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Attachment 1.
The components of Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme

 

1. The acquisition of weapons-usable nuclear material

1.1 Procurement and indigenous production of uranium compounds

1.1.1 Material declared and subject to IAEA safeguards
1.1.2 Procurement of yellow cake and uranium dioxide
1.1.3 The Al Qaim uranium recovery facility
1.1.4 The Al Jesira uranium conversion facility
1.1.5 Uranium pilot plant development at Tuwaitha
1.1.6 Summary
Table 1.1 Material balance - Tuwaitha uranium projects

1.2 Development of indigenous uranium enrichment capabilities

1.2.1 Electro-magnetic isotope separation (EMIS)
1.2.2 Gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment
1.2.3 Gas centrifuge uranium enrichment
1.2.4 Chemical and ion-exchange uranium enrichment
1.2.5 Laser isotopic separation
1.2.6 Summary

1.3 The intended diversion of research reactor fuel

1.3.1 The "crash programme"
1.3.2 The recovery of HEU- Project 601/603
1.3.3 The further enrichment of the HEU- Project 521 C
1.3.4 The conversion to metal of HEU - Project 602/602B
1.3.5 Summary
Table 1.3 Iraq's research reactor fuel inventory as verified by the IAEA on 19/20 November 1990

1.4 The production and separation of plutonium

1.4.1 The indigenous reactor - Project 182
1.4.2 The use of the IRT 5000 reactor
1.4.3 The separation of plutonium
1.4.4 Summary

2. Weaponisation

2.1 Background
2.2 Facilities
2.3 Research and development
2.4 Missile delivery system
2.5 Programme documentation
2.6 Summary

 

1. The acquisition of weapons-usable nuclear material

1.1. Procurement and production of uranium compounds

1.1.1 Material declared and subject to IAEA Safeguards

a. Low enriched uranium

In 1982 Iraq imported from Italy 1,767 kg of uranium enriched to 2.6% in U-235 in the form of UO2 powder. The material has been verified and fully accounted for and remains in Iraq, under the control of the IAEA, at Location C (a storage complex close to Tuwaitha), in the same form as it was received.

b. Natural uranium

In 1979, Iraq imported from Italy 4,006 kg of natural uranium as U02 powder and 508 kg uranium as UO2 in the form of pressed fuel pellets. The UO2 powder and the pellets were used in the Experimental Research Laboratory for Fuel Fabrication (ERLFF) for research and development activities. Of the 4,514 kg uranium received, 4,323 kg uranium have been accounted for, leaving 191 kg not accounted for. This amount is less than the declared accumulation of "material unaccounted for" and measured discards over the period 1982 to 1990 and may be considered to be consistent with the nature of the facility operation. The balance of this material has been verified and fully accounted for and remains in Iraq, under the control of the IAEA, at Location C.

c. Depleted uranium

In 1979, Iraq imported from Italy, 6,005 kg of depleted uranium as UO2 powder. The material has been verified and fully accounted for and remains in Iraq, under the control of the IAEA, at Location C, in the same form as it was received.

d. Highly enriched uranium

Iraq's inventory of research reactor fuel which was imported from Russia and France contained almost 50 kg of highly enriched uranium, based on pre-irradiation values. All of Iraq's inventory of research reactor fuel, as listed in Table 1.3, was fully accounted for and removed from Iraq - the last consignment having been shipped in February 1994.

1.1.2 Procurement of yellowcake and uranium dioxide

In the period 1979 through 1982, Iraq procured yellowcake from both Portugal and Niger and uranium dioxide from Brazil. At that time, neither Niger nor Brazil were party to the NPT, nor had either concluded a comprehensive safeguards agreement, which would have required notification to the Agency of the transfers of such material to Iraq. Portugal, a party to the NPT, but without a comprehensive safeguards agreement at that time, notified the Agency of the transfers to Iraq.

The yellowcake procured from Portugal was supplied in two batches. Batch 1, received on 20 June 1980, consisted of 429 drums containing 138,098 kg of yellowcake and batch two, received as three consignments over the period from 17 May 1982 through 20 June 1982, consisted of 487 drums containing 148,348 kg yellow cake. By letters dated 6 August 1981, 1 June 1982 and 21 July 1982, Iraq notified the IAEA of the receipt of this material, which confirmed the complementary notifications received from Portugal at the time of shipment. Iraq's entire holding of the material of this origin was verified against comprehensive packing lists provided to the IAEA by the Iraqi counterpart, detailing the original production lot number together with weight data for each drum. Verification measures involved weighing, non-destructive assay and sampling and analysis from which it was concluded that all of the yellowcake received from Portugal was fully accounted for and remained intact, as shipped, except for the loss of about 40 kg from a drum damaged during Iraq's salvaging/concealment activities in 1991. This material remains in Iraq, under the control of the IAEA, at Location C, in the same form as it was received.

The yellowcake procured from Niger was also shipped in two batches. Batch one, received on 8 February 1981, consisted of 432 drums containing 137,435 kg of yellowcake and batch two, received on 18 March 1982, consisted of 426 drums containing 139,409 kg yellowcake. By letter dated 6 August 1981 Iraq notified the IAEA of the receipt of the first consignment but did not provide notification of receipt of the second consignment. Iraq's entire holding of material of this origin was verified against comprehensive packing lists for both batches, provided to the IAEA by the Iraqi counterpart, detailing the original production lot number together with weight data for each drum. Verification measures involved weighing, non-destructive assay and sampling and analysis from which it was concluded that all of the yellowcake received from Niger was fully accounted for. This material remains in Iraq, under the control of the IAEA, at Location C, in the same form as it was received.

Iraq did not report to the IAEA the 1981/1982 import of uranium dioxide (UO2) from Brazil and its existence in Iraq was only recognised at the time of Iraq's revised declaration of 7 July 1991. Verification and accountancy of the UO2 procured from Brazil was complicated by the fact that Iraq was unable to provide adequate shipping documents for all of the material and declared that it had used some 4,422 kg out of its estimated total receipts of 27,000 kg UO2. Iraq declared that there had been two receipts of UO2 from Brazil, the first in August 1981, consisting of 7,914 kg UO2 in 120 drums, and a second receipt in the first half of 1982 consisting of 128 drums containing from 17,300 to 19,200 kg UO2. Iraq claimed not to know how much material was in the second shipment asserting that it had arrived without shipping documents and that the material had not been weighed in Iraq. The only available documentation for the two shipments was a list of weights for the first shipment and a list of analytical results for the second. Verification activities carried out during IAEA-12 showed the amount on inventory to be considerably less than declared - thus putting into question the reported consumption. Furthermore, the varied and unusual physical forms of the UO2 raised doubts as to its origin.

An extensive verification effort was subsequently undertaken involving weighing, non-destructive assay, sampling and analysis and microscopic examination of the physical form and properties of a comprehensive series of samples of the material. In this way the range of powders and granules comprising the Brazilian UO2 material were characterised and shown to be distinctly different from the material overtly imported or indigenously produced.

The task was finally completed in July 1994 when, with the co-operation of the Government of Brazil, it was possible to confirm the origin of the UO2 on the basis of the chemical and physical characteristics determined by the IAEA. At this time it was also possible to gain confirmation of the amount of material shipped to Iraq. These data enabled the IAEA to verify and balance Iraq's declared usage against the material remaining on inventory. Of the 24,260 kg UO2 received by Iraq from Brazil, 3,600 kg was used to produce UCl4, UF4, and uranium metal - the rest has been verified and remains in Iraq, under IAEA control, at Location C.

1.1.3 The Al Qaim uranium recovery facility

The phosphate rock deposits of western Iraq contain uranium in the range of 50-80 ppm. A large deposit at Akashat is mined to supply a phosphate fertiliser plant at Al Qaim, some 150 km distant. During the period 1982 to 1984 a plant (Unit 340) for the extraction of uranium from the process phosphoric acid was constructed and commissioned. Operating at design capacity the plant should have produced 103 tonnes of uranium per year - equivalent to 146 tons of yellowcake - assuming 317 operating-days and processing 3,600 m^3 per day of phosphoric acid containing 75 PPM uranium at a recovery efficiency of 93%. Over its six years of declared operation the plant should have produced about 600 tonnes of uranium contained in nearly 900 tonnes of yellowcake. However, Iraq declared a production of only 109 tonnes of uranium in 168 tonnes of yellowcake, i.e., less than 20% of the design capacity of the plant.

The investigation of this apparent inconsistency was greatly facilitated by the presence of a set of operating records - daily production reports - covering the period from 1986 through 1990 and containing day-by-day data on input and output phosphoric acid flows and their respective uranium contents, the relative levels of two key chemical tanks and the number of drums (including drum serial numbers) of yellowcake produced.

An extensive evaluation of these data was undertaken to assess the consistency of the daily operating data with the yellowcake production. On the basis of sampling at the Akashat mine, a relationship was derived between the uranium and phosphorous pentoxide content of the ore, which enabled the calculation of uranium in the input acid stream. On this basis it was possible to derive a theoretical estimate of the plant production which was in very good agreement with the declared production.

This analysis also showed that the poor performance of the plant was due to the low assay of the feed acid (~ 60% of design value), the inability of the acid plant to meet the design flow-rate of 3,600 m^3/day (~ 50% of design flow-rate), failure to sustain the 93% design recovery efficiency (actual values typically 78%) and the fact that the plant on average operated only 214 days per year as opposed to the design operation of 317 days per year.

1.1.4 The Al Jesira uranium conversion facility

The Al Jesira uranium dioxide and uranium tetrachloride (UCl4) production facility, located west of Mosul in northern Iraq combined a UO2 plant of 185 MT/year design capacity, designated as Project 212 and code named the "Wax Plant", and a UCl4 plant of 105 MT/year design capacity, designated Project 244. Both plants sustained considerable damage through aerial bombardment and were thus rendered inoperable in January 1991. Inspection of the facility was complicated by actions taken by Iraq to conceal the true function of the facility which involved the removal of all nuclear material from the facility, the transfer of 2,500 cubic metres of uranium bearing liquid waste to a petroleum storage tank, near Mosul, some 30 km distant from Al Jesira, and the removal and burial of uranium contaminated plant components and waste disposal system pipework at Al Adaya.

a. UO2 production

The UO2 production plant was based on designs provided by a Brazilian company. The plant, which was constructed by Iraq in the period July 1985 to July 1989, was based on the well-proven technology involving the dissolution of the input yellowcake in nitric acid followed by multi-stage solvent extraction, ammonium diursnate precipitation, its filtration and calcination to uranium trioxide, from which the UO2 was produced through hydrogen reduction. Design production capacity was 23.7 kg UO2/hr. The plant began its commissioning phase of operations on 5 July 1989, which continued through to the end of January 1990. This phase was beset with difficulties and the plant operating records show that only 8,879 kg UO2 was produced. The plant went into routine operation in February 1990 and, apart from being shut down during the month of April of that year, continued to operate until 2 December 1990, by which time all of the available Al Qaim yellowcake had been processed. It was necessary to prepare the plant to process either Niger or Portuguese yellowcake and, during December and early January 1991, there was sporadic operation to clean up waste and scrap and to prepare the process for a new feed material of different chemical form.

The Al Jesira UO2 plant produced 420 drums containing 99,457 kg UO2 (86,607 kg uranium). Of these 420 drums, five were used for UCl4 production at Al Jesira, four were used for UCl4 production in the Chemical Engineering laboratory (Tuwaitha Building 85), and two were used for uranium metal production in the Experimental Research Laboratory for Fuel Fabrication (ERLFF - Tuwaitha Bldg 73). The remaining 409 drums are currently stored under IAEA control at Location C.

Al Qaim yellowcake containing 98,512 kg uranium was received at Al Jesira and was converted into UO2 containing 86,607 kg uranium, resulting in a difference of 11,905 kg uranium. This difference has been investigated in detail and it is estimated that 10,140 kg uranium can be accepted to be present in waste products and damaged plant components, leaving 1,765 kg uranium unaccounted for. This figure is deliberately conservative and could be reduced if greater allowance were to be made for losses resulting from accidental dispersal through Iraq's concealment activities, losses to solvent extraction fluids and losses through dispersal resulting from the aerial bombardment.

b. UCl4 production

The UCl4 production plant, Project 244, was constructed at the Al Jesira site based on design and operating experience gained from the UCl4 pilot plant (Project 242) built and operated in Building 85 at Tuwaitha. Construction of the Al Jesira plant started in February 1988 and operations commenced on 1 February 1990. The plant consisted of two parallel production lines with a combined capacity of 105 MT/year of UCl4. Only one line was operational.

The UCl4 plant operation was limited to a period of 72 hours during the month of February 1990, when it was used to produce a total of 1,200 kg UCl4, containing 780 kg uranium from an input feed of 1,036 kg UO2 containing 901 kg uranium and generated waste containing 121 kg uranium. Following this brief period of operation the plant was shutdown for maintenance and repairs and was never again brought back into operation. All of the UCl4 produced at Al Jesira is stored, under IAEA control, at Location C.

Although it seems inconsistent that the plant would be shut down after only a few days operation, it should be recalled that the plant had been commissioned well ahead of the need for its contribution to the supply of UCl4 for the EMIS programme. The commissioning of separators at the Tarmiya EMIS facility began in February 1990 and only eight separators were in partial service before operations were interrupted by the aerial bombardment in January 1991. Even in full operation the Tarmiya plant would have required an annual feed of no more than 3,000 kg UCl4, an amount well within the production capacity of Project 242 (Tuwaitha Building 85).

1.1.5 Uranium pilot plant development at Tuwaitha

The principal production and use of uranium compounds at Tuwaitha took place in three locations:

• Chemical laboratories (Building 15B) which processed Brazilian-origin UO2 to produce UF4, uranium metal and UF6.

• Experimental Research Laboratory for Fuel Fabrication (ERLFF - Building 73) which processed Brazilian origin UO2, Al Jesira origin UO2 and Al Qaim yellowcake to produce UO2, U3O8, UO3, UO4, UF4 and uranium metal.

• Chemical Engineering Research laboratories (Building 85) which processed Brazilian origin UO2 and Al Jesira origin UO2 to produce UCl4.

Of particular note is the development of Iraq's capabilities with respect to the production and casting of uranium metal, which originated in Tuwaitha in the middle of 1986. The first phase of this work, which continued through March 1987 was carried out in Building 15 and involved some 30 experiments involving the magnothermic reduction of UF4. The experiments resulted in the production of discs of uranium metal of eight centimetre diameter, having individual weights in the range 600 to 900 grams - 19 such discs remain on inventory at Location C. The experimental work was discontinued in Building 15 and work was not resumed until the beginning of 1988 when facilities in Building 73 were then utilised for the task. The early work in this second phase concentrated on the development of methods to improve the purity of the UF4 feed material and it was not until November 1988 that uranium metal production recommenced. The metal produced in this phase was again in disc form but somewhat thicker - termed "derbies" to distinguish them from the previously produced "discs" - and typically weighed 1.3 kg. Phase three involved continued efforts to improve the purity of the UF4 feed material and a change in the physical form of the produced uranium metal to a solid cylinder of about 5 cm diameter and similar length with a typical weight of 1.5 kg.

By late-1989, this research and development had enabled Iraq to establish its capability to produce uranium metal of high purity with relatively small process losses. On the basis of this capability a larger scale plant was designed and constructed in Building 64 at Tuwaitha with the capacity to produce 20 kg of uranium metal per day. The plant was still under commissioning in January 1991 when Building 64 was heavily damaged in the bombardment of Tuwaitha. Despite the severe damage to the building, much of the equipment, which was general purpose in nature, was salvaged and is currently located at the Al Zahf Al Kabir metallurgical facility in the Taji area, where it is subject to ongoing monitoring and verification.

Some 1,150 kg of natural uranium metal was made in the period 1986 to January 1991, of which 1,000 kg remains in Iraq under IAEA control. About 150 kg was used in a series of metal purification and melting and casting experiments at Tuwaitha and Al Atheer. The most interesting pieces cast were a 5 cm diameter sphere and a small number of 5 cm diameter hemispheres, except for 10 small uranium bullets and 9 cast rods, all castings and machined uranium pieces were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq by dissolution in HNO3 as a concealment measure. Examination of the bullets and bars indicates only rudimentary melting and casting capabilities but, as claimed by Iraq, and supported by PC-3 programme documentation, Iraq expected that considerable improvements would be achieved through utilisation of the more advanced equipment that was soon to be installed at Al Atheer. Much of that equipment was blocked by the export embargo imposed by Security Council resolution 661 (6 August 1990) and all key equipment that was installed at Al Atheer was subsequently destroyed under IAEA supervision.

Iraq's exploration of UF4 and UF6 production technology spanned the period 1981-1985 and, in 1986, led to the design of Project 206. This project was based on a fluidised bed reactor using anhydrous hydrofluoric acid to produce 2 kg/day of either UF4 or UF6. Before construction was completed, Project 206 was modified to produce 1-2 kg UF4/batch and was renamed Project 231. However, according to the Iraqi counterpart, the modified equipment was never operated and attention was focused on rotary kiln technology.

Project 226, based on rotary kiln was technology, was constructed and commenced operation in mid 1986. This project used UO2 of Brazilian origin as the feed material which was reacted with Freon 12 as the fluorinating agent, to produce UF4. Project 226 was operated intermittently until 1991 and produced some 250 kg of UF4. A small quantity of the UF4 produced was used in 1987 to make uranium metal but the stated purpose of Project 226 was to provide a secure supply of UF4 for eventual conversion to UF6 to satisfy the needs of the gas centrifuge development programme. In the event, the material was not required and remains on inventory in Location C.

The lack of success with Project 206 also prompted consideration of the utility of batch processes using boat type reactors and small-scale experiments were carried out in 1985-1986 using both Fluorox as the fluorinating agent as well as direct fluoridation using fluorine gas. On the basis of this work, the direct fluorination method was selected for further development and a larger laboratory-scale boat type reactor unit, with a capacity of 50 g UF6 per batch, was constructed in 1986. This unit operated in Building 15B at Tuwaitha until mid-1987 when it was transferred to Rashdiya. The unit was replicated at Rashdiya and the two units constituted Project 234.

According to the Iraqi counterpart the amount of UF6 produced by the unit operating at Tuwaitha was 3-4 kg and by both units operating at Rashdiya was about 4 kg. In 1988 a third unit (Project 235) was constructed at Rashdiya, based on Project 234 designs, and this unit is reported to have been used to produce a further 500 grams UF6. Several other Projects for UF6 production and purification are documented by the Iraqi counterpart, including Projects 230, 232, 233, 236, 237, 238 and 238A, but were declared not to have proceeded beyond the design stage.

The total recorded production of UF6 is about 8 kg which, according to the Iraqi counterpart was hydrolysed to liquid waste except for 500 grams which is contained in a standard 1S cylinder. The hydrolysed waste and the remaining 500 grams UF6 are on inventory in Location C.

According to the Iraqi counterpart Projects 234 and 235 provided adequate supplies of UF6 to support the development work of the centrifuge programme. The counterpart also declared its confidence in its capability to exploit flame reactor technology, which was the basis of Project 236, to provide sufficient UF6 to support the pre-production development phase. This expressed confidence was based on their declared acquisition of an assembly drawing of a 1970s design flame reactor.

Research and development work on UCl4 production and purification at Tuwaitha is well recorded in IAEC/PC-3 documentation. Initial experiments commenced in 1982 in Buildings 9 and 15 and later, circa 1987, were transferred to Building 85, the Chemical Engineering Research Laboratories where activities continued until January 1991. Fifteen laboratory-scale research projects and pilot-scale production and purification projects were implemented during the nine years period. Many different feed materials, including, UO2, UO3, U3O8 and UO4:2H2O were tried as were different reaction techniques such as fluid bed, static bed (boat type) and rotary reactors with liquid, vapour and gas phase chlorination.

The extensive experimentation culminated in the design and construction of a pilot scale production unit, Project 242, in Building 85, which used UO2 as the feed material and gas phase chlorination. Project 242 which had a production capacity of 20-40 kg UCl4 per day commenced operation in 1988 and continued, on a campaign basis, until the end of 1990. During this period some 5,000 kg UCl4 was produced using Brazilian UO2 and Al Jesira UO2 as feed material. Project 242 was very successful and the chemical and operating experience so gained was used to design the industrial scale UCl4 facility at Al Jesira.

Three projects, 241 B, 245 and 244 were implemented from 1987 to 1990 to establish the capability to meet the purity requirements for EMIS feed material. These projects which were all based on sublimation were used to purify some 1,100 kg of UCl4.

The nuclear material balance for these Tuwaitha locations (Table 1.1) shows a total receipt of 14,789 kg uranium of which 13,117 kg uranium has been verified and remains on inventory at Location C. The resultant inventory difference or "material unaccounted for" (MUF) is 1,672 kg uranium which represents 11.3 % of the total receipts. Some components of this MUF comprise strata which are physically present but difficult to verify, with any certainty, such as the Building 73 waste, plant hold-up, uranium losses to metal slag and others for which Iraq has provided a plausible explanation backed up by documentation, such as the hydrolysis of UF6 and the dissolution of uranium metal. Conservative assessment of these components would reduce the MUF to 1,086 kg uranium or 7.3 % of the receipts. Given that some large inventory strata are inhomogeneous and thus potentially subject to large sampling errors, and accepting that the loss of some material, due to the bombardment and Iraq's salvage and concealment activities, cannot be discounted, the MUF value is not considered to be unreasonable.

1.1.6 Summary

1. Iraq's failure to provide complete notification to the IAEA of its importation of UO2 (from Brazil) and yellowcake (from Niger) was in contravention of its safeguards agreement with the IAEA

2. None of the imported yellowcake had been used by Iraq and was fully accounted for through IAEA safeguards verification measures. This material remains under IAEA control at Location C and is routinely verified by the IAEA.

3. An amount of 3,600 kg of the natural uranium dioxide imported from Brazil was used for the production of uranium tetrachloride, uranium tetrafluoride, uranium hexafluoride and uranium metal and has been accounted for in those converted forms. The remainder of the UO2 material of this origin has been unambiguously identified and fully accounted for. This material remains under IAEA control at Location C and is routinely verified by the IAEA.

4. As a result of its extensive audit, the IAEA is satisfied that Iraq's declared production of yellowcake at the Al Qaim facility, although well below the full design capacity of the plant, is consistent with the plant's mode of operation and is in good agreement with the plant operating records.

5. Taking into account the losses due to plant damage resulting from the bombardment and measures taken by Iraq to attempt to conceal the function of the plants, the amounts of uranium dioxide and uranium tetrachloride declared by Iraq to have been produced by the Al Jesira facilities are consistent with the plant input.

6. Again, taking into account the losses due to building damage resulting from the bombardment and measures taken by Iraq to attempt to conceal the function of the buildings, the amounts of uranium compounds and uranium met al declared by Iraq to have been produced at Tuwaitha are consistent with the amounts of feed material consumed.

7. The total amount of material unaccounted for, potentially arising from normal process losses taken together with the circumstantial losses referred to above, is determined to be just less than 3,000 kg natural uranium which is equivalent to 1.5% of the non-static inventory.

Table 1.1
Material balance - Tuwaitha uranium projects

Receipts into Tuwaitha uranium projects

Material origin

Compound type

Compound kg

Uranium kg

Brazilian

UO2

3,600

3,150

Al Jesira

UO2

2,504

2,180

Al Qaim

yellowcake

14,072

9,459

 

Total

14,789

 
Verified accumulated inventory
  UO2   2,186
  UO3   3,188
  UO4   3,667
  UCl4   1,917
  uranium metal   1,023
  UF4   226
  ADU   598
  Miscellaneous   330
 
Total 13,117

Material unaccounted for (MUF)

1,672
 
Unverified components of MUF
  Hydrolysed UF6   7
  Waste- Building 73   206
  Dissolved uranium metal   150
  Uranium metal slag   60
  Plant holdup   163
 
Total 586
Adjusted material unaccounted for 1086

Iraq's former holdings of research reactor fuel are listed in Table 3.1.

 

1.2. Development of indigenous uranium enrichment capabilities

As stated in the FFCD, Iraq's strategy for the acquisition of weapons-usable nuclear material, established at the end of 1981, was to use electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS) as the primary technology. The strategy foresaw the development of industrial-scale plants with production capacities of 15 kg/year of highly enriched uranium (HEU - 93%), based initially on natural uranium feed. Gaseous diffusion was chosen as a subsidiary technology with the declared objective of building a plant to produce 5 tonnes/year of low enriched uranium (LEU) containing 4% U-235 to be used as the feed material for the EMIS plants. Assuming that the EMIS plants could have been optimised to use LEU feed material, the combination of the two technologies could have more than tripled the capacity of each EMIS plant.

Other technologies such as gas centrifuge enrichment and laser isotopic separation (LIS) were not included in the initial strategy because of their greater technical complexity and dependency on equipment subject to export controls. Nonetheless, LIS and chemical and ion-exchange uranium enrichment processes were explored, although, according to the Iraqi counterpart, only centrifuge technology was taken beyond laboratory-scale exploitation.

In 1987, faced with what Iraq considered to be overwhelming difficulties in the further development of gaseous diffusion technology, reduced priority was given to this programme and the released resources were assigned to the development of gas centrifuge enrichment.

1.2.1 Electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS)

According to the Iraqi counterpart and substantiated by PC-3 documentation, the EMIS development programme was organised into three phases with the first phase concentrating on research and development activities using "R40" magnet/separation chambers. These units which were designed to have ion-beam paths of radius 40 centimetres, were 1:2.5 scale versions of the anticipated production-scale units. Phase one was established in Tuwaitha and continued over the period 1982 through 1987. It involved the construction and operation of an electromagnet (Project 101) and two different magnet/separator systems (Projects 102 and 103) all of which were in operation in Building 85 from the beginning of 1985.

The second phase, which overlapped phase one, commenced in 1983 and reached an experimental stage in 1987. Phase two was devoted to development of R50 and R100 pre-production-scale units (Project 104), as well as 1:5 scale model units (Project 105) which were used to investigate multi-magnet series operation as an analytical tool for the production phase configuration. Starting from 1985, a total of one R50 and three R100 magnet/separator systems were built and installed in Building 80 at Tuwaitha and were operated until 1991. According to programme progress reports obtained by IAEA-6, none of these separators achieved more than 20% of their design capacity. This performance is in keeping with Iraq's declaration that the total production of enriched uranium from the development separators at Tuwaitha was only 640 grams with an average enrichment of 7.2%.

The design work for the third phase, the production phase, which proceeded concurrently with the other two phases, was finalised in 1987 and foresaw two identically equipped industrial scale plants, Al Tarmiya and Al Sharqat, each with 70 R120 separators for the production of uranium enriched to about 20% and with 20 R60 separators for the production of HEU (93%). The design production of each facility was 15 kg HEU per year, based on natural uranium feed, with the potential of a more than three-fold increase in that production by using LEU as the feed material.

A foreign civil engineering contractor was employed to construct many of the principal buildings at Al Tarmiya but according to Iraq, there was no foreign involvement in the construction of Al Sharqat.

Iraqi records show that installation and commissioning of R120 separators at Al Tarmiya commenced at the beginning of 1990 and that, by the time of the Gulf War, a total of eight R120 separators were in limited operation. Preparations had begun for the second group of seventeen R120 separators to be installed but nothing was accomplished, Iraq's declaration of the total enriched uranium produced at Al Tarmiya as some 685 grams at an average enrichment of 3% is equivalent to only about 20% of design, both in terms of mass and enrichment, but is not inconsistent with the reduced performance that might be expected during commissioning.

Iraq states that it had interrupted operations on the 15 December 1990 and that the damage caused by the bombardment prevented re-commencement.

Construction of the sister facility at Al Sharqat was about 80% complete at the end of 1990. There are no indications to suggest that any EMIS process equipment was ever installed.

1.2.2 Gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment.

a. Background

Iraq declared the existence of a programme to develop the gaseous diffusion process for uranium enrichment to IAEA-3, which arrived in Iraq coincident with the issue of Iraq's 7 July 1991 declaration, which did not include this information. Iraq stated that exploratory work on gaseous diffusion technology had commenced in 1982 with the intention of developing the capability either to directly produce highly enriched uranium or to produce low enriched uranium for use as feed material for the EMIS process. The Iraqi counterpart explained that work had initially concentrated on the development of suitable porous barrier material, on obtaining a theoretical understanding of flow through porous tubes and on diffusion plant cascade design. By 1985 some progress had been achieved in producing barrier material, therefore effort was also placed on compressor, diffuser and heat exchanger design. It rapidly became apparent that a very large industrial infrastructure would be required to manufacture these items and that this infrastructure was beyond the national capabilities at that time.

It was further explained that a decision had been made in 1987 to revise the mission of the team assigned to this task (Group One) such that priority was to be given to the exploitation of gas centrifuge technology for uranium enrichment. Some work on the gaseous diffusion process did continue, although it was limited to research and development on the barrier material and on carrying out practical tests on some compressors that had been procured. Iraq stated that its attempts to reverse engineer a screw compressor procured from the UK were unsuccessful.

b. Research and development

Work had commenced in 1982 with literature surveys of data on separation barriers, followed by experiments on porous tube manufacture and on the characterisation of porous materials. A number of materials, in various forms and deposited by various methods, were investigated during the following three years with little success, due to excessive pore size and unsatisfactory flow characteristics. Iraq claims that a suitable barrier material was developed in 1988 which overcame these adverse properties, but that the barrier tube was still found to be mechanically weak in industrial-scale handling.

In parallel with the above, a survey of compressors judged to be suitable for transporting the process gas was made and specifications were obtained from potential suppliers. Procurement action was taken to purchase compressors from companies in the USA, Germany, France and the UK and attempts were made to locally manufacture a compressor casing, but these were not successful. In 1987 design drawings of a screw compressor were made by reverse-engineering a screw compressor that had been procured from the UK. However, it was soon realised that reproduction of its components was beyond the capacity of the existing national engineering resources and, although some attempts were made to secure foreign assistance, nothing materialised. Concurrent with these activities, a facility for testing compressors was built at Rashdiya but, according to the Iraqi counterpart, was never commissioned due to the change in emphasis of the programme in favour of the centrifuge enrichment process.

Theoretical work on diffusion cascade behaviour and calculation of the performance of a total cascade made up of different sized stages acting in "square" cascade array were carried out. Those calculations were for various cascade sizes ranging from 16 stages in series to 72 stages in series. Theoretical calculations aimed at optimising the geometry and flow parameters of the diffuser were also made.

Facilities were constructed initially at Tuwaitha, then later at Rashdiya, to test the theoretical models of the barrier design and the diffuser. These test facilities included capabilities to check barrier porosity, permeability, robustness and gas flow dynamics for tests with inert gas and with hydrogen fluoride (HF), fluorine (F) and the process gas (UF6). Iraq states that, although a number of facilities to test barrier performance in UF6 were planned, none were completed.

Barrier manufacturing facilities were commissioned to investigate the various proposed manufacturing processes, culminating in a laboratory scale production facility capable of making 18 test barrier tubes per day - several hundred were produced during its operating life-time. In 1986 Iraq proceeded with the plans to test a single barrier tube with UF6. The tests were stated to have been carried out at Rashdiya in 1988, within Project 365, where one barrier was exposed to UF6 for about four months and Iraq claims that promising results were obtained.

Iraq further planned to measure the separation factor of a complete single stage unit, initially using a mixture of two freons having very different molecular weights. A separation-test facility was constructed at Tuwaitha but severe difficulties were experienced in assembly due to the lack of robustness of the barrier tubes. Many were broken before an engineering solution was achieved. However, before the facility was commissioned, the entire project was moved to Rashdiya. The facility was dismantled and transferred to the new site and according to the Iraqi counterpart was never rebuilt.

In 1988 a barrier tube suitable for operation in UF6 was successfully manufactured. The separation performance of a single unit (or stage) was theoretically determined and planning commenced on Project 366 through which to assess the barrier efficiency of 24 stages operating in series. The Iraqi counterpart states that this plan was never completed and that the project was cancelled in 1989. Two further facilities to measure the separation factor in UF6 gas of a single diffuser stage unit and of 48 diffusers acting in series were also planned. The design of the former was completed but, due to the revised programme priorities established in 1987, was never constructed. According to the Iraqi counterpart, the design of the latter was never completed and the project was stopped when still at the basic design stage.

1.2.3 Gas centrifuge uranium enrichment

a. Background

As described by the Iraqi counterpart the team responsible for the development of gaseous diffusion technology (Group One) became independent from PC-3 in August 1987 and was renamed the Engineering Design Directorate - eventually to become the Engineering Design Centre (EDC). At the same time it relocated from Tuwaitha to premises (Rashdiya) in the north-western outskirts of Baghdad, which had formerly been a Ministry of Irrigation research and development establishment. The relocation was coincident with Iraq's recognition that the establishment of the engineering infrastructure that would be necessary to exploit gaseous diffusion on an industrial scale was beyond Iraq's current capabilities. Consequently, it was decided to focus the resources of EDC on the development of gas centrifuge enrichment technology with the aim of establishing a production capacity of 10 kg of highly enriched uranium (93% - HEU) per year by 1994. The facilities on the new site were rapidly expanded and modifications to existing buildings and new building construction continued until early 1991, as work on the centrifuge enrichment process gathered momentum.

Very little technical documentation is available to support Iraq's description of its work on gas centrifuge enrichment technology. There are very few technical reports and not one single example of an official programme report coded in accordance with the system described in the FFCD. However, Iraq has made available to the IAEA a large number of technical drawings from which it has been possible to understand the progression of the design of the various types of centrifuge machines considered in Iraq's development programme.

b. Research and Development

Work commenced in August 1987 with an attempt to develop the oil-bearing (Beams type) gas centrifuge for which extensive design information was available in open US literature. EDC's technical capabilities developed rapidly and, by late 1987, the first oil centrifuge (GS-1) was built and subjected to laboratory trials. Rotational speeds greater than 30,000 rpm could not be achieved due to vibration, high power consumption and vacuum difficulties.

In the face of these difficulties in the summer of 1988 EDC sought foreign assistance through H&H, a German company already involved in the supply of specialist machine tools to Iraq's armaments industry. H&H introduced two foreign nationals who had previously been employed by MAN - a German company that had, in the 1970's and early 1980's, been involved in the design, development and supply of centrifuges to URENCO, the European centrifuge enrichment company which produces low enriched uranium (LEU) for nuclear power station fuel. During the next 2 years the difficulties with unbalance and vacuum were gradually overcome as rotor dynamics and bearing know-how was learnt, with guidance from the ex-MAN employees, and by the import of high quality balancing machines and drive units. By mid-1989 a speed of 50,000 rpm was achieved in vacuum. These mechanical trials were followed by separation tests using a mixture of freon and carbon dioxide gas to simulate uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas, the medium used in the centrifuge enrichment process. The separation tests which were carried out at a maximum rotational speed of 25,000 rpm, gave a separation factor of only 1.04, which was much lower than the theoretical value of 1.09.

By this time resources assigned to the development of the oil-bearing centrifuge were already being reduced in favour of development of the more efficient magnetic bearing centrifuge, internationally exploited on an industrial scale.

The shift of focus from the oil-bearing centrifuge was due to the provision, in the second half of 1988, by one of the ex-MAN employees of a number of design drawings relating to early development designs of a magnetic bearing (Zippe type) centrifuge. As a consequence EDC applied most of its resources to the design and development of a magnetic-bearing centrifuge based on a maraging steel rotor rotating at sub-critical speeds.

During 1989 H&H introduced a further ex-MAN employee who, in cooperation with one of the original individuals, provided to EDC many detailed design drawings along with some 170 technical reports and specifications relating to the production and operation of centrifuges under development by URENCO in the 1970's. This information covered both sub-critical and supercritical centrifuge designs and also included some drawings for a three metre long supercritical machine under development, by MAN, in the early 1980's. None of these technical reports and specifications were included in the documentation made available by Iraq to the IAEA, and the few URENCO- related drawings included were of minor technical significance.

During the period from late-1988 through mid-1990 EDC produced a series of designs, each one initiated by information or advice deriving from the ex-MAN employees, and proceeded to attempt to manufacture trial quantities of centrifuge components. It was quickly concluded that Iraq's existing manufacturing capabilities were unable to produce the rotating components of centrifuge machines to the required accuracy and quality and, in the first instance, indigenous production was limited to stationary components. A decision was taken to strengthen the industrial infrastructure through the import of high quality, dedicated CNC machine tools, in most instances linking the purchase to the supply of quantities of demonstration components which were to be used for the assembly of development centrifuges.

Machine tool suppliers were approached in Germany, Yugoslavia, and Switzerland. Some orders for small quantities of components were placed with a German company and a UK company, which were not linked to the supply of machine tools. EDC's procurement strategy did not always proceed smoothly as demonstrated by the impounding, by the German customs authorities at Frankfurt airport, of machined maraging steel forgings, finished maraging steel components and CNC machine tools being supplied by a Swiss machine tool company.

In mid-1989 Iraq accepted the offer from one of the ex-MAN employees to provide design details of a sub-critical centrifuge based on a carbon fibre composite rotor and also to supply some trial rotors. Carbon fibre composite had many technical advantages over maraging steel and had become the material of choice in European commercial gas centrifuge enrichment plants. By the end of 1989 EDC had developed a series of sub-critical centrifuge designs based on the carbon fibre rotor and, by early 1990 sufficient components had been procured to support prototype centrifuge production and testing. The procured components included about 50 carbon fibre rotors supplied by ROSCH, the company owned by the ex-MAN employee who had sponsored the initiative.

In the spring of 1990 the first magnetic centrifuge using a carbon fibre composite rotor was successfully assembled and tested at an operating speed of 60,000 rpm over a period of several months in a mechanical test stand. In mid-1990 this centrifuge rotor was installed in a process test stand and about 100 hours of operation in UF6 was achieved during the following 6 months. Although not fully optimised, a separative work output of 1.9 kg SW/year was achieved with the prototype such that a cascade of 1,000 such centrifuges operating continuously for year would have the capacity to produce 10 kg of 93% HEU.

The Iraqi counterpart explained that no enriched uranium was accumulated during the separation tests since, due to the limited quantity of UF6 available, the enriched material produced was re-mixed with the resultant depleted material for re-feeding into the test centrifuge - a practice commonly adopted in test laboratories. The Iraqi counterpart maintains that the mechanical and process test stands were the only two test stands that were ever operated, and that a third test stand designed to accommodate two centrifuges operating in series or in parallel, planned for late 1990, was never implemented.

According to the Iraqi counterpart, its exploitation of the designs of supercritical centrifuges which it had acquired was limited and had been done on a spare-time basis, as the bulk of its resources were dedicated to the further development of its prototype sub-critical machine and preparations for its large-scale production. The counterpart stated that the studies done on supercritical centrifuge machines were focused on the design of a three metre machine, simply because the information it had obtained for this particular centrifuge design was far more complete than the information it had on a two-cylinder maraging steel rotor design, although Iraq had first received this latter information. Centrifuge experts consider that Iraq would have needed to gain practical experience with the manufacture and operation of simpler designs of supercritical centrifuge machines before progressing to exploit a three metre multi-cylinder machine.

Although Iraq had made modifications to buildings at Rashdiya and Al Furat to accommodate three metre centrifuge machines it insists that these actions were very forward-looking and should not be taken to indicate that Iraq had imminent plans to exploit this advanced design centrifuge. It is, however, relevant to note that only a few examples of the centrifuge drawings Iraq obtained from the ex-MAN employees have been made available to the IAEA and that the drawings contain only minor details.

c. Preparation for Production

In mid-1989, apparently confident of success in the exploitation of gas centrifuge enrichment technology, EDC contracted with both local and international organisations for the construction of the Al Furat facility, which was to accommodate the factory for the mass production of centrifuges and a pilot-scale cascade hall. As was revealed post-August 1995, Iraq had also planned to build a second large scale centrifuge facility in the Taji area which was intended to accommodate a cascade of up to 1,000 centrifuge machines and, according to the Iraqi counterpart, was to accommodate a commercial scale UF6 production plant.

In parallel with the R&D effort, expedient procurement of raw materials had been initiated, particularly of materials subject to export controls by supplier states. Quantities ordered were sometimes far larger than required to meet the immediate goal, as typified by the procurement of 100 tons of maraging steel. Machine tool procurement was proceeding, although by mid-1990, deliveries were behind schedule. In the summer of 1990 Iraq received from H&H a flow forming machine which, according to EDC, was installed at Al Furat an enabled the flow forming of maragmg steel rotor cylinders to commence on a trial basis. Around this time ancillary equipment for welding and heat treating maraging steel was also imported. Records indicate that only a few heat treatment tests were carried out and the test conditions chosen are clearly indicative of the availability of external advice.

The existence of Al Furat was revealed in late July 1991 during the IAEA's fourth inspection campaign; but Iraq continued to deny the existence of Rashdiya until 1993 and even then considerably understated its actual role. It was only after August 1995 that Iraq acknowledged more fully the role of the Rashdiya facility and reluctantly disclosed the plans for the development of the Taji facility.

In its efforts to obscure the extent of the gas centrifuge development programme Iraq had, in 1991, claimed that the plan was to manufacture only 200 centrifuges per year at Al Furat and even then expected a high initial reject rate. From the outset it was evident to the IAEA that the facility would have been capable of a considerably higher production rate - possibly as high as 5,000 machines per year, or sufficient to supply a facility with the capacity to produce 50 kg HEU/year. Existing buildings on the site were modified, one of which (B03) was used temporarily from Autumn 1990 for production development trials, a further building (B00) was almost complete in its refurbishment and was ready to accommodate CNC machine tools, delivery of which had already begun, when activities were suspended in 1991. Two large, purpose-designed buildings were under construction and at an advanced stage, although some 6 months behind schedule. One of these (B02) was being constructed by a UK company and the other (B01) by a German company, and both involved clean room technology.

Building B02 was to be used for flow forming, component cleaning, quality control and sub-assembly. Building B01 was intended for final assembly, single machine spin testing, cascade pipework manufacture and a demonstration cascade of 120 machines capable of producing about 1 kg HEU/year. To support the construction phase, H&H persuaded a small number of companies that had previous experience in centrifuge manufacture and plant construction as URENCO contractors to run training courses for Iraqi staff on corrosion of special steels, pipework fabrication and welding technology.

In parallel with these activities EDC was actively pursuing carbon fibre composite technology and in 1989 had ordered through the company ROSCH a purpose-built carbon fibre winding machine and a supply of carbon fibre filament and epoxy resin in order to establish an indigenous capability to manufacture carbon fibre composite cylinders for centrifuge rotors. The delivery to Iraq of these materials and equipment was initially prevented by the 1990 prohibition of exports to Iraq but a second attempt by Iraq was successful in achieving delivery of the equipment and materials to Jordan in 1991. This had been accomplished through a system of transhipment through an import/export agency in Singapore - the equipment and materials were not imported to Iraq and are under official custody in Jordan awaiting disposal by the IAEA.

Iraq's ambitious and rapidly developing programme for the design, development, manufacture and operation of gas centrifuge machines was not, according to the Iraqi counterpart, matched by a similar high priority plan for the secure supply of production-scale amounts of UF6 - the basic feed material. Iraq has declared its laboratory-scale UF6 production capacity to have been more than adequate to support the ongoing development activities in 1990 and considered that there was no urgency to provide for large-scale production. Despite this apparent lack of concern, Iraqi programme documentation indicates that designs for larger capacity UF6 production plants were well advanced and civil engineering design was in progress.

Recognising the inevitable delays in the completion of Al Furat, a decision was made to construct an additional building at Rashdiya which would include a centrifuge hall to accommodate the pre-production-scale 120 centrifuge cascade. In the aftermath of the invasion of Kuwait, additional work was undertaken to adapt part of an existing building at Rashdiya to accommodate a 50 centrifuge cascade as part of the "crash programme" - see section 1.3.

1.2.4 Chemical and ion exchange uranium enrichment

a. Background

According to available Iraqi documentation, research and development into uranium enrichment through solvent extraction and ion exchange processes commenced in 1988. The decision to explore these enrichment technologies followed a review by the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) of known enrichment methods and a similar review of the feasibility of a plutonium production reactor. The relocation and reassignment of Group One, which had been pursuing gaseous diffusion technology within IAEC Department 3000, during the summer of 1987, could have provided the impetus for these initiatives.

The stated objective of the investigation of these two additional enrichment methods was to provide an alternative supply of low enriched uranium (LEU) as the feed for its EMIS facilities - see 1.2.1.

Iraq had (and retains) a strong technical background in chemical processes. The Iraqi scientists involved in the solvent extraction programme were often also involved in the ion exchange programme. Petrochemical 3 (PC -3) Project documents indicate that Group Two Activities 2CC and 2CE contributed to the exploration of solvent extraction and ion exchange enrichment.

b. Chemical Enrichment (Solvent Extraction)

Iraq's programme for chemical enrichment by solvent extraction was modelled on the French CHEMEX solvent extraction process which was well described in open literature. Only rather elementary practical work seems to have been carried out on the CHEMEX process, but it was apparently enough to establish important fundamental factors. Although Iraq's efforts depended to a substantial degree on published information, it is clear that its scientists had a good understanding of solvent extraction technology.

Iraq stated that the goal of the chemical enrichment process was to provide LEU feed material (1.5-2.0% U-235) for the EMIS process. The production scale design, described in a December 1990 PC-3 report, however, called for an annual production of 4-5 tonnes of LEU (3-4 % U-235). The differences between the enrichment level goals has not been resolved, but may be the difference between the theoretical goal (3-4 %) and expected practical results (1.5-2.0 %). The production-scale design foresaw about 50 stages and anticipated a separation factor of 1.0025.

A substantial amount of laboratory work was carried out in Tuwaitha pursuing basic studies designed to measure the separation factor, using 30-35% TBP (tri-buytl phosphate) as the extractant in a kerosene diluent, but by the time of the Gulf War such work appears not to have progressed beyond laboratory-scale.

The stated strategy was to address practical problems as they arose in scaling up to production processes, but it is clear that many significant technical challenges would have been met. The choice of an empirical approach rather than one based on a comprehensive theoretical understanding of the process would have complicated the resolution of practical problems.

Iraq attempted to procure a considerable amount of equipment to support this programme - notably an unsuccessful attempt to procure a complete engineering- scale test unit for the French CHEMEX process. Records indicate that imports by Iraq to support its research into chemical enrichment were limited to laboratory equipment such as mixer-settlers, pumps, distillation units, and pulse columns. According to the Iraqi counterpart, much of this equipment was destroyed during the aerial bombardment of Tuwaitha. Iraq had also placed orders for key pilot plant equipment such as glass columns and mixer-settlers, but the 1990 embargo on exports to Iraq prevented their delivery.

c. Ion exchange enrichment

Iraq's programme for ion exchange enrichment was modelled on the Japanese ASAHI technique, which was also well described in open literature. The goal of this programme, specified in an October 1990 report, was to establish the capacity to produce 5 tonnes of LEU (3% U-235) per year for use as feed material for the EMIS process.

Iraq appears to have made comparatively less progress in its work on ion exchange enrichment than it had in the CHEMEX process and had not yet addressed many of the more difficult technical challenges in scaling-up the process to production level. The work stopped at the laboratory scale at the onset of the Gulf War.

Iraq produced a total of about 100 kilograms of polyvinyl, phenylpyridine-based, macroreticular (highly porous) anion exchange resin in 20-kilogram batches over a two-year period. This resin choice is consistent with a programme based on the Japanese ASAHI technique. Experiments carried out using a four meter long, two centimetre diameter column achieved a separation factor of 1.0007. The experiments were conducted at a nominal pressure of 4 bar and anominal temperature of 80 degrees Celsius.

A January 1991 PC-3 report documents Iraq's consideration of a combined solvent extraction/ion exchange enrichment process, in which the output of the solvent extraction process would have fed the ion exchange process with 1.5-2.0% LEU. The output of the combined process would have been 8% LEU, which was again intended to be used as feed material for the EMIS process.

1.2.5 Laser isotopic separation

In following up on Member State information, in August/September 1994, the IAEA (IAEA-26) was, after several days of statements to the contrary, able to obtain from Iraq a statement that the Laser Section (6240) within the Physics Department (6200) of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission had in 1981 been directed to work on Laser Isotopic Separation and to study both atomic (AVLIS) and molecular (MLIS) technologies.

The ensuing discussions revealed a poorly focused and poorly equipped programme which had endured until 1987, but had done little more than scrape the surface of either technology. This lack of achievement was due in part t o the complexity of the technology and also to the difficulties experienced in obtaining critical controlled equipment, notably copper vapour lasers.

The inspection produced no indications that Iraq had reached the point of an integrated experiment that achieved any isotopic separation of either elemental uranium or UF6 or that even that even the most rudimentary capabilities had been developed in either AVLIS or MLIS technologies.

IAEA-26 did, however, record its surprise that the relatively simple task of developing the technology for the production of uranium metal vapour not been attempted or accomplished. After August 1995 it was learned that two attempts had in fact been made to construct a suitable vacuum chamber to facilitate AVLIS experiments. It was also learned that the second of these attempts had been successful and that the chamber had been equipped with an electron beam gun for the vaporisation of uranium metal. According to Iraq's statements, one experiment using two photon excitation was carried out in 1986 but did not produce conclusive results due, it was thought, to lack of precision in the design of the ion optics. A second experiment was carried out in 1989 after having optimised the equipment internal arrangements on the basis of results obtained from experiments with aluminium metal. The experiment with uranium metal proved to be inconclusive. It was explained that further work was abandoned due to the failure of the electron beam gun and because the low priority assigned to the research programme would not support the procurement of a replacement.

1.2.6 Summary

1. Iraq would have eventually achieved a measure of success in its EMIS programme but, based on reported performance, it would have required extraordinary good fortune in the commissioning of the Al Tarmiya plant for it to have produced 15 kg of HEU before 1994. Had Iraq obtained supplies of LEU or chosen to divert from IAEA safeguards its holdings of 1.7 tonnes of LEU, it could have produced the same quantity about a year earlier.

2. The commissioning of the Al Sharqat EMIS plant would, around 1995, have provided Iraq with the capacity to produce 30 kg HEU per year. The use of clandestinely procured or produced LEU feed of 2.5% - 5 % enrichment could have resulted in a three or fourfold increase in this capacity.

3. The gaseous diffusion development programme suffered many technical set-backs and there were apparently many changes in plans which hindered progress, including the 1987 relocation of the programme from Tuwaitha to Rashdiya.

4. Iraq appeared to have been slow to recognise the extent of the industrial infrastructure that would have been required to support the large-scale exploitation of gaseous diffusion technology which, even by modern standards, is considered to be a complex technical process.

5. There is no evidence of any external help or advice having been given to the gaseous diffusion programme.

6. Although it is stated in the FFCD that all work on gaseous diffusion was stopped in 1989, discussion with the staff involved indicates that a small team had continued to work on barrier technology until the programme was interrupted by the Gulf War. At that time all rigs at Rashdiya were stated to have been dismantled and removed and the facility was sanitised in an attempt to remove all indications of its involvement in Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme. During the IAEA inspections of Rashdiya in the summer of 1991 no evidence of any continuing activities was detected.

7. It is unlikely that gaseous diffusion would be a technology of choice in a reconstituted nuclear programme.

8. Iraq's post-war efforts to conceal all centrifuge related documentation, the extent of its knowledge and the associated facilities and sites greatly complicated the IAEA investigations, particularly since much of the centrifuge documentation was stated to have been destroyed during the period when it was continually being moved from one hiding place to another. It cannot be ruled out that some documentation and some centrifuge components are still being deliberately withheld. In this context it is relevant to record that of the drawings and specifications provided by the ex-MAN employees, Iraq has handed over only a few relatively trivial examples to the IAEA.

9. From the information supplied by Iraq or uncovered by IAEA inspection teams, it is clear that EDC had made significant progress in gas centrifuge development in a relatively short time and had produced a prototype sub-critical centrifuge which it considered to be appropriate for large scale exploitation. This achievement - greatly accelerated by foreign assistance - is considered to be consistent with the time-scale and resources invested. It must be assumed that, without the interruption of the Gulf War, Iraq would have been in a position to build and commence to operate gas centrifuge pilot cascades of up to 100 machines around the end of 1991.

10. There is no evidence to contradict EDC's statement that they had not carried out multi-centrifuge tests through which they would have gained practical experience in the design and operation of gas centrifuge uranium enrichment cascades. The achievement of successful operation of centrifuge cascades is a complex task requiring considerable, time-consuming practical development work.

11. A total of about 1,000 centrifuges of the type developed by Iraq would need to have been operated continuously throughout 1993, in order to achieve the target of 10 kg of weapons grade HEU by 1994. The programme was behind schedule and it is doubtful whether the lost time could have been made up. The production workshops at Al Furat, once in operation could easily have produced centrifuges at a rate of several thousand per year, thus the post 1994 expansion of operating facilities would have been rapid.

12. Assuming progress could be sustained it is probable that the operation of cascades of the order of 1,000 machines could have been achieved around the end of 1994. This capacity alone would have contributed an additional 10 kg HEU to Iraq's annual production of HEU. However, if it is assumed that Iraq would have continued to add to its centrifuge based work capacity even at the relatively modest rate of 500 machines per year, the centrifuge programme, based on the 1991 single cylinder, sub-critical machine, could have produced around 140 kg HEU by the end of the year 2,000.

13. It is highly likely that carbon fibre composite rotors were to be adopted in favour of the maraging steel option and the Iraqi counterpart was confident that it would have been able to continue to circumvent the export controls on the specialised carbon fibre. This confidence appears to be justified by the fact that, even after the reinforcement of export controls following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait it was possible for Iraq to procure, through a European agent, a major consignment (including carbon fibre and a purpose built computer numeric controlled winding machine), which was transhipped through Singapore to Jordan.

14. Iraq has claimed that it did no significant work on advanced (super-critical) centrifuge designs and that the modifications made to buildings at Rashdiya and at Al Furat, to accommodate such machines, were very forward- looking and should not be taken to imply Iraq's imminent intent to exploit such designs. Although there are no means available to verify these statements they are, nevertheless, considered to be consistent with Iraq's programme resources and the related time frame.

15. From the available evidence it would appear that the plan to fabricate gas centrifuges and construct and commission a fifty machine cascade within a six month period around the end of 1990 was wildly optimistic and available evidence suggests that work had barely commenced when the conflict started.

16. Iraq's stated lack of concern about the absense of production-scale UF6 capacity is not consistent with its ambitious and rapidly developing programme for the design, development, manufacture and operation of gas centrifuge machines. Although the civil engineering designs for such a facility appear to have been well advanced there are no indications that construction work had begun.

17. Although in 1991 EMIS was still Iraq's process of choice for the production of highly enriched uranium there is little doubt that gas centrifuge enrichment would be the process of choice for a reconstituted enrichment programme.

18. Although the number of technical reports for the solvent extraction and ion exchange programmes is limited, the information contained is consistent with programmes orientated toward practical design studies, which tends to confirm Iraq's statement that theoretical chemists were not involved. The available technical reports were almost all issued in 1989 and 1990 and are thus consistent with programmes developed as a result of the 1988 IAEC review of enrichment technologies.

19. It is highly unlikely that Iraq would have invested further effort in the large-scale exploitation of LIS as a means of production of highly enriched uranium.


1.3 The intended diversion of research reactor fuel

1.3.1 The "crash programme"

Following the August 1995 departure from Iraq of the late Lt. General Hussein Kamel, Iraqi authorities revealed to the IAEA a plan, stated to have been initiated by Hussein Kamel shortly after Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, to divert from IAEA safeguards the highly enriched uranium (HEU) contained in the fuel of the two research reactors on the Tuwaitha campus of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) and to use this material to produce the core of a nuclear weapon.

This plan, referred to as the "crash programme", is one of the most substantial items of information revealed by Iraq during the high level technical talks in August 1995. In this regard the IAEA was provided with technical reports and engineering drawings describing the practical steps planned to be followed in the recovery of the HEU from the research reactor fuel and its subsequent conversion to metallic form as raw material for the production of the core of a nuclear weapon.

Although, as stated by the Iraqi counterpart, the plant for the recovery of the HEU had been built and fully commissioned, the simple fact that the IAEA successfully accounted for the entire inventory of the HEU reactor fuel, in May/June 1991, clearly shows that the campaign for actual extraction of the HEU from the reactor fuel was not initiated.

Had the crash programme been carried through it could have reduced the time for Iraq to fabricate its first nuclear device by as much as two years.

The inventory of enriched uranium research reactor fuel under IAEA safeguards, as of April 1991 is shown in Table 1.3 below.

1.3.2 The recovery of the highly enriched uranium - Project 601/603

As recorded in a series of Iraqi technical reports, Project 601 was established in August 1990 with the objective of extracting the highly enriched uranium (HEU) from research reactor fuel for use as the core material of a nuclear weapon. A chemical plant, based on solvent extraction technology, was designed and its components fabricated and installed in the hot cells of the Active Metallurgy Testing Laboratory (LAMA), Building 22, on the Tuwaitha site.

The team working on this project had already accumulated experience from its laboratory-scale work on the separation of plutonium from irradiated natural uranium fuel rods and was confident that it would be able to achieve its objective. The throughput of the plant was designed to accommodate the processing of one, possibly two, fuel elements per day such that the recovery of the HEU from the 69 fresh and 38 lightly irradiated fuel elements could have been accomplished within 2 to 3 months, thus making available some 26 kg of HEU, in the form of UNH containing 22.4 kg of the isotope U-235, less process losses.

The next phase of the plan would have involved the processing of the highly irradiated HEU reactor fuel, making available a further 14 kg of HEU containing some 10 kg of the isotope U-235. This phase of the project would present a greater technical challenge because of the need to remove considerable fission product contamination from the separated uranium - the process losses would most likely be significantly higher.

PC-3 report 1556 of 3 January 1991 includes calculated data from which to estimate the fission product content of 62 irradiated fuel elements (80% enriched) based on tabulated data of the burn-up and cooling-time of each element. These 62 elements, together with the 34 elements remaining in the core of the IRT-5000 reactor, represented the total inventory of 96 irradiated fuel elements of 80% enrichment, as verified by the IAEA on 19 November 1990. The report also calculates the typical fission product content of the much more lightly burned-up 93% enriched fuel from the Tammuz 1 reactor.

Other less significant phases of the project would have involved the recovery of the uranium from reactor fuel of lower enrichment, much of which was highly irradiated.

The design, fabrication and installation of the chemical plant was completed within a period of little more than three months, which enabled the plant to be commissioned using unirradiated natural uranium solutions during December 1990. The Iraqi counterpart stated that the plant was ready to receive HEU feed material in early January 1991 and clearance had been sought from Hussein Kamel to commence actual operations. According to the Iraqi counterpart, no such clearance was received and the fuel elements remained intact apart from the end-caps having been cut from three elements to facilitate their feeding into the input acid dissolution tank. The LAMA building was seriously damaged during the January 1991 bombing of Tuwaitha and, according to the Iraqi counterpart, the plant components were salvaged and placed in temporary storage at the Al Shakili storage complex adjacent to the Tuwaitha site.

Again according to the Iraqi counterpart, and supported by PC-3 technical documentation, when it became clear that the project could no longer be housed in the LAMA building, the uranium recovery plant was redesigned - as Project 603 - in order that it could be re-installed at the Al Tarmiya site which had sustained lesser bomb damage. The technical documentation describing Project 603 indicates that it was to be limited to recovering the HEU from the fresh fuel elements and to convert the recovered material to the form of UO2. The UO2 material was then to have been transferred to Project 247 where it would have been converted to UCl4 in which form it could have been used as feed for EMIS separators and enriched to 93%.

1.3.3 The further enrichment of the highly enriched uranium - Project 521C

According to the Iraqi counterpart, it was planned to further enrich the uranium recovered from the irradiated HEU reactor fuel employing a 50 machine centrifuge cascade which was to be designed, fabricated and installed in Hall 9 of the EDC establishment at Rashdiya. According to the Iraqi counterpart the centrifuge machines were to be constructed partly from components already procured from foreign suppliers and partly from components ordered from Iraqi engineering companies.

Again, according to the Iraqi counterpart the cascade was anticipated to include a mixture of centrifuge types, differing principally with regard to the rotor type - either carbon fibre or maraging steel. The counterpart maintains that no attempts were made to assemble centrifuge machines from the available components but expressed confidence that when all the components required for the cascade were available they could have assembled the machines at a rate of at least one per day.

The basic civil engineering modifications were stated to have been made to Hall 9 and concrete foundation strips had been cast, on the existing floor, to accommodate a cascade of two parallel lines of 25 machines. Although some shuttering had been assembled, none of the concrete mounting blocks for the centrifuge machines had been cast before the postwar decision was taken to abandon the project sub-task.

According to the Iraqi counterpart, in order to conceal the preparations for Project 521C, the concrete foundations, cast on the floor of Hall 9, were removed and the concrete floor tiles were stripped from the entire floor area. The hall was also filled with sacks of cement which inhibited access for inspection. When the emptied hall was inspected in 1996, it was still possible to observe, what was stated by the Iraqi counterpart, to have been the civil engineer's markings on the walls, indicating the planned locations of the two lines of centrifuge machines.

The Iraqi counterpart declared that not one single machine was completed for Project 521C and consequently no uranium was introduced into Hall 9. Although there is no evidence to refute this declaration there is no documentary evidence to support it.

1.3.4 Conversion to metal of highly enriched uranium - Project 602/602B

Project 602 was designed to receive the recovered HEU from Project 601 in the form of UNH and to convert it to metal form which would be the feed material for casting the core components of the nuclear weapon. The project was housed in Tuwaitha Building 64 and involved plant stages for the conversion of the input UNH through UO4 to UO2, the conversion of UO2 to UF4, the reduction of the UF4 to uranium metal and systems for waste recovery. The plant stages for the conversion of the UNH to UO4 were designed on the basis of laboratory-scale tests and were fabricated, installed and commissioned using natural uranium feed.

The basic technology for the preparation of UF4 was already well established and an existing UF4/uranium metal project, with a capacity of 20 kg uranium metal per day, designed around the end of 1989, was adopted for Project 602. This plant stage had been installed, commissioned and had produced a 10 kg test batch of natural UF4 around the end of 1990. The reduction of UF4 to uranium metal presented little technical challenge as the process had been in use for natural uranium since mid-1986. The principal development work required in this area was to improve techniques in order to compensate for the process losses that would otherwise result from the small batch size of some 100 g that had been selected by the project managers. Although the waste recovery plant stages were not yet installed it can be accepted that the capability to commence the conversion of HEU from UNH to metal was essentially available in January 1991.

Building 64 was severely damaged in the January 1991 bombardment of Tuwaitha and the project could no longer proceed in that building. The undamaged plant equipment was salvaged and stored pending reconstitution of the capability. The project was redesigned and documented as Project 602B, but, according to the Iraqi counterpart, no practical measures were taken to reconstitute the capability. According to the Iraqi counterpart, the plant components that had been commissioned and thus contaminated with natural uranium, were unilaterally destroyed, while other general purpose components were retained for subsequent use in non-nuclear activities.

1.3.5 Summary

1. Since the IAEA was able to account for all of the research reactor fuel, Iraq did not make any practical progress in the recovery of the HEU material. Had Iraq been able to proceed, it is possible that the HEU material from the fresh and lightly irradiated reactor fuel could have been recovered and made available in metal form around the middle of 1991.

2. The counterpart's statement that, following the aerial bombardment of Tuwaitha, action was taken to redesign the HEU uranium recovery and the HEU uranium metal preparation plant for re-installation at alternative locations provides clear indications that the "crash programme" was not abandoned in January 1991. Indeed the fact that the redesign documents, provided to the IAEA by the counterpart, are dated 8 June 1991, might indicate that the "crash programme" was not abandoned until it became evident to Iraq that the reactor fuel was to be removed from the country (the first shipment took place in November 1991).

3. The FFCD is unclear regarding the role of the centrifuge enrichment Project (521C) as to whether it was planned to further enrich the HEU recovered from both the fresh and irradiated 80% enriched reactor fuel or whether, more logically, the project was to be used to re-enrich the uranium recovered from the irradiated 80% reactor fuel and perhaps that from the 36% enriched reactor fuel. Although to considerably different degrees, the recovery of the HEU from these latter two categories of fuel would have presented a significant additional technical challenge owing to the necessity to purify the recovered HEU from fission product contamination.

4. The civil engineering arrangements for Project 521C were well in hand, but no significant progress was made with the fabrication of centrifuge machines or the construction of the cascade, because Iraq lacked sufficient numbers of imported components and as indicated in programme documentation, was unable to indigenously manufacture such components. Furthermore it had not yet developed the ability to produce rotor cylinders from either maraging steel or carbon fibre composite due, in this latter regard, to the holdup, in Amman, Jordan, of critical components and equipment.

5. The implications of Project 603 - the post-January 1991 redesigned version of Project 601 - is that Iraq planned to use EMIS to re-enrich the HEU recovered from the fresh 80% enriched reactor fuel. This is certainly feasible and could have been accomplished in a few months given the availability of a small number of fully operational separators. In this regard it is noted that Iraq's inventory of all EMIS separators, both development and production models, has been verified and found to be consistent with the scope of this programme activity, as described in Iraqi technical documentation in the possession of the IAEA. All major components of the EMIS programme have been destroyed or rendered harmless.

6. Iraq had or would have quickly developed the necessary technologies to be able to recover the HEU material from the fresh and lightly irradiated research reactor fuel and to convert it to metal form to be used as the raw material from which to fabricate the core of a nuclear weapon. In so doing Iraq could have shortened the time that would have been required to produce its first nuclear weapon from indigenously produced HEU by as much as two years.

7. Given Iraq's declared intention to recover the uranium from the entire inventory of research reactor fuel (about 41 kg U-235 allowing for burn-up), it must be assumed that the time to produce a second weapons would also have been reduced, despite the greater technical complexity involved in the recovery of uranium from highly irradiated fuel.

8. Due to the results of the Gulf War, Iraq was unable to proceed with the "crash programme" and thus unable to produce a nuclear weapon. The fact that Iraq planned to divert nuclear material from IAEA safeguards further indicates that Iraq was not successful in its other endeavours to produce significant amounts of weapons-usable nuclear material.

Table 1.3.
Iraq's research reactor fuel inventory as verified by the IAEA on 19/20 November 1990

Enrichment
% U-235

Number elements Irradiation Status Uranium content kg U-235 content kg Comments  
93 1 Fresh 0.417 0.389 Test element
  38 Irradiated 11,874 11,050 Very low bum-up
           
80 68 Fresh 13,722 10,998  
  62 Irradiated 12,379 9,978 2-12 years cooled
  34 Irradiated 6,812 5,482 Reactor core fuel
           
36 10 Fresh 3,538 1,272  
  3 Irradiated 1,002 0.360 > 8 years cooled
           
10 69 Irradiated 87,760 8,776 > 8 years cooled

Mass data are not corrected for burn-up.

 

1.4 The production and separation of plutonium

1.4.1 The indigenous reactor - Project 182

a. Background

As confirmed by Iraqi documentation, Project 182 was established in late 1984 with the objective of designing and constructing a natural uranium fuelled, heavy water moderated and cooled reactor of some 40 MW (Th) capacity modelled on the Canadian NRX research reactor. The timing of the establishment of the project was explained to coincide with Iraq's realisation that there was no longer any hope that France would rebuild the Tamuz-1 reactor that had been destroyed in the Israeli air attack of 7 June 1981. The same documentation shows Project 182 to cover reprocessing and the production of plutonium metal, indicating that the reactor would have been used as an alternative source of weapons-usable nuclear material.

b. Development

There are no indications that the design of the reactor progressed beyond theoretical studies. An Iraqi document reviewing the status of the project as of May 1988 indicates that no decision had yet been made as to whether the fuel would be in the form of ceramic oxide or metallic uranium. In discussion with the IAEA, the project leaders explained that the priority allocation of resources to the EMIS programme had, for all practical purposes, put Project 182 "on hold".

This statement is supported by available Iraqi documentation which includes a letter, dated 21 June 1988, indicating that consideration was being given to the conversion of Project 182 to an "open project" and seeking the cooperation of the IAEA, or other international parties to facilitate its implementation. However, a subset of Project 182 dealt with the indigenous production of heavy water and a PC-3 report, issued on 22 October 1990, reviewing public-domain information on the two most widely utilised production processes, which indicates that Project 182 had not been totally abandoned.

1.4.2 The use of the IRT 5000 reactor

Iraq's use of the IRT-5000 reactor in its reprocessing research and development activities was twofold. Firstly an irradiated IRT-5000 reactor fuel element (10% enriched uranium - EK10) exempted from IAEA safeguards at Iraq's request, was reprocessed and, secondly, three indigenously fabricated natural uranium fuel elements were irradiated in IRT-5000 and also reprocessed. While it is clear that the IRT-5000 reactor made a useful contribution to Iraq's research and development programme, it was of very limited usefulness as a plutonium production reactor.

1.4.3 The separation of plutonium

A laboratory-scale process line, Project 22, based on PUREX technology, was built and successfully commissioned in the hot cells of the radiochemical laboratory at Tuwaitha (Building 9). Three reprocessing campaigns were carried out during the period from April 1988 through April 1990, the first two of which involved the reprocessing of EK10 fuel pins and the last the reprocessing of pins from three "home-made" (EK07) fuel cassettes. Through these reprocessing campaigns Iraq separated some five grams of plutonium and recovered about 11 kg uranium.

Through Project 22 Iraq also successfully completed a laboratory experiment to produce milligram quantities of plutonium metal employing classical "bomb-reduction" techniques. As previously reported, these undeclared activities were in contravention of Iraq's safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

1.4.4 Summary

1. Iraq had not discounted the plutonium route for the production of weapons-usable nuclear material but had made no practical progress towards the development of a plutonium production reactor.

2. Iraq has demonstrated its capabilities in reprocessing technology through its design and cold-commissioning of Project 601, the pilot-scale chemical plant for the recovery of highly enriched uranium from reactor fuel.

3. Iraq has demonstrated its capability for the laboratory-scale reprocessing of irradiated fuel for the extraction of plutonium and its reduction to metal. There are, however, no indications of any larger scale activities.

 

2. Weaponisation

2.1 Background

Although Iraq had initiated its programme to produce weapons-usable nuclear material in 1983, it contends that no practical steps towards establishing weaponisation capabilities commenced until the end of 1987. Documentation provided by Iraq, in response to IAEA insistence, following the high level technical talks of August 1995, corroborate Iraq's contention. The documentation shows that, in early 1987, the Al Hussein Project was established under the direct super vision of the chairman of the IAEC, and comprised a small group of individuals tasked to assess the resources, investment and period that would be required to achieve the first nuclear weapon. The Al Hussein Project delivered a summary report in November 1987 which, according to the Iraqi counterpart, met with strong criticism and led to the establishment, within IAEC, in April 1988, of a weaponisation team known as Group Four.

With the transfer from IAEC in, November 1988, of Department 3000 and its establishment, in January 1989, as PC-3, within the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialisation (MIMI), nuclear weapon development activities were divided between PC-3, which was responsible for weapons design, fabrication and testing, and the Dhafer Project, at Al Qa Qaa, which was responsible for the production of high explosive lenses. The initial activities of Group Four were carried out at the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Centre until May 1990 when, with the exception of the Theoretical Studies, Reprocessing, and Uranium Conversion Departments, which remained at Tuwaitha, Group Four moved to it s new premises at Al Atheer.

2.2 Facilities

As the principal nuclear research centre in Iraq, Tuwaitha had the facilities and infrastructure for all Group Four activities except for the fabrication, handling and testing of high explosives. Theoretical studies, based on the use of mainframe and personal computers, electrical design studies, and development of dedicated instrumentation were carried out in regular buildings at Tuwaitha. Radiochemistry experiments, including the separation of a few grams of plutonium, took place in the hot cells of Building 9. Studies of uranium metal production and casting were conducted as part of the activities related to fuel fabrication and used facilities in Buildings 15 and 73.

Al Atheer was specifically designed to accommodate all technical activities related to nuclear weapon development, including experiments with high explosives for which an elaborate complex was designed and constructed. The complex included a heavy-duty bunker (Site 100) and an internal explosion chamber (Site 6600). Site 100, which was capable of handling experiments involving several hundreds of kilograms of high explosive, was completed as early as 1989. The design of the internal explosion chamber included a high integrity containment system to prevent the release of radio-toxic materials used in neutron initiators. The construction of Site 6600 was still uncompleted when the project was interrupted at the beginning of 1991.

Uranium metallurgy studies and fabrication, both for natural and highly enriched uranium, were to be accommodated in an extremely large building (6830) equipped with a sophisticated air handling system. Another building (430) was designed to accommodate equipment and facilities for the machining of uranium metal. Both buildings were still under construction at the end of 1990.

A powder metallurgy building, which was already equipped with large industrial hot and cold isostatic presses, was close to completion at the end of 1990. However, the unprotected siting of these presses indicates that they were not intended for work with high explosives.

Other buildings were designed for material characterisation, dynamic testing of materials, neutron source testing, device assembly and storage. Dedicated facilities were also provided for civil engineering support activities and mechanical and electrical design activities.

When completed, Al Atheer would have been equipped to develop, fabricate and cold test the nuclear device and its individual components. All the technically significant buildings, as well as the related equipment at Al Atheer, were destroyed under IAEA supervision in April and June 1992.

Al QA Qaa, which was Iraq's main facility for the production of conventional high explosives, detonators and missile propellants, had the infrastructure to support the initial activities of the Dhafer Project in the development of the high explosive package for a nuclear weapon. Al QA Qaa held large stocks of imported HMX and RDX and had its own operating RDX production plant.

However, as the work of the Dhafer Project progressed, contracts were entered into with foreign suppliers to build turnkey research and development facilities for pyrotechnics and for the production of shaped high explosives, and associated experimentation. A contract for the construction of RDX and HMX production facilities at a location near Falluja was also concluded.

Civil engineering work began on all these contracts and some equipment was provided, but the August 1990 embargo, imposed by Security Council resolution 661, halted all projects before completion.

Existing indigenous facilities, including a number of buildings previously used for missile composite propellants, were used for the production of various detonator types and for pressing and casting shaped high explosives.

A location in south-western Iraq was selected for underground nuclear testing on the basis of criteria documented in Iraqi technical reports. This site was to have been available by the end of 1991, but Iraq has stated that the definitive location had not been selected and that no construction had started before the Gulf War.

2.3 Research and Development

As documented in PC-3 technical reports, Group Four's theoretical activities concentrated on studies of the requirements of a implosion weapon "fuelled" by HEU - the study of a gun type weapon having been abandoned in 1988, because that design was known to require several times the amount of highly enriched uranium (HEU) than an implosion design. Group Four nuclear weapon design reports indicate that Iraq's weapon design relied heavily on information available in open literature.

Theoretical studies led to the development of various computer codes to evaluate the performance of a given design. These codes were also obtained from open literature and were adapted to Iraq's available mainframe computer. Group Four undertook to adapt the codes and to develop the physical constants, such as equations of state, neutron cross-sections, and the constitutive models, which it assessed the nuclear weapon development programme needed. Although the available Iraqi documentation indicates that Iraq's primary focus was a basic implosion fission design, fuelled by HEU, the same documentation also indicates that Iraq was aware of more advanced weapon design concepts, including thermonuclear weapons. Group Four also invested significant efforts in understanding the various options for neutron initiators.

In the area of electronic and electrical design, Iraq was developing its own instrumentation to be combined with imported equipment such as streak cameras and oscilloscopes. Fast electronic components, flash X-ray devices, and sensors of various types were also under development. Nonetheless great reliance would have been placed on imported equipment. As recorded in PC-3 documentation and summarised in the FFCD, Iraq was developing an arming, fusing, and firing system for a 32-point detonation system.

The Dhafer Project followed a largely empirical development programme in its work to produce high explosive lenses for the implosion package. Until the first half of 1990 the project concentrated on the use of pressing to form the lenses but the size limitation imposed by the available equipment resulted in a transfer of effort to high explosive casting technology. Development of plastic bonded explosives did not progress beyond laboratory-scale production.

Iraq acknowledges testing single pressed lenses but states that no cast lenses had been produced by January 1991 and thus none had been tested. Iraq claims not to have conducted four-pi tests or any test of multiple lens arrays. There is no means available to the IAEA to verify this claim.

PC-3 documentation shows that Iraq had made significant progress in developing capabilities for the production, casting and machining of uranium metal. However, Iraq maintains that Group Four had not progressed beyond casting centimetre-sized test-pieces to casting full-scale pieces due to the delayed importation of adequate furnaces. Nonetheless, Iraq acknowledges casting a uranium sphere of about five centimetre diameter, several hemispheres of similar size and a small number of rods, weighing 1.2 kilogram per piece, from which to machine "sub-calibre munitions".

2.4 Missile delivery system

Consideration of a missile delivery system for nuclear weapons is shown, by available Iraqi documentation, to have commenced as early as 1988 in a meeting attended by a senior deputy minister of the Military Industrialisation Corporation. However Iraq claims that no further interaction took place until the end of 1990, when the need arose to liaise regarding integration of the nuclear weapon which was to have been produced through the "crash programme" with a missile delivery system.

The nuclear weapon in the mid-1988 conceptual design was deemed too heavy to be delivered by existing Iraqi missiles and Group Four was tasked to modify the design "with a view to reducing the total weight of the projectile to about one ton or less". In discussions with the counterpart it appears that the long-term plan was for a delivery vehicle based on the engine that was being developed for the second stage of the Al Abid satellite launch vehicle.

The options considered for the "crash program" were stated to involve either the urgent production of a derivative of the Al Hussein/Al Abbas missile, designed to deliver a one-tonne warhead to a maximum range of 650 km, or to accept the fall back option of using an unmodified Al Hussein missile and to accept a range limitation of 300 km.

2.5 Programme documentation

Iraq's assessment of the technical requirements for the development of a nuclear weapon are well documented in a series of original Iraqi reports dated June 1988. Group Four's achievements in nuclear weapon development are also well documented through autumn of 1990. The most significant of this documentation are the following:

• The "Al Atheer Progress Report" (PC-3 report #1409) obtained by IAEA-6. This report remains the only significant weaponisation report directly obtained and retained in the custody an IAEA inspection team.

• The June '90 to June '91 Al Atheer Achievement Report (Group 4 report #991002), provided to the IAEA by Iraq in August 1995. This document was published in September 1991 and provides the status of progress in weaponisation at that time, along with an assessment of the disturbance created by the war and the measures taken to salvage Al Atheer equipment.

• PC-3 Report 821 (Rev. 5), provided, by Iraq to IAEA-28 in September 1995.

• Some 270 Group Four reports provided by Iraq on an optical disk to IAEA-29, in October 1995. Iraq claims that this disc includes all the reports published by Group Four.

• A small number of preliminary drawings of neutron initiators and detonator holders, which Iraq provided, on aperture cards, during the August 1995 high level technical talks.

• Group Four computer codes provided by Iraq to the IAEA in 1992 and 1996.

• The lens design code provided, by Iraq, to IAEA-29 in October 1995 which was used to calculate the slow/fast explosive interface, based on the density, detonation velocity, and characteristic dimensions of the lens.

• The July 1990 Lens Design and Detonator Synthesis Reports provided by Iraq to IAEA-28 in September 1995.

• Various design drawings contained in the Haider House Farm cache of documents provided by Iraq to the IAEA in August 1995. The cache contains an almost complete set of drawings of lens moulds, dated 13 October to 24 December 1990, but there are gaps in the series at potentially critical points.

On the other hand missing documentation affecting the completeness of information of Iraq's weaponisation capabilities include:

• Al QA Qaa: progress reports, production process records, experimental set-ups and results, communications with bodies outside the Dhafer project, such as Al QA Qaa commercial department, PC-3 or contractors.

• Al Atheer: design drawings for any of the nuclear weapon components (even in a preliminary stage), drawings for the integration of the weapon with the delivery system, additional documentation on the planning and results of experiments carried out after mid-1990, description of either the buildings at Al Atheer or the equipment installed or planned to be installed at the end of 1990.

• Documents related to the collaboration between Group Four and the other parts of the IAEC, in critical areas such as tritium production or neutron generators, as well as between Group Four and its missile counterparts.

• Documents providing precise lens dimensions for a specific nuclear weapon design - the lack of lens drawings is problematic, since the shape of the lens mould does not adequately indicate the final shape of the lens.

2.6 Summary

1. Iraq's insistence that it had not finalised a nuclear weapon design option at the time of the Gulf War complicates the task of evaluating Iraq's weaponisation capabilities at that time. However, although there are gaps in the documentation of Iraq's weaponisation activities, it appears that Iraq's declared progress towards developing practical capabilities, particularly uranium casting and machining and the production of explosive lenses for the implosion package, is consistent with Iraq's resources and the time frame of the programme.

2. Evaluation is further complicated by Iraq's long history of denial of the actual purpose of the Al Atheer nuclear weapons development and production facility and its persistent understatement of the scope and achievements of its weaponisation efforts, even in the post August-1995 era. Nonetheless, Iraqi programme documentation records substantial progress in many important areas of nuclear weapon development, making it prudent to assume that Iraq has developed the capability to design and fabricate a basic fission weapon, based on implosion technology and fuelled by highly enriched uranium.

3. While PC-3 has stated itself to be well aware of the fundamental basis of boosted fission weapons and thermo-nuclear weapons and Iraq was already investigating methods for the isolation of the Lithium-6 isotope, there are no indications of its imminent intention to exploit either technology.

4. Iraq's statement that all weaponisation activities ongoing at Al Atheer ceased as a result of the aerial bombardment in January 1991 is supported by the Al Atheer progress report, dated 10 September 1991 and covering the period from 1 June 1990 through 7 June 1991. However that same report contradicts Iraq's statement that its clandestine nuclear programme was effectively abandoned at that same time, by a statement, presumably by the Director General of Group Four, that "the factory is able to continue the implementation of its work-plan in spite of the material damage we have suffered", by which, in July 1997, he acknowledged that he had meant that Group Four could continue the nuclear weapons mission. The same report also included a proposal for the repair of Site 100, the heavy-duty high explosive external test bunker, and qualified as "important" some equipment useful only in the context of the continuation of the programme. In a letter dated 15 September 1997, the Iraqi counterpart disavowed the statement of the former Director General of Group Four, and characterised the statement as a personal opinion rather than the official Iraqi position.

5. Weaponisation is clearly the most sensitive aspect of Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme and is regrettably the area where Iraq has been most reluctant to enter into open discussion and where it has persisted in a continuing policy of understatement. The IAEA has made considerable efforts to persuade Iraq to co- operate in an endeavour to account for all of the materials and equipment that had been assigned to Group Four and listed in the final Al Atheer progress report. It was not until after the technical talks in May 1997 that Iraq responded to this need and in July, made available to the IAEA a large number of pieces of equipment formerly assigned to Activities 40B and 40G of Group Four which it explained had been found as the result of a search of a large number of facilities by a group of personnel formerly directly involved in the work of Activities 40G and 40G. As none of these items could be regarded as vital to a reconstituted nuclear weapons programme, it is difficult to understand why Iraq had not, long ago, made them available.

 

 

 


 

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