telegraph, Statesman, and Times (London) 

On 9/2/94 it was reported that the UNSCOM and the IAEA have issued statements noting that all Iraqi nuclear and chemical weapons sites are out of commission. In 7/94 UNSCOM, the IAEA, and Iraq issued a joint statement recognizing Iraq's "constructive cooperation." The joint statement said that the long-term monitoring system will be in operation in 9/94 and will include over "20 tonnes of sensors and hundreds of electronic gadgets." 

Nuclear Bomb Is Within Iraq's Reach

Defense News, 9/12/94-9/18/94, pp. 3, 24 by Philip Finnegan, Theresa Hitchens, and Barbara Opall 
In mid-9/94, it was reported that senior US officials indicate that Iraq could have a nuclear device in three to six months if it obtained the needed enriched uranium or plutonium from the former Soviet Union (FSU). Although Iraq would need longer to develop a nuclear weapon deliverable by a missile or plane, it could easily load a device on a truck to be driven to a detonation site in a nearby county, according to one of the officials. On 9/8/94, US military expert Michael Eisenstadt said that Iraq had already been involved in attempts to acquire nuclear materials from the former Soviet Union. Eisenstadt added that Iraq's ability to obtain fissile material will increase as soon as the UN embargo is lifted and Iraq has the oil revenue needed to buy nuclear materials. Both the PRC and Russia are seeking to end the UN Security Council's economic embargo against Iraq. The strong ties between the Russian and Iraqi militaries also increase the possibilities that Iraq could obtain Russian nuclear materials. 

Much of Iraq's nuclear infrastructure remains viable, leading the US government to estimate that Iraq could produce enough plutonium or uranium indigenously to develop nuclear warheads, along with ballistic missile to deliver them, within five to seven years, or more simplistic nuclear devices deliverable by truck or plane within two years. US officials expect Iraq will now concentrate on enriching uranium by using gas centrifuge technology, which would be easily concealed and could be spread among several sites, and one US official has said that Iraq may still have much of the necessary equipment. According to Israeli intelligence officials, Iraq still has a nuclear procurement network in place. 

On 6/29/94, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said that Iraq's nuclear development capability has not yet been destroyed by international inspections. Science Applications International Corp. (US) Assistant Vice President David Kay said on 9/2/94 that the team of Iraqi nuclear scientists involved in the weapons program is still intact. 

Plutonium Traffic Boosts Israeli Fears Over Saddam

Times (London), 10/4/94, by Michael Evans and Michael Theodoulou 
On 10/4/94, it was reported that after a number of German, nuclear smuggling-related arrests in 1994, Iraqi officials are "known" to have met with Russian businessmen and a former high-ranking employee of a Russian nuclear facility "to assess the damage and find alternative routes for the fissile material." Although intelligence organizations have no information suggesting that Iraq or other "nuclear ambitious" countries have acquired weapons grade nuclear material from Russia, there is concern within the intelligence community that the German arrests may lead the Iraqis to try to smuggle nuclear materials using "established" Far Eastern contacts. Israel and Western intelligence organizations are concerned that a relaxation of sanctions against Iraq could lead to a generally "softer approach" towards that country. 

CIA: Iraq Dodges U.N. Monitoring

Washington Times, 10/7/94, p. A19 
The UN is developing one of the world's most advanced weapons-monitoring systems, ranging from an advanced network of cameras and sensors to overflights, in order to monitor Iraq's ability to develop nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. On 9/23/94, CIA Director R. James Woolsey warned that despite this highly advanced monitoring system, Iraq "is accelerating construction of deep underground shelters and tunnels to produce and store weapons of mass destruction." Military analyst Paul Beaver added that reports indicate that there are 7,000 Iraqi scientists working at hidden sites in the mountains. Beaver also said that the highly advanced monitoring system is short of personnel, and that the entire country could not be monitored by utilizing monitors and surveillance flights. 

However, on 11/15/94, Charles Duelfer, deputy executive chairman of UNSCOM, said that Iraq's Military Industrialization Commission head General Amer Rasheed pledged to give UN inspectors the data needed to fulfill their information requirements [1]. 

Supporting Sources: 

[1] Lean Barkho, Reuter, 11/15/94; in Executive News Service, 11/15/94, "Iraq Pledges To Give U.N. Missing Arms Data." 

Iraq Banked On Lifting Of Sanctions

Washington Times, 10/11/94, p. A1, by Arnaud de Borchgrave 
On 10/11/94, it was reported that during a recent conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 17 Russian General Officers stated that it was "highly likely" that Russian nuclear weapons designers had been lured to Iraq's weapons program by offers of high-paying jobs. 

On 9/23/94, CIA Director James Woolsey stated that Iraq has been able to avoid UN detection of its weapons of mass destruction program by siting production facilities inside mountains. According to Woolsey, "Iraq is accelerating construction of deep underground shelters and tunnels to produce and store weapons of mass destruction." The CIA estimates that about 7,000 Iraqi specialists are employed in Iraq's nuclear weapons program. Before the 1990 Gulf War, Western intelligence services failed to detect Iraq's nuclear weapons program, in which 18,000 Iraqi specialists were engaged. 

Iraq Nuclear Drive Halted, Monitoring Now In Place

Financial Times, 10/14/94, p. 5, by Mark Nicholson 
On 10/3/94, UN envoy Rolf Ekeus came to Baghdad to evaluate the monitoring system installed to observe Iraqi weapons programs [1]. According to Ekeus the "commission's ongoing monitoring and verification system is provisionally operational." In a report given to the UN Security Council on 10/13/94, Ekeus said that the monitoring system seeks to prevent Iraq from ever attaining nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, "in accordance with the Gulf war ceasefire resolution 687." 

According to Jaako Ylitako, the chief field officer for the UN Special Commission, approximately 12,000 employees were once working in Iraq's nuclear program. UNSCOM was involved in the dismantling of at least 82 sites which were known to be part of Iraq's efforts to build nuclear weapons. Inspectors from the IAEA will stay permanently in Iraq to monitor its major rivers for unusually high levels of radiation, which would be indicative of attempts to circumvent UN supervision. However, on 10/10/94, Ekeus said that, "we are confident Iraq is not capable of threatening Kuwait or elsewhere" with weapons of mass destruction [2]. 

Supporting Sources: 

[1] Mark Nicholson, Financial Times, 10/8/94, p. 6, "UN Report Ready On Iraqi Arms." [2] Evelyn Leopold, Reuter, 10/11/94; in Executive News Service, 10/12/94, "Iraq Said Unable To Use Weapons Of Mass Destruction." [3] Leon Barkho, Reuter, 10/6/94; in Executive News Service, 10/6/94, "U.N. Says Iraq's Arms Monitoring Operational." [4] Evelyn Leopold, Reuter, 10/10/94; in Executive News Service, 10/10/94, "Ekeus Report Starts Testing For Iraqi Monitoring." 

U.N. Sends Nuclear Inspectors Team To Iraq

Executive News Service, 10/15/94  

Reuter, 10/15/94, by Abbas Salman 

On 10/15/94, UN spokesman Roald Osphal said that a seven-member UN nuclear inspection team went to Baghdad on 10/14/94 to monitor Iraq's nuclear weapons. Osphal said that the team, led by IAEA official Garry Dillon, would spend some ten days in Iraq. Dillon, who returned to Bahrain after taking water samples from 16 sites, said that the IAEA was keeping two team members in Baghdad in order to conduct undeclared inspections [1]. 

Supporting Source: 

[1] Reuter, 10/21/94; in Executive News Service, 10/21/94, "U.N. Team Finds Iraqis Cooperative." 

U.N. Arms Control In Iraq Lacks Funds

Executive News Service, 11/9/94  

UPI, 11/9/94 

On 11/9/94, UNSCOM Chairman Rolf Ekeus said that the UN Special Commission on Iraq may cease to function by 2/95 because of critical financial difficulties. The statement was made in a letter from Ekeus to the President of the Security Council on 11/3/93 [1]. UNSCOM's monitoring system, which is considered to be the most sophisticated arms verification system ever created, began functioning in 10/94. UNSCOM requires $25 million to continue its operations in 1995, which includes $5 million needed for 12/94 [1]. 

Supporting Sources: 

[1] UN Weekly, 11/15/94,"Special Commission On Iraq Begins Plan To Close Operation For Lack Of Funds." 

Baghdad Steered Dedicated Effort To Enrich Using MLIS, AVLIS

NuclearFuel, 11/21/94, pp. 7-8, by Mark Hibbs 
Recent revelations regarding Iraqi efforts to enrich uranium using the laser isotope separation method have cast doubts on Iraq's claim to have fully disclosed all information on its nuclear weapons program to the UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM). On 10/22/94, the IAEA stated in a report to the UN Security Council that Iraq admitted that it had pursued laser enrichment from 1981 until 1987 [1]. UNSCOM executive chairman Rolf Ekeus said that Iraq "had really worked at laser isotope separation, something they had denied or kept withholding and so they'd been lying about it for quite a while." In 10/91, Iraq categorically denied that it had pursued laser enrichment. Ekeus said that the information about the laser program "gives you a feeling of insecurity again that there was no openness." 

Based on intelligence information acquired in 5/94, IAEA inspectors visited the Baghdad Technical University Laser Department, Baghdad University College of Science, and facilities at the former uranium plant at Tarmiya to look for possible evidence of a laser enrichment program. 

In 9/94, five specialists in laser enrichment assisted in the investigation. The experts were initially informed by Iraqi officials that Iraq had worked only on established techniques for uranium enrichment, including centrifuge, gaseous diffusion, and electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS). However, after five days of discussion between the IAEA and the Iraqi officials, one Iraqi expert told the IAEA that the Laser Section of the Physics Department at the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center (Department 6240), was directed by the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission to work on laser isotope enrichment in 1981. Department 6240 was established in 1977 in Buildings 9 and 10 at Tuwaitha. The Iraqi expert said, "We started in two lines, one looking after molecular (MLIS) and the other the atomic direction advanced vapor laser isotope separation (AVLIS)." 

The laser enrichment project was cut back in 1987, and important staff members were relocated to the Tuwaitha EMIS project. So far, the IAEA has not found any proof that Iraq had enriched UF6 or uranium and it does not believe that Iraq had acquired the basic technology needed in the development of either AVLIS or MLIS capabilities. Iraqi experts, however, said that during the mid-80s they were able to excite, "with difficulty," less than one gram of UF6 during MLIS experiments in Tuwaitha. During the experiments, Iraqi experts tracked the reduction in cell internal pressure, and they claimed to have used X-ray diffusion to ascertain that UF5 and UF4 were present. Iraqi AVLIS experiments in Tuwaitha were also disclosed by IAEA, and inspectors discovered coating devices confirming intelligence information. Smears taken on the inside of the coating equipment's vacuum chambers revealed no alpha contamination, indicating that they had not been employed in uranium enrichment. 

Iraq's Department 6240 tried to develop a 10-watt copper vapor laser, but it could not establish a stable process. Iraq's disclosure that it was unable to produce uranium metal vapor for the AVLIS project surprised IAEA inspectors as earlier inspections had revealed that Iraq had metallic uranium at its disposal by late 1986. Lately Iraq has maintained that laser activities were revamped in 1986, and that specialists "still did not have the means for high-temperature evaporation (over 2,000 degrees C) nor...the suitable laser power density" needed for the use of uranium vapor in lasers. 

Supporting Source: 

[1] UN Weekly, 8/11/94, "Iraq Admits Exploring Feasibility Of Producing Enriched Uranium." 


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