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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 8 SAFEGUARDS, NON-PROLIFERATION AND PEACEFUL
© M. Ragheb
“Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures
relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on
general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
Article VI of the Nonproliferation Treaty, NPT 8.1 INTRODUCTION
A sober assessment of the status of the nuclear safeguards and proliferation regimes is
attempted. The argument is here made that under the present status of these regimes; nuclear
weapons have become obsolete and unusable, leading to a discernible shift in threat and
On the other hand failure by the nuclear power states to abide by their commitment to
gradually reduce then eliminate their nuclear weapons stockpiles is creating an incentive for
some potential newcomers aspiring to join the nuclear club. They reason that what is
beneficial for the security of the nuclear weapons states should be also suitable for them.
The “axiom of proliferation” states that as long as some states cling to the possession
of nuclear weapons, others will also seek to acquire them. According to “catastrophe
theory,” serious nuclear disarmament is apparently waiting for some event that would stir
action toward the eventual goal of humanity to eliminate nuclear weapons. An analogy is
advanced of a village fully aware about the need to build gates along railroad tracks that pass
through it, remaining inactive then spring into action until the time that one of its residents is
hit by a passing train.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was established in 1957 as an
autonomous inter-governmental organization in the United Nations (UN) family of
organizations, to coordinate among nations the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The UN
itself was created after the Second World War to prevent and resolve conflicts and to
Since atomic weapons were used in warfare against Japan, the world's community has
determined that they should not be used again and a vision for a nuclear weapons-free world
dominates the political scene worldwide.
Article II of the IAEA statutes states that: “The International Atomic Energy Agency
shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and
prosperity throughout the World. It shall ensure, so far it is able, that assistance provided by
it or at its request or under its supervision or control is not used in such a way as to further
any military purpose.”
Parties to the treaties met in 1995 at the Fifth NPT Review and Extension
Conference, and decided on the indefinite extension of the Treaty and adoption of the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. They met in
April and May of 2000, for a sixth review conference of the Treaty. Another review was
held in 2005, with review meetings planned to be held every five years.
With the advent of superior new warfare technologies, nuclear weapons have become
obsolete, leaving the field clear for the peaceful applications of nuclear technology. The
tremendous energy release in nuclear weapons could be used in the future in planetary
engineering like terra forming Mars and Venus, restoring the Earth’s global equatorial
current in response to global warming or civil nuclear engineering projects. Space travel
within and beyond the solar system would have to depend on nuclear energy for propulsion
and for power in space or on bases on the moon or Mars. In them might be the salvation of
life on Earth in deflecting or shattering undesirable stellar invaders in the form of comets or
asteroids. For humans to spread all of life throughout the Milky Way galaxy and beyond in
the known universe, nuclear energy will be their most valuable tool. 8.2 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL TREATIES
LIMITED TEST BAN TREATY, LTBT, 1963
The USA, the Soviet Union and the UK signed the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons
tests in space, above ground and under water on August 5, 1963. Underground tests were
also outlawed if they resulted in spreading radioactive debris outside the territorial limits of
the state where the explosion is conducted. The treaty, which is of unlimited duration,
entered into force on October 10, 1963.
President John F. Kennedy signed his name to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty on
October 7, 1963. President Kennedy regarded the LTBT as a “Clear and honorable national
commitment to the cause of man's survival.”
NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY, NPT, 1968
The USA, the Soviet Union and the UK signed the treaty on July 1st, 1968. It limits
the spread of military nuclear technology by the recognized nuclear-weapon states: USA,
USSR, UK, France and China, to non nuclear nations wishing to build or acquire atomic
Non weapon states agree not to get nuclear arms and countries with nuclear weapons
will negotiate for disarmament. It specified that countries without nuclear weapons will
allow the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to oversee their nuclear facilities.
Countries also should exchange peaceful nuclear technology.
It has since been signed by 187 countries and was extended indefinitely in 1995.
India, Pakistan, Israel and Cuba are the only countries that have not signed it. India and
Pakistan tested nuclear devices in 1998, and Israel possesses a nuclear capability estimated at
80-100 nuclear devices, with about 50 carried on ballistic missiles and the rest for delivery by
aircraft, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI.
ANTI-BALLISTIC MISSILE TREATY, ABMT 1972 President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev signed the Anti
Ballistic Missile Treaty, ABMT, at the end of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I)
on May 26, 1972. It limited antiballistic missile launchers in each country to 200 launchers
and interceptors, 100 at each of two widely separated deployment areas, and imposed a 5
year freeze on testing and deployment if Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) and
Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) at 1972 levels.
It was based on the assumption that the fear of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD)
would stop the Soviet Union and the USA from launching a nuclear attack. It was ratified in
1972 by the USA and amended in 1974 to reduce the number of launchers to 100 and only
one launch site.
President George W. Bush administration tried to amend the treaty to clear the way
for a decision to mount a limited missile defense system in Europe in Poland to protect
against threats from “rogue states” such as North Korea and Iran. Russia opposed it as an
intrusion into its sphere of influence.
STRATEGIC ARMS LIMITATION TALKS, SALT II, 1979
President Jimmy Carter and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev signed the SALT II
Treaty on June 18, 1979. It restricted the number of strategic offensive weapons to 2,400
nuclear delivery vehicles as ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers, for each side and banned
the testing of many new missiles and launch systems.
The USA did not ratify the treaty after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in
December 1979. But President Jimmy Carter, and later President Ronald Reagan, agreed to
comply with the provisions of the treaty as long as the Soviet Union reciprocated. Leonid
Brezhnev made a similar statement regarding Soviet intentions.
INTERMEDIATE-RANGE NUCLEAR FORCES (INF) TREATY, 1987
President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev signed the INF
treaty on December 8, 1987. It required the elimination of all intermediate-range missiles,
shorter-range missiles and associated equipment. The treaty required the elimination of all
missiles with ranges between 625 and 3,500 miles by June 1, 1991, and all missiles with
ranges between 300 and 625 miles within 18 months.
In all, 2,692 missiles were to be eliminated. In addition, all associated equipment and
operating bases were closed out from any further INF missile system activity. Altogether it
resulted in the elimination of 846 USA INF missile systems and 1,846 Soviet INF missile
systems. The INF treaty was the first nuclear arms control agreement to actually reduce
nuclear arms, rather than establish ceilings.
STRATEGIC ARMS REDUCTION TREATY, START I, 1991
Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and USA President George Bush signed START I
on July 31, 1991. The bilateral agreement set a ceiling of 1,600 strategic nuclear delivery
vehicles and 6,000 “accountable” warheads for each country. Following the 1991 breakup of
the USSR., Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and the Ukraine became Parties to START I as legal
successors to the former communist nation with the signing of the Lisbon Protocol. In addition to the elimination of missiles, their launchers and bombers, START established
prohibitions on locations, training, testing and modernization.
When reductions were completed in 2001, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine had no
strategic nuclear forces and the strategic arsenals of the USA and former Soviet Union had
been reduced by 30-40 percent.
STRATEGIC ARMS REDUCTION TREATY, START II, 1993
President George W. H. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed START II
on January 3, 1993, which required the two countries to destroy 30 percent of long-range
nuclear missiles and eliminate land-based multiple-warhead missiles. It halved the USA and
Russian nuclear arsenals to between 3,000 and 3,500 warheads each. Only ICBMs carrying a
single-warhead remained. No more than 1,700-1,750 deployed warheads may be on SLBMs.
The agreement called for limitations and reductions to be completed from Jan. 1, 2003, to
Dec. 31, 2007.
The USA Senate ratified the treaty in 1996, but not the relevant protocols, which
would interfere with possible plans for a USA missile defense program. Russia's lower
house of parliament ratified both the treaty and the protocols in 2000. Ratifying START II
became a moot point on May 24, 2002, when Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin
signed the Treaty of Moscow.
COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY, CTBT, 1996
The USA, Russia, the UK and 90 other nations signed the CTBT on October 10,
1996, which would ban any and all nuclear tests above and below the Earth's surface. The
Treaty established an organization to ensure implementation.
India and Pakistan refused to sign. Twenty-nine of the required 44 countries have
ratified it. The USA Senate refused to ratify it in 1999.
STRATEGIC ARMS REDUCTION TREATY, START III
The START III Framework sought to establish by December 31, 2007, a ceiling of
2,000-2,500 strategic nuclear weapons for each of the parties, representing a 30 percent to 45
percent reduction in the number of total deployed strategic warheads permitted under START
Talks for START III were supposed to commence when START II took effect.
However because of disagreements over the USA’s missile defense program, START II was
MOSCOW TREATY ON STRATEGIC OFFENSIVE REDUCTION
President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty to
slash their long range nuclear warheads by two thirds. The treaty commits the former Cold
War adversaries to cutting their arsenals to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads and bombs by
the year 2012. The two nuclear giants held about 6,000 warheads each at the time of signing. In 2002, USA President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin
signed the “Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions.”
In 2004, USA President George W. Bush issued a directive to cut the entire USA
nuclear stockpile of both deployed and reserve warheads in half by 2012 relative to 2001.
The goal was achieved by 2007; five years ahead of schedule.
Critics say the treaty merely rearranges the arsenals of the two nations, because the
agreement does not require either nation to destroy any warheads or delivery vehicles. It
instead allows the USA and Russia to comply with the treaty by putting warheads in storage,
where it is possible they could be used at some point in the future.
STRATEGIC ARMS REDUCTION TREATY, START IV
The USA President Barack Obama and Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev signed a
successor to the 1991 START treaty in April 2010 at Prague, the Czech Republic. Both
countries’ nuclear arsenals will be cut by another 30 percent, to 1,550 warheads each, leaving
either side with plenty of devices to incinerate most major population centers on Earth. 8.3 THE TREATY ON THE NON-PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR
The NPT (Appendix I) was opened for signature on July 1, 1968 and entered into
force on March 5, 1970 after it had been ratified by its depositories: the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics (USSR), the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States of America
(USA), as well as forty other states signatory to the Treaty. The Non-Proliferation Treaty
(NPT) has as its goals:
1. Halt the further spread of nuclear weapons,
2. Provide security for non-nuclear-weapon states which have given up the nuclear weapons
3. Create a climate where cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is fostered,
4. Encourage good faith arms control negotiations leading to the eventual elimination of
Under it, most of the nuclear weapons-free states have legally committed themselves
not to acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in any manner whatsoever.
They also accept the obligation to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements with the
IAEA covering all of their peaceful nuclear activities. In return, the declared nuclear
weapons states have committed themselves to undertake negotiations in good faith for
nuclear and general disarmament. Although not obliged to conclude comprehensive
safeguards agreements, the nuclear weapon states have agreed that the Safeguards regime
would be applied to all or part of their civilian nuclear activities. All parties have pledged to
promote the transfer of peaceful nuclear technology to other parties. The NPT entered into
force in 1970 and was extended indefinitely in 1995. As of April 2000, it had 187 States
parties and provides the foundations of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Depositary
governments are the Russian Federation, the UK, and USA. The NPT has been criticized by many nations for its perceived double standards:
demanding the renunciation of nuclear weapons from the non weapons states, while
tolerating a nuclear arms race among the nuclear weapons states, and maintaining the
strategic advantage that nuclear weapons provide them with. In addition to the lack of
concrete steps on the side of the weapons states towards nuclear disarmament, they are
accused by the non weapons states to have adopted an unofficial policy of “Denial of
Technology,” particularly what is designated as “Dual Use Technology,” in favor of low
level “Appropriate Technology.” This is being justified on the basis of the dual nature of
some technologies such as aerospace and nuclear energy, in that they can be used for both
peaceful and military purposes. This is an acknowledged failure of the NPT encouraging
those countries that are committed to the acquisition of modern technologies for economical
or strategic purposes to avoid it.
There are prominent successes though. The primary incentive to the acquisition of
nuclear weapons has been concerns about the national security of the weapons states.
Insecurity nowadays lies in the economic and environmental spheres as trade deficits,
drought or global warming and environmental pollution. As the Cold War between the
Eastern and Western blocs waned down, the risk of war between the great powers is
becoming remote. As a result stockpiles of aging nuclear weapons that are becoming unsafe
due to deteriorating explosives and corrosion of metallic components; needing to be
remanufactured, are being dismantled and are not being reassembled into newer weapons.
The fissile materials such as Highly Enriched Uranium (HEL) in the aging weapons is diluted
with natural uranium into Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) and used by the electrical utilities
for producing electricity in fission power plants.
Regional Treaties such as the Tlatelolco Treaty, have been successful in stopping the
regional introduction of nuclear weapons in South America. Voluntarily, Brazil in 1990,
South Africa in 1991 and under pressure, Lybia in 2003 dismantled with the help of the
IAEA their existing nuclear weapons programs. Iran and Brazil agreed to the IAEA
inspections of undeclared U235 centrifuge enrichment facilities.
Iraq was forced to dismantle a suspected nuclear weapons program, and because of
uncertainties and disinformation by regime dissidents about its compliance with the imposed
IAEA inspections, was forcefully invaded and in 2003 in part because of the uncertainty
surrounding the inspection process, and subjected to “regime change,” and to military
Pressured for inspections, and fearing an invasion like in the case of Iraq, the
Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK), gave due notice and withdrew from the NPT
in 2003. It then reprocessed its plutonium stockpile, and declared itself in possession of an
unspecified “deterrent” in 2004 with later testing. In 2007, it agreed to IAEA inspection in
return for economical incentives.
There is still concern about the threat of the existing modernized nuclear stockpiles.
Nuclear non-proliferation commitments are not yet universal. The Nuclear Weapons Club
consisting for a long period of 5 members: The USA, Russian Federation, China, UK, and
France, saw two new members added to it as India tested nuclear devices in 1974 and 1998
and with Pakistan following up in 1998.
There exists one single undeclared member of the club of weapons states: Israel,
which suggests that it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself against conventional and
nuclear attack. With progress towards peace and democracy and peace in the Middle East the perceived need for these weapons will fade away. Clandestine efforts at acquiring
nuclear weaponry are suspected in several states such as Iran, Brazil, Algeria, Syria the
People's Republic of Korea and possibly others.
In addition, most of the industrialized states that have developed a nuclear
infrastructure such as Japan, Brazil and Germany are in fact Latent Nuclear Weapons States,
in that they are capable at developing nuclear weaponry on a short notice, due to the
availability of materials, facilities and equipment. Not acquiring nuclear weapons was a
choice on their part based on economical and political reasons. A classification of nuclear
weapons policies in different states is shown in Table 1.
A reliable renunciation of nuclear weapons is mutually reinforcing among neighbors
and within regions, and has been successful for instance in South America. On the other
hand, concern about the reliability of these commitments and the possible clandestine
development and retention of these weapons has lead to a publicized nuclear arms race on the
Indian subcontinent, and to an unpublicized one in the Middle East region. The latter is in
need for a regional treaty similar to the other successful ones.
Table 1: Classification and breakdown of national nuclear weapons policies
Declared nuclear weapons states
Other large nuclear weapons states
Other small nuclear weapons states Fraction of world population
States under USA nuclear umbrella
States under other nuclear umbrellas
Former nuclear weapons states
USA allies with technology
Other states with technology
States keeping weapons of mass destruction option
Nuclear threshold states
States advancing the technology
100 8.4 NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY REVIEWS
Every five years, the 188 members of the NPT meet for a month to review the
landmark treaty. The 2005 review ended without any agreement on how to improve the
accord. Many delegates blamed both the USA and the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) for
what they described a failure of the conference to do anything. The USA delegation worked hard to prevent the conference, which works by consensus, from approving any documents
that refer to its 1995 and 2000 NPT review meetings pledges to nuclearly disarm, while the
IRI blocked anything that referred to it as a proliferation threat and possible NPT violator.
The 2005 review conference chairperson, Sergio Duarte of Brazil, declared that the
disagreements between the nuclear weapons and non nuclear weapons states ran so deep that
“very little has been accomplished.” When asked what the fundamental cause of the failure
was, he said: “I think you can write several books on that.”
The review conference, which takes place every five years, had once been seen as a
chance to deal with gaping loopholes in the treaty that have allowed a resurgence in the
possible spread of nuclear weapons.
In the months leading up to the meeting, it became clear that little progress was
likely, and in the end the disagreement between the USA, which wanted to focus on the
People Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) or North Korea and Iran, and countries
demanding that the USA and the nuclear weapons states shrink their own arsenals according
to their earlier commitments, ran so deep that no real negotiations over how to stem
proliferation ever took place. 8.5 USA COUNTER-PROLIFERATION REGIME, PROLIFERATION
President George W. Bush had repeatedly declared that nuclear proliferation,
including the perceived risk of terrorists obtaining a nuclear weapon, is the biggest single
threat to the USA whose administration decided against sending Secretary of State
Condoleeza Rice to the conference, leaving arguments to mid level diplomats. The 150 or so
nations at the conference spent several weeks arguing about the agenda.
The USA’s secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described the treaty as “an extremely
important document” and said: “We will continue to support it.” But she warned that: “It is
fraying in many ways,” choosing to concentrate the attention to the USA’s “counterproliferation” programs, from intercepting suspected nuclear cargo to bringing down global
nuclear sales networks.
Conferees criticized, without naming them, the USA for ignoring its commitments,
and other nations for failing to grapple with the Iran and DPRK problems. The Canadian
representative, Paul Meyer, said: “We have let the pursuit of short-term, parochial interest
override the collective long-term interest in sustaining this treaty's authority and integrity.”
Mohammed El Baradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency,
who had proposed new mechanisms for international control of nuclear material so nations
could not secretly produce weapons grade fuel, said: “absolutely nothing” had come out of
the meeting and said: “We are ending after a month of rancor, when everyone agreed that the
system is ailing but not busted, and the same issues continue to stare us in the eyes.”
Non-nuclear states insisted that the USA and other nuclear powers focus on radically
reducing their armaments, reminding them of commitments made five years earlier in the
previous review meeting by the USA’s President Bill Clinton administration.
The USA insisted that conditions had changed radically since then. A history of
milestones in its counter-proliferation policy published by the American delegation omitted
references to commitments that President George W. Bush administration had rejected and
tried to focus the conference on how to deal with problems like the DPRK, which abandoned the treaty two years earlier and has declared that it has a small nuclear arsenal. The
American representative, Jackie W. Sanders, said the USA wanted to continue the discussion
“in other fora,” without describing when or where. The USA administration's favored
approach is its Proliferation Security Initiative, an effort to organize dozens of nations into a
loose dragnet that would stop ships, train and airplanes believed to be carrying nuclear
related goods. Its most famous success came in 2003, when a Libya bound freighter, the
BBC China, was forced into port in Taranto, Italy, to disgorge equipment to enrich uranium.
Libya, under pressure, renounced its nuclear arms program soon after. That effort does not
fully address how to deal with countries that are permitted under the treaty to make nuclear
material for civilian energy purposes, and then concurrently run secret weapons programs.
Echoing the mutual suspicions between nuclear and non nuclear weapons states,
Javad Zarif, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations accused the USA and Israel of
representing the real nuclear threat to the world. He suggested that the USA never intended
to scrap its nuclear arsenal, despite promising to eventually disarm when it signed the 1970
nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, the landmark arms control pact. Javad Zarif dismissed as
hollow USA pledges in 1995 and 2000 reaffirming its commitment to scrap its nuclear
arsenal saying: “The USA never had any intention of living up to its commitments under
Article 6 of the treaty.” He argued that Israel, which is widely believed to have nuclear
weapons, was the threat to the Middle East region. “There is unanimity on the threat that is
posed not only by Israeli nuclear weapons but by its aggressive policy (in general).” Javad
Zarif said USA threat of attacks on Iran's nuclear program were a “smoke screen to divert
attention from its violations” that included a USA’s willingness “to use nuclear weapons
against non nuclear weapon states.”
Washington is backing efforts by the UK, France and Germany to persuade Iran to
halt its nuclear fuel enrichment program, which they fear may be intended to make atomic
bombs. Iran denies this, insisting its program is peaceful.
The IAEA, which has extensively monitored Iran's nuclear activities since 2003, said
in its latest report that it found no “components of a nuclear weapon” or “related nuclear
physics studies” in the country.
In Article VI of the NPT the five treaty signatories with nuclear weapons, the Russian
Federation, the USA, France, UK and China, agreed to eventually disarm. 8.6 GLOBAL NUCLEAR ENERGY PARTNERSHIP, GNEP
This nuclear fuel access control program was announced by USA Energy Secretary
Samuel Bodman in 2006 as a plan to form an international partnership to reprocess spent
nuclear fuel in a way that renders the plutonium in it usable for nuclear fuel but unusable for
nuclear weapons with 11 countries signed up as members.
This program is an alternative to the regulatory arm of the IAEA. 8.7 REGIONAL TREATIES
There exist currently several regional treaties that supplement the global NPT:
1. The Treaty of Tlatelolco, or the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in
Latin America and the Caribbean requires its parties to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements with the IAEA. Figure 1 shows the geographical area covered
by the Tlatelolco Treaty.
The Treaty of Bangkok for South East Asia.
The Treaty of Rarotonga or the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty.
The Treaty of Pelindaba for Africa.
Some of these regional treaties provide for complementary nuclear inspection
arrangements. In the European Union, the European Atomic Energy Commission
(EURATOM) provides safeguards inspections. In Brazil and Argentina, inspections are also
carried out by their own Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Material (ABACC).
The possibility of a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East has been suggested.
With the conflict ridden history of this region and the slow creep towards peace there, its
implementation would be a major achievement for the nations of the region. Because a high
level of trust would have to be generated, a combination of bilateral agreements, and regional
and multilateral measures would have to be adopted. Fig. 1: The geographical area encompassed by the regional Tlatelolco Treaty. 8.8 NUCLEAR WEAPONS FREE ZONES
SOUTHEAST ASIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS FREE ZONE (SEANWFZ)
During a July 29, 2007 meeting in Manila, Philippines, foreign ministers from the
Association of South Eastern Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states reviewed the
implementation of the South East Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (SEANWFZ) treaty
and endorsed a five year plan of action to strengthen it. The ten members of the ASEAN: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,
Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, have all signed the regional
non-proliferation treaty. However, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, have
yet to ratify their support for the accord.
Since 1997, a treaty creating the SEANWFZ has been in force in the region, limiting
the use of nuclear energy by members to peaceful purposes, such as power generation.
Under the treaty, ASEAN members may not develop or test nuclear weapons and pledge not
to allow the storage or transport of those weapons within their territories. However, naval
ships from countries such as the USA often pass through busy Southeast Asian shipping
lanes, without confirmation whether the ships are carrying nuclear weapons. 8.9 THE SAFEGUARDS SYSTEM
The IAEA has been mandated an important role in the implementation and fulfillment
of the NPT, through its Safeguards system. States transferring nuclear technology, material
or equipment that could be of some relevance weapons development programs make the
acceptance of safeguards a condition for such transfer. For some more important
installations most suppliers impose an even stringer condition of “full-scope” or
“comprehensive safeguards” in that the recipient country accepts safeguards over all its
relevant nuclear activities.
Safeguards are thus in most situations a verification process imposed by the nuclear
technology suppliers. They require a guarantee that their exports will not contribute to
nuclear weapons development.
Under Article III of the NPT, the IAEA is responsible to verify that non-nuclearweapon States parties to the treaty are not diverting nuclear material from peaceful uses to
nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Under Article IV of the NPT, the IAEA
provides the main multilateral channel for expanding of the application of nuclear energy for
peaceful purposes. It is providing the verification systems for nuclear weapons free zones
envisaged in Article VII, and is contributing to the verification of activities relevant to
Article VI. 8.10 STATUS OF EXISTING SAFEGUARDS AGREEMENTS
Legal agreements between the member states and the IAEA based on the NPT
commitments are the basis of IAEA safeguards. Most agreements are designated as “fullscope” or “comprehensive” agreements in that they extend to all peaceful nuclear activities in
a member state.
The following Table 2 displays a compilation of the different status of safeguards
agreements by different countries worldwide. The presence or non-presence of asterisks in
the seven vertical numbered columns indicates the existence or nonexistence of the following
types of agreements:
1. States having a Safeguards agreement in force, which satisfies the requirements of the
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and/or the Treaty of Tlatelolco in South America.
2. States that are parties to the NPT, which have not yet signed NPT’s Safeguards
agreements. 3. States, which have concluded a comprehensive Safeguards agreement, which is pursuant
to NPT and/or Tlatelolco Treaty.
4. States not party to NPT having Safeguards agreements in force.
5. Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) with voluntary offer agreements in force.
6. States where International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards are actually
7. States that have signed the NPT Safeguards agreements, but with these agreements have
not entered into force yet.
Table 2: Status of Safeguards Agreements Worldwide
Antigua and Barbuda
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Central African Republic
* 2 3 * * * 4 5 6 7 *
* * *
China, Rep. of
Dem. People's Rep. of Korea
Dem. Rep. of the Congo
Iran, Islamic Rep. of *
* * *
* * * *
Korea, Rep. of
Lao People's Dem. Rep.
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Macedonia, Rep. of
* * *
* * * Nigeria
Papua New Guinea
Rep. of Moldova
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Vincent and Grenadines
Sao Tome and Principe
Syrian Arab Republic
Taiwan, Rep. of China
* * *
* * *
* * Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
United Rep. of Tanzania
United States of America
Yemen, Rep. of
* * * *
* * 8.11 THE INSPECTION PROCESS
Inspectors affiliated with the Safeguards process regularly visit nuclear facilities to
perform the following activities:
1. Nuclear Material Accountancy. This system is comparable to a financial accounting system where inspectors verify
records that State authorities keep on the whereabouts of nuclear material under their control.
It establishes the quantities of nuclear materials present in a nuclear facility and the changes
in these quantities that take place over time.
Reports on the whereabouts of nuclear materials covering stocks of nuclear fuel and
the export and import of safeguarded materials and equipment are regularly received,
reviewed and stored in computer data files.
2. Containment and Surveillance. Surveillance cameras and electronic surveillance instruments are installed at nuclear
facilities, to complement the accounting process. Continuous and automatic recording is
supplemented by small metal seals, which are fixed on cameras housings, at nuclear
materials storage areas and containers to prevent tampering. The films and the seals are
regularly analyzed. A number of about 4,884 videotapes, 932 optical surveillance films and
26,824 fixed seals are verified in a given year. 3. Inspection and Verification. The inspection process, like an independent auditing process, aims at building
confidence that the non-proliferation commitments are being met. To confirm the physical
inventories of nuclear materials, inspectors with agreed rights of access, regularly visit
nuclear facilities to verify records, check instruments and surveillance equipment and
confirm physical inventories of nuclear materials.
A characteristic of the inspection process is that it is a voluntary process, since the
IAEA is not considered as being a supranational organization with powers to impose its
inspection regime on any state.
Safeguarded facilities and materials are growing with the growing use of nuclear
energy, as well as the acceptance of the Safeguards concept. Inspections are applied
intensively at locations containing special nuclear materials that can be turned into nuclear
explosives such as plutonium and highly enriched uranium. A sampling of the different
types of inspected facilities is shown in Table 3. The Safeguards process appears to be
minimal and of a symbolic nature in the declared nuclear weapons states. 8.12 DETECTION OF UNDECLARED ACTIVITIES:
Safeguards activities are aimed predominantly at verifying “declared” nuclear materials
and items. Inspectors are not permitted to roam about in a random search for hidden nuclear
materials or clandestine nuclear activities.
A strengthened and more rigorous inspection program has been introduced in May 1997
under the Model Protocol Additional to States Agreements. This includes supplementary
measures such as the use of new information gathering and verification techniques and access to
locations not subject to safeguards.
Table 3: Safeguarded Installations or with Safeguarded Nuclear Material.
Nuclear Power Reactors
Research reactors and critical assemblies
Chemical conversion plants
Fuel fabrication plants
Fuel reprocessing plants
Uranium enrichment plants
Separate storage facilities
Non-nuclear Installations Nuclear
1 Total ___
1085 Nuclear materials have distinctive radioactive characteristic particles and photon
emissions such as gamma and x-rays, which facilitate their detection and measurement with a
high degree of accuracy from aerospace platforms. Sensitive environmental sampling techniques
of air and soil, can detect the presence of undeclared activities. Samples from equipment
surfaces and from buildings, and from the air, water, sediment and vegetation are analyzed at a
Safeguards Analytical Laboratory, or sent to laboratories in member states. Independent
confirmations of the enrichment level and content of nuclear materials are conducted on-site.
Under the Safeguards agreements pursuant to the NPT, all nuclear materials and
installations in a member State are subject to Safeguards. However the Safeguards inspection
system was designed to detect diversion of nuclear material in declared installations. It was not
designed to detect clandestine nuclear facilities and undeclared materials in them. The detection
of clandestine facilities is a difficult problem. Inspectors cannot randomly search for undeclared
installations: the formal Safeguard agreements do not allow such action. The inspectors must
possess reliable information to lead them to relevant sites.
In Iraq, before Gulf War I, such reliable information was neither available to the
Safeguards inspectors, nor to other governments. A rude awakening showed the inability of the
Safeguard system as practiced before the Gulf War I to detect clandestine nuclear installations.
Under the mandate of the Security Council resolution 687 in 1991, as asserted by the IAEA,
inspection missions revealed that Iraq did in fact not divert the previously declared and
safeguarded quantities of nuclear materials to weapons programs. However, those same
missions, supplemented by intelligence reports by other member states, particularly the USA,
revealed the existence of undeclared research facilities for the enrichment of uranium using
electromagnetic and centrifuge processes. Even though these facilities were experimental in
nature and incapable of producing industrially sufficient quantities of fissile materials for a
weapons program, they attracted considerable public and media attention.
One process in particular had no hope for success. The development of the
electromagnetic separation process as part of the Manhattan project in the USA was an enormous
red herring and failed spectacularly in providing a significant amount of fissile materials for the
project. The plants built at Oak Ridge on the basis of Lawrence's experimental California
Cyclotron or Calutron were soaking up one fourth of the total 2 billion dollars allocated to the
project. Its enriched uranium product was so impure that it could only be used to feed one of the
other separation processes. Yet, the information about it was allowed at this time to be smuggled
out to Russia to divert its efforts toward infertile grounds.
In 1954, Brig. Gen. Leslie Groves, under oath, commented about the information
smuggled to Russia about the electromagnetic separation process: “I would like to emphasize
that the information he (Joseph Weinberg) passed on was probably with respect to the
electromagnetic process … we were never too much concerned about this; because I personally
felt that while the electromagnetic process was a process, while it was of extreme importance to
us during the war, and we saved at least a year's time by doing it, that it was not the process we would follow after the war. That is one of the reasons why we put silver in those magnets,
because we knew we could get it out.”
It appears that a similar disinformation situation was swallowed by Iraq, with the
probable added intention of siphoning as much as possible of its oil money by unscrupulous
The uniquely tailored and highly intrusive inspection regime imposed by the Security
Council upon Iraq, and that Iraq had no choice but accepting under the cease fire agreement,
allocated much incomparably wider inspections powers to the IAEA, than under the normal NPT
Safeguards agreements. Under these wider powers conveyed by the Security Council, and with
information obtained from other Member States such as the USA, the Iraqi nuclear program was
practically dismantled. Yet uncertainty did prevail about full disclosure and allowing the IAEA
inspectors full access. This uncertainty was exploited as a pretext for an already planned regime
change, invasion, and occupation and dismemberment of Iraq. 8.13 DISMANTLING NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAMS: THE SOUTH
Following South Africa’s signing of the NPT in 1991, and its announcement of
abandoning its nuclear weapons program, the IAEA General Conference requested the
Director General to verify the completeness of the inventory of nuclear installations and
materials include in its report to the IAEA. The filling of a shaft prepared in the Kalahari
Desert for an intended nuclear test is shown in Fig. 2.
South Africa enters history as the first country to have voluntarily rolled back from an
undeclared nuclear weapons state status. The nuclear weapons that it built were dismantled
and all the nuclear material in South Africa was declared to the Safeguards program. Fig. 2: Filling out the Kalahari Desert test hole in South Africa.
Lybia in 2003 also invited the IAEA to dismantle an insignificant research program
under USA pressure and UK brokering, and preempted the possibility of being subjected to a
planned regime change scenario similar to the Iraqi one. Fig. 3: Lybia’s pool research reactor at Tajura, east of Tripoli.
This suggests that transparency regarding all nuclear related activities is important in
building confidence in a state's nuclear materials and installations.
Acceptance of inspections “anywhere anytime” would help to inspire confidence.
This would include military sites, with the Safeguards program becoming responsible to
protect legitimate military secrets from revelation. 8.14 STOPPING UNDECLARED ACTIVITIES: THE DEMOCRATIC
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA (DPRK) PROGRAM
The use of advanced analytical techniques after the 1991 Gulf War confirmed the
conclusion that there was more plutonium in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
(DPRK), than was previously declared to the IAEA, and that it was capable of producing
several nuclear devices. Inspections conducted in 1992 found inconsistencies between the
information provided by the DPRK and the information obtained by analysis of samples of
material taken by IAEA inspectors. The DPRK did not allow the IAEA to carry the
necessary activities to resolve the discrepancies; the issue was reported to the IAEA Board of
Governors, which referred the matter to the United Nations Security Council. Fig. 4: Inside view of Yongbyon-1, 5 MWth research reactor in the DPRK in a May
1992, IAEA Photograph. Fig. 5: Fuel storage pool of Yongbyon-1, 5 MWth research reactor in the DPRK. AP
Photograph. Fig. 6: Exterior view of Yongbyon 1, 5 MWth research reactor in the DPRK. Fig. 7: Aerial photograph of the Taechon 200 MWe power reactor under construction
and the Yongbyon 1, 5 MWth research reactor in the DPRK.
The authorities there chose to discharge the fuel from their 5 MWth experimental
power reactor without the Safeguards authorities’ supervision. This action did not allow a
determination of the exact amounts of fissile material present. FISSILE FUEL PRODUCTION ESTIMATION
The fission process releases about 200 MeV per fission event of which 10 MeV, or 5
percent, are in the form of antineutrinos whose energy is not extractable.
For a reactor generating a thermal power of P MWth, the fission rate of an extractable
fission energy yield of 190 [MeV/fission], is given by: d(fissions)
106 Wth 1Joule
fissions 24 x 60 x 60sec
= P MWth x
MWth Wth .sec 1.6x10 Joule 190 MeV
= 2.7 x10 P
day (1) 21 This fission rate can be expressed in terms of Avogadro’s law as:
where : A=235amu, A v = Avogadro'snumber (2) The fuel burnup rate, is “g” and is given by: g= A d(fissions)
dt = 2.84 x1021
= 1.11 P 235
day (3) gm
day Not all the fissile nuclei undergo fission to produce power. A fraction of them
undergo a radiative capture process, in which a neutron is absorbed with the emission of a
gamma photon, without fissioning. Thus we define the fuel consumption rate as a function
of its microscopic radiative capture cross section σc and its microscopic fission cross section
σf as: consumption rate = σc + σ f
σf = 1.11(1 + σc
σf = 1.11(1 + α )P
The ratio of microscopic capture to fission cross sections is: (4) =
= = 0.17,for thermal fissions in U 235 .
σ f 582 (5) For a non breeder reactor which has a conversion factor C defined as the number of
fissile nuclei produced per fissile nucleus consumed, the fissile production rate would be: fissile production= 1.11(1 + α )CP [gm/day]
rate (6) If the reactor had a high conversion factor C = 0.95, after a year of operation an upper
limit for fissile fuel as Pu239 production for a P = 5 MW(th) reactor would be: fissile production= 1.11(1 + 0.17)0.95 x5x365 [gm/year]
=2.25[kg/year] (7) This is considered an upper limit since some of the produced plutonium will undergo
This is well below a single critical mass size for Pu239 at around 10 kgs. In addition
such plutonium that was irradiated for a long period of time contains even mass number
isotopes of plutonium such as Pu240 that make the material effectively unsuitable for weapons
manufacture, unless sophisticated methods of assembly and detonation are used. Thus the
fears that a 5 MWth reactor can be used for a sustained weapons program appear overblown.
Larger power reactors are needed for any significant weapons program at the power level of
the P = 100 MWth, producing: fissile production= 1.11(1 + 0.17)0.95 x100x365 [gm/year]
=45,032.4[gm/year] (8) =45[kg/year]
Nevertheless, the non compliance with safeguards agreements, and the rejection of a
request for a special inspection has been reported to the Security Council and became a cause
of concern, generating international pressure for the DPRK to adhere to the Safeguards
agreements that it earlier committed itself to. The Safeguards program did not specifically
assert that nuclear material has been diverted to a clandestine nuclear power program, since it
had no evidence to this effect. However, the DPRK has been reported to be in noncompliance with its safeguards agreement, that nuclear material could have been diverted and
that the DPRK was rejecting a request for a special inspection.
The request for a special inspection was based on satellite imagery provided by other
member states at a reported five inches resolution, and which is now available commercially
at a 1 meter resolution, about locations where suspicious construction activities were
occurring and that were worthy of further inspections. A framework had been reached between the DPRK and the USA and was reported to
the Security Council, which involves a freeze of a number of nuclear installations in the
DPRK. On October 21, 1994, the USA and North Korea signed the “Agreed Framework,”
calling upon the freeze of the operation and construction of nuclear reactors suspected of
being part of a covert nuclear weapons program. The freeze agreement was reached in return
for a promise by the USA to lead a consortium to build two civilian nuclear power reactors
and providing an interim supply of oil until these reactors are built.
The four-page agreement terms are as follows.
1. Both nations committed to move toward normalized economical and political
2. Commitment not to nuclearize the Korean peninsula.
1. Freezing of operations on its 5 MWth research reactor and plutonium reprocessing
plant at Yongbyon and a 200 MWe power plant under construction at Taechon.
2. Provide full access to IAEA inspectors to all nuclear facilities in the country.
3. Pull all spent fuel from the 5 MWth reactor into containers and remove them from the
4. The DPRK to remain a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
1. Lead a consortium to build two 1,000 MWe light water nuclear power plants by 2003.
2. Provide heavy oil shipments until the reactor project is finished.
Even though concrete has been poured for the first reactor, the building of these
reactors was thrown years behind schedule by political and funding problems. The
agreement was reached by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright with a Democratic Party
administration in the USA under President William (Bill) Clinton. The following Republican
administration with Secretary of State Collin Powell under President George W. Bush, did
not feel itself obligated to adhere to the previous administration’s agreement.
In October of 2002, the USA confronted the DPRK with satellite imagery of a secret
program to enrich uranium for weapons using centrifuge technology, which the DPRK
admitted that it existed. The USA and its allies including South Korea, Japan and the
European Union suspended the agreed upon fuel oil shipments. As a response, the DPRK
declared that it will restart its 5 MWth reactor at Yongbyon, moved fresh fuel rods to the
facility, removed UN monitors seals and surveillance cameras and expelled UN inspectors
and showed signs that it will withdraw from the NPT. In fact it gave due notice and
withdrew from the NPT. It later declared in 2004 that it has acquired an unspecified
“deterrent.” It later declared that it tested a nuclear device, which, because of its low
seismically detected yield was most probably a dud.
The DPRK promised to resolve concerns about its nuclear developments if the USA
would sign a non aggression treaty. As part of the Agreed Framework, both sides agreed that
within three months of its signing, “Both sides will reduce barriers to trade and investment,
including restrictions on telecommunications services and financial transaction.” Although
some economic restrictions were removed, the DPRK remained on the USA’s State
Department “list of countries that sponsor terrorism.” This list rules out bank loans from the
World Bank and other international financial organizations, such as the UN World Food
Program, which are strongly influenced by the USA. The DPRK has a fear of the USA’s military designs and of a hardening of its policies,
which adopted the concept of a “pre-emptive strike doctrine,” “unilateral intervention,” place
it in an “axis of evil” with Iraq and Iran. It invokes terms from the Agreed Framework
including the USA’s pledge to provide it with “formal assurances … against the threat or use
of nuclear weapons by the USA.” USA officials responded that they are not considering an
invasion of the DPRK, and want a peaceful solution to the dispute. The drama is still
ongoing with hopefully peaceful results, maybe along a modified form of the initial
framework agreement that addresses both sides concerns. 8.15 FORCEFUL DISMANTLEMENT: IRAQ’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Iraq has had an ill-conceived and ill-fated nuclear program riddled with defections,
failures, fraud, corruption, mismanagement, spying, assassinations, defections and insider
sabotage. Most of the effort did not get beyond theoretical and experimental studies and
never went beyond the pilot plant stage. Yet it was perceived and presented, ironically even
by Iraq itself, to the world as a possibly successful program, and precipitated sanctions,
attacks to destroy its research facilities, regime change, war and military invasion and
occupation and dismantling of the country among its ethnic groups.
A research reactor supplied by France, modeled after the French research reactor
Osiris and designated as Osirak, was bombed by the Israeli air force in 1981 after flying over
Jordanian territory, before it even became critical, even though it was under IAEA
safeguards. The loss of this facility did not stop Iraq from pursuing a clandestine weapons
In 1991, USA’s F-16s and stealth F-117 aircraft took again aim at the Osirak reactor
at Tuwaitha. After the Israeli raid, it had been fortified against air attack. The defenses
included 300 feet earth berms surrounding the facility, topped by towers carrying cables that
crossed the site. Surface-to-air-missile (SAM) batteries also surrounded the site. Smoke pots
were activated against the first wave of attacks with F-16s in the attack role, preventing
accurate laser weapons delivery. The defenses were intense with an F-16 pilot reporting
being attacked by seven SAMs at one time. During the following day’s Air Tasking Order
(ATO) briefing, an F-117 pilot volunteered the 37th TFW for the target, and eight F-117s
struck it that night, delivering 16 weapons and destroying 16 targets. The F-117 was armed
with the GBU-27 laser guided bomb, which combined either with a standard Mk84 2,000pound bomb or a BLU-109 guided hard-target bomb. The F-117 was equipped with an
infrared targeting turret in front of its windshield. On subsequent nights, the F-117s
systematically destroyed Osirak. Air operations in Iraq ended on February 28, 1991,
bringing Iraq’s reactor program to a total halt. Fig. 8: Testing dispersed fuel at a bombed out by the USA Tuwaitha research reactor in
the 1991 Gulf War. Fig. 9: Osiraq building destroyed by an Israeli bombing raid, Iraq.
After the 1991 Gulf War, inspections uncovered a program involving the separation
of a few grams of plutonium from irradiated fuel which is insufficient for any meaningful
weapons program. The highly enriched uranium in the fuel of the safeguarded reactor at
Tuwaitha was not used in the weapons development program. What led to controversy was an experimental program of uranium enrichment involving large quantities of undeclared
The IAEA extensive inspection activities between 1991 and 1998 uncovered a failed,
yet well funded clandestine program in Iraq aimed at the indigenous development and
exploitation of nuclear technologies. The inspectors, under accusations of spying activities,
were withdrawn by the IAEA to protect them against a planned cruise missiles attack by the
USA. They were readmitted by Iraq to carry on their inspections at the end of 2002. Their
reported inspections covered any nuclear related activities and sites in Iraq.
Uranium mining, production and processing were based at the following nuclear and
1. Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center.
2. Al Jezira uranium conversion facility.
3. Al Qaim uranium recovery plant, constructed between 1982-1984.
4. The Akashat phosphate and uranium processing plant.
5. The Skhair mine.
6. The Rashdiya Engineering and Design Center.
7. The Tarmiya magnetic enrichment site.
8. Al Furat gas centrifuge enrichment site.
9. Al Qaqaa explosives facility.
10. Al Atheer weapons development and production plant.
Iraq had proceeded since 1979 in the overt importation, procurement and production
of uranium compounds from different sources:
1. Importation from Italy in 1979 of 4.006 metric tonnes of natural uranium and 6.005
metric tonnes of depleted uranium. This depleted uranium may have been intended
for the production of anti armor projectiles and armor shields.
2. Importation from Russia and France of 50 kgs of highly enriched uranium.
3. From Portugal in 1980, 429 drums containing 138.098 metric tonnes of yellowcake,
then again in 1982, 487 drums containing 148.348 metric tonnes of yellow cake.
4. From the Niger Republic in 1981, 432 drums containing 137.435 metric tonnes of
yellow cake, then in 1982, 426 drums containing 139.409 metric tones of yellow
5. From Brazil in 1982-1982 24.260 metric tonnes of uranium dioxide (UO2).
6. Produced at Al Qaim uranium recovery plant 109 metric tonnes of uranium and 168
metric tonnes of yellowcake.
7. Produced 426 drums containing 99.457 metric tonnes of UO2 at Al Jezira uranium
8. Produced an unspecified amount of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) at the Rashdiya
Engineering and Design Center.
9. From uranium dioxide, produced uranium tetrafluride (UF4), uranium metal and UF6
at the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center’s Chemical laboratories.
10. Processed UO2 and yellowcake to produce uranium metal and various uranium
compounds such as UF4, UO3, U3O8 and UO4 at the Tuwaitha Experimental Research
Laboratory for Fuel fabrication. 11. Processed UO2 to produce uranium tetrachloride (UCl4) at the Tuwaitha Engineering
URANIUM ENRICHMENT EFFORTS
Having had its reactor facilities destroyed in the first Israeli strike, the Iraqis
redirected their effort on trying to indigenously produce enriched uranium using several
experimental approaches, including centrifugation and electromagnetic separation; none of
them successful enough to produce any significant amounts of fissile materials.
1. Use of Calutrons or Electro-Magnetic Isotope Separation (EMIS):
At Tuwaitha, between 1982-1987, electromagnets were designed and constructed as
parts of different magnetic separation systems. These included the design and construction
of one so-called R-50 and three R-100 separator systems starting from 1985 and operated
until 1991. At the Tarmiya site an R-120 and an R-60 separator system were built and
produced the insignificant amount of 640 grams of enriched uranium with an average
insignificant enrichment of 7.2 percent. These are unequivocally insufficient to produce any
nuclear device, considering that the critical mass of highly enriched at 94 percent U235 is at
about 50 kgs.
The IAEA reports that: “Iraq was at, or close to, the threshold of success in such areas
as the production of HEU through the EMIS process, the production and pilot cascading of
single-cylinder sub-critical gas centrifuge machines, and the fabrication of the explosive
package for a nuclear weapon.”
This IAEA’s assertion is debatable since an enrichment of 7.2 percent is hardly
weapons grade material which normally reaches a level of 93-98 percent enrichment in U235.
The Iraqis failed in producing any weapons grade material. This program was a typical
example of fraud by the equipment suppliers and consultants to the Iraqis. It is a well known
fact that the Calutron project in the USA was a White Elephant that did not succeed and was
kept going as a way to trap the Russians into pursuing a dead end way to the production of
enriched uranium. Apparently, the Iraqis were fraudulently led along the same path by their
suppliers and by mismanagement, ignorance, faked compliance under threat of punishment
by their government and military authorities, public relations, and possibly internal sabotage.
This suggestion of success may have been a continuing attempt at convincing the Iraqis to
keep proceeding towards the same dead end, by ironically suggesting to them that they were:
“ at, or close to, the threshold of success.” Fig. 10: Destroyed single experimental Calutron electromagnetic separation device.
2. Gaseous Diffusion enrichment:
This program was initiated in 1982, with related research facilities constructed at
Tuwaitha and Rashdiya. The only product of this program was the manufacture of a barrier
tube sought to be suitable for operation with uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6).
3. Gas Centrifugation enrichment:
This program was started in 1987, with laboratory tests first on an oil-bearing
centrifuge built in 1987, followed by a magnetic bearing centrifuge. In 1989, a series of subcritical centrifuge designs were developed. In 1990 centrifuges with a carbon composite
rotor and a magnetic bearing were designed and assembled. A pilot cascade hall was
constructed at the Al Furat site and construction work for the mass production of centrifuges
was started in 1989. Claims were made that the Iraqis imported aluminum tubes by USA
Secretary of State Collin Powell for centrifuges, but this was dismissed later as part of a
disinformation campaign by dissidents and opponents of the Iraqi regime. IT was later
disclosed that these tubes were meant for conventional rockets manufacture. Similar
disinformation techniques used falsified documents signed by inexistent officials, as
determined by the IAEA safeguards system, about importation of uranium ore from the Niger
4. Other enrichment methods:
In 1981 laser isotopic separation research was undertaken on both atomic the vapor
laser isotope separation (AVLIS) and molecular laser isotope separation (MLLIS). Some
research on chemical uranium enrichment was undertaken. DIVERSION OF RESEARCH REACTOR FUEL
Iraq is reported to have planned on diverting highly enriched uranium used in
research reactors that was subjected to the IAEA safeguards. Under a crash program at the
Tuwaitha site, a chemical reprocessing plant was constructed in about three months in 1990
to extract highly enriched uranium from research reactor fuel. Although the diversion never
occurred, Iraq may have been capable of carrying out the conversion of highly enriched
uranium from the reactor’s UNH fuel to uranium metal in 1991.
REACTOR PRODUCTION OF PLUTONIUM
Theoretical studies on the construction of nuclear reactors never went beyond the
theoretical studies stage. The IRT-5000 research facility was used to irradiate three
indigenously fabricated natural uranium fuel elements. On a laboratory scale, five grams of
plutonium were separated at a laboratory scale process line at Tuwaitha.
Reports allege that Iraq’s primary focus was on a crude implosion fission design driven
by high explosive lenses, even though its scientists were aware of more advanced weapon
design concepts. Using open source literature and theoretical studies, it ran various computer
codes through Iraq’s mainframe computer to adapt the codes and develop the physical
constants for the program.
Experiments with high explosives to produce explosive lenses and convergent shock
waves were conducted at the Al Qaqaa facility. Experimental work was conducted with high
explosives to produce implosive shock waves, and a 32 point electronic firing system using
detonators and explosives lenses. Flash x-ray systems, gas gun systems, fiber optics with fast
response electronic equipment, high speed electronic streak cameras were used for the testing
of high explosives. These included stocks of HMX and RDX. An RDX production plant
was operational. Polonium was produced by irradiating bismuth in a neutron flux for use in a
Po-Be neutron source as an initiator for a possible crude nuclear device, even though other
initiator options using particles accelerators were considered.
Capabilities were generated for the production, casting, and machining of uranium
metal. A uranium sphere of about five centimeters in diameter, and several hemispheres of
similar size were manufactured. A small number of rods weighing 1.2 kg each were made to
machine “sub-caliber munitions.” It is not clear whether this was meant to manufacture anti
armor munitions, which devastated Iraqi armor in the 1991 Gulf war, rather than a nuclear
device capability. Interestingly, any capabilities about plutonium metal are not reported by
the IAEA. This suggests that the program never was even able to acquire a significant
amount of plutonium to develop any metallurgical techniques for its manufacture.
As a delivery system for a potential nuclear device, the production of a derivative of
the Al Hussein/Al Abbas missile, designed to deliver a one metric tonne warhead to a
maximum range of 650 kms. An unmodified Al Hussein missile with a range of 300 kms
was also considered.
DISMANTLING THE IRAQI NUCLEAR PROGRAM As of December 16 1998, the IAEA asserted that: “There were no indications to
suggest that Iraq was successful in its attempt to produce nuclear weapons. Iraq’s explanation
of its progress towards the finalization of a workable design for its nuclear weapons was
considered to be consistent with the resources and time scale indicated by the available
Further: “There were no indications that Iraq had produced more than a few grams of
weapons-grade nuclear material through its indigenous processes. There were no indications
that Iraq otherwise clandestinely acquired weapons-usable material. All the safeguarded
research reactor fuel was verified and fully accounted for by the IAEA and removed from
Iraq. There were no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the
production of amounts of weapons-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.”
Inspections revealed no indication that Iraq’s plan for an indigenous plutonium
production reactor proceeded beyond a feasibility study. The facilities at Tuwaitha used for
irradiated fuel reprocessing research and development as well any chemical processing plants
were destroyed during the Gulf War.
The IAEA by 2003 had practically dismantled the Iraqi nuclear weapons programs by
the following actions:
1. Removal of all known weapon usable materials from Iraq.
2. All indigenous facilities capable of producing uranium compounds useful to a nuclear
program as well as facilities capable of producing uranium compounds useful for fuel
fabrication and for isotopic enrichment were destroyed by aerial bombardment during
the Gulf war. The IAEA inspected and completed the destruction of such facilities,
and continued the monitoring of these sites.
3. Took custody of all known imported compounds and indigenously produced uranium
4. Destroyed, removed or rendered harmless all known single-use equipment used in
enrichment research and development, as well as all known facilities and equipment
for the enrichment of uranium.
5. Subjected to on-going monitoring and verification all facilities and known dual-use
equipment capable of being used in enrichment research and development.
6. Destroyed the principal buildings of Al Atheer nuclear weapons development and
7. Removed or rendered harmless all known purpose-specific equipment for
weaponization and implosion based weapons.
8. Verified, accounted for, and recovered the entire inventory of research reactor fuel.
9. It also arranged for the removal of all highly enriched uranium from Iraq.
It was overall just a research, not full industrial production program that was not
transparent enough to be trusted by all the parties concerned. 8.16 SYRIAN PROGRAM, RIDDLE WRAPPED IN MYSTERY
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Syria showed an interest in acquiring nuclear
power and desalination plants from Russia and elsewhere, but nothing came to fruition. In 1988 Syria initiated a plan to build 6 nuclear power plants scheduled by the late
1990s capable of producing 6,000 MWe at a cost of $3.6 billion. Although Belgium, the then
Soviet Union and Switzerland were approached for assistance, the plan came to naught as a
result of denial of technology transfer, financial, technical and lack of resolve issues.
In 1991, the Peoples Republic of China informed the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) about the sale of a small 27 kWth research reactor to Syria.
Another effort in 1995 became nullified when the USA persuaded Argentina into
abandoning a proposed sale of a research reactor to Syria.
In 1997, it was reported that the Russian government was interested in selling a
nuclear reactor to Syria. On February 23 1998, Syria and Russia signed an agreement on the
peaceful use of nuclear energy. In July 1998, the two sides agreed on the time table for the
realization of a 25 MWth light water nuclear research reactor in Syria with the participation
of Russia's Atomstroyeksport and Nikiet. Russia and Syria have approved a draft program
on cooperation on civilian nuclear power. According to a London Financial Times report on
January 16, 2003, Russian government sources indicated that Russia is negotiating to build a
nuclear power plant in Syria.
The USA National Intelligence Council in December 2001 indicated in a report the
establishment of nuclear research center at Dayr Al Hajar around the small Chinese supplied
27 kWth research reactor.
In August 2004 there came reports alleging that Syria may have acquired centrifuge
enrichment technology from the Pakistani A. Q. Khan network. American officials believed
that Syria received an unspecified number of Pakistan 1 (P1) centrifuge components from
North Korea. Syrian goods, including an annual shipment of 100,000 tons of Durum wheat
for five years worth a total of $120 million were bartered for industrial goods from North
There are reports that Syria has conducted work to examine the feasibility of
exploiting phosphate rocks to recover uranium. It is well known that Syria is rich in
phosphate rock deposits and produces around one fifth of the phosphate rock mined in the
entire Middle East. According to statistics, in 2001, Syria mined over 2.04 million tons of
phosphate. A food grade phosphoric acid micro pilot plant is operating at Homs under IAEA
RAID ON UNDECLARED AL KIBAR NUCLEAR FACILITY
In the early hours of September 6, 2007 a joint Israeli-USA strike was reportedly
aimed at a shipment from North Korea. The cargo might allegedly have included equipment
and materials related to nuclear technology. Turkey asked Israel for clarification after
finding two unmarked fuel tanks dropped from warplanes on its territory near the Syrian
border. The Turks announced that two Israeli fuel tanks had been dropped inside of Turkish
territory, one in Gaziantep province and the other in Hatay province. That would mean the
aircraft did come under some sort of fire and dropped fuel tanks to increase speed and
maneuverability. It also would mean the plane was flying close to Turkish territory or over
Turkish territory, at the north western tip of Syria. Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper carried
photographs of what it said were fuel tanks jettisoned by Israeli planes sent to gather
intelligence on Syrian installations near the Turkish border. The New York Times reported that the strike, authorized by President George W.
Bush had targeted a partially built nuclear reactor, a tall square structure in the desert about
750 yards from the Euphrates River, near the town of Deir Al Zour, 250 miles northeast of
Damascus. Officials in the USA asserted that the Al Kibar facility was an incomplete
plutonium nuclear reactor modeled closely on North Korea’s Yongbyon reactor.
The roof of the building makes it impossible to see what was inside. The building
was 47 square yards, similar to the 48 x 50-yard Yongbyon reactor in North Korea. The
targeted Syrian facility appeared to have been much farther from completion than the Iraqi
Osiraq reactor that the Israelis destroyed in 1981 that the September 6, 2007 raid echoed.
President George W. Bush administration officials had been divided over the attack, with
some State Department officials seeing it as premature and considered it as an effort at
derailing negotiations with North Korea.
The Israeli satellite Ofek 7, launched in June 2007, was diverted from monitoring Iran
to Syria. It sent out high quality images of a northeastern area every 90 minutes, making it
easy for Israeli air force specialists to spot the facility.
USA sources said that up to eight aircraft were involved in the operation. Two
airplanes were detected on radar by German ships in the Mediterranean off the coast of
Lebanon as a part of a peace keeping mission. The two planes could have created a diversion
by being intentionally detected and creating sonic booms. The origin of the 6 other planes is
reportedly Turkey or Iraq, suggesting a USA contribution.
A leak originating in the USA implied that there might have been Israeli special
forces involved as well. The UK Sunday Times suggested that the raiders seized material
from a compound near Dayr Al Zoor in northern Syria and that tests of it in Israel showed it
was of North Korean origin. The commando raid by the elite Sayeret Matkal was personally
directed by Ehud Barak, Israel's defense minister who once commanded the unit.
A shipment of cement had been delivered to Syria from North Korea a few days
before the incident and implied that this shipment might have contained nuclear equipment of
some sort that was the real target of the attack. A ship “Al Hamed” stopped at an Egyptian
port on its way to Syria was probably clandestinely inspected by Egyptian and USA
The attack involved a flight through the airspace of Turkey by up to eight aircraft,
including cutting edge F-15Is and F-16s equipped with 500-pound or 227 kilogram bombs
and Maverick missiles.
In another account, 10 F-15I aircraft from Israel’s Ramat David air base south of the
port city of Haifa flew a diversionary flight around 11 pm on September 5, 2007. Three of
the aircraft were ordered back to base and the others continued east-northeast at low altitude.
They used precision weapons to eliminate a Syrian radar station then headed to an 18
minutes flight to Deir Al Zour. Upon destruction of the target, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and asked him to inform
President Assad of Syria that Israel would not tolerate such a project, that no further hostile
action was planned, and that if no attention is drawn to the strike, he would do the same.
According to Israeli sources, American air force codes were given to the Israeli air
force attaché in Washington to ensure Israel’s F15Is would not mistakenly attack their USA
counterparts as they flew close to USA air force bases in south Turkey. The target was identified as a northern Syrian facility reported to be an agricultural
research center on the Euphrates River. Israel had been monitoring it for some time,
concerned that it was being used to extract uranium from phosphate rocks.
The raid occurred just after midnight with the 69th Squadron of Israeli F15Is crossed
into Syrian air space. On the ground, Syria’s air defenses went dead probably through the
use of the Suter system. At a rendezvous point on the ground, a Shaldag air force commando
team was waiting and used their laser beams to irradiate the target for the approaching jets.
The team had arrived a day earlier, taking up position near a large underground depot. Fig. 11: Satellite photograph of destroyed Al Kibar Syrian facility by the Euphrates
River taken on September 16, 2007, top, August 10, 2007, middle left, and October 24,
2007, middle right. Bottom: new construction above site. GeoEye/SIME,
The raided site is on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, 90 miles north of the Iraqi
border. The original building, slightly larger than a baseball diamond, was located in Syria's
eastern desert near the village of Al Tibnah, a few hundred yards from the Euphrates River.
USA officials said the building closely resembled structures associated with a North Korean
reactor at Yongbyon.
The Syrian building size suggests that the reactor would be in the range of about 2025 MWth reactor.
Satellite Images taken in August, before the raid, show a tall building about 150 feet
wide on each side that analysts suspect might have sheltered a half built nuclear reactor.
Also visible is a pumping station on the Euphrates, which may be significant because
reactors need water for cooling. The size of the structures suggested that Syria might have
been building a gas cooled graphite reactor similar to the one North Korea built at Yongbyon.
The photos show little progress had been made at the site between 2003 and 2007.
Syrian President Bashir Al Assad said Israel targeted an unused military building.
The only facility in the area in question was a desertification research centre.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, has
repeatedly asked Syria about its activities. Syria, a signatory to the nuclear Non Proliferation
Treaty (NPT), has one small 27 kWth research reactor supplied by China that operates under
After Israel bombed the Osirak reactor in 1981, Iraq simply continued its nuclear
weapons program in secret and initiated programs in biological and chemical warfare. It was
not the bombing of Osirak, but rather UN inspections, which eventually nuclearly disarmed
Iraq. 8.17 LATENT NUCLEAR POWER: BRAZIL NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Brazil scrapped a nuclear weapons program in 1985. Its military continued working
on building a U235 device until August 1990, when the program was terminated. It was
restarted in 2007 to produce highly enriched U235 needed for a nuclear submarine program.
In the early 1980s the Brazilian Navy started a nuclear propulsion program and
initiated the development of centrifuge enrichment to produce the highly enriched fuel of up
to 98 percent U235 enrichment, needed for naval propulsion reactors. Brazil also needed
enriched fuel for its civilian nuclear power plants.
Brazil's nuclear program raised concern when it refused to allow the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect the nuclear facilities at Resende, 100 kilometers
southwest of Rio de Janeiro. It cited as a reason the need to protect proprietary industrial
secrets. Being a party to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), eventually an
agreement was reached allowing the inspections to go ahead with Brazil having to unveil its
centrifuges for inspection.
As of 2009, Brazil planned on producing all the enriched uranium used by the Angra I
power plant, and that needed by the Angra II plant by 2012. This national production of
enriched uranium should save Brazil $25 million / year that it has been paying to foreign
The enrichment technology was developed at the Navy Technological Center
(CTMSP) in Sao Paolo and by the Nuclear and Energy Research Institute (IPEN), making
Brazil the ninth country to develop the enrichment technology. The factory at Resende
expects to have ten cascade centrifuges within 2012.
With its capability of producing highly enriched uranium using the centrifuge
process, Brazil can be considered as a latent nuclear power, capable of acquiring a nuclear
weapons capability on a short notice should it be subjected to a conventional or a nuclear
BRAZIL’S NUCLEAR MILITARY PROGRAM
Brazil is a party to the NPT since 1998 as a non-nuclear weapons state. It has been a
party to the regional Tlatelolco Treaty since 1968. Following a new constitution in 1988, it
renounced development of nuclear weapons and an Argentine-Brazil Agency for the
Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) was set up with full scope
safeguards under IAEA auspices since 1994. In 1996 it became a member of the Nuclear
Suppliers' Group. Brazil has not accepted the “Additional Protocol” in relation to its
safeguards agreements with the IAEA as being excessively intrusive.
In 2003, Brazil's science minister at the time, Eduardo Campos, caused concern when
he said Brazil should pursue “Any form of scientific knowledge, whether the genome, DNA
or nuclear fission.” The comment was interpreted to mean that Brazil intended to develop
nuclear weapons. The Brazilian government denied having any such goal, stressing that
Brazil's constitution bans the use of nuclear energy for non peaceful purposes.
The information about Brazil’s nuclear weapons program was disclosed in August of
2005 from José Luiz Santana, the former president of Brazil's nuclear energy commission, known by its Portuguese acronym CNEN. He divulged that the Brazilian military was
preparing a nuclear test when the program was ultimately dismantled in August, 1990. The
former president Jose Sarney, who led Brazil's first civilian government after a 1964-85
military rule, corroborated the information stating that he scrapped a program to build an
atomic bomb when he came to power in 1985.
The Brazilian military was still working on an atomic device when former President
Fernando Collor succeeded President José Sarney in 1990 and hoped to conduct an
underground test blast in September of 1990 at a remote base in Brazil's eastern Amazon.
Military officials had obtained the enriched uranium needed for the weapon from an
undisclosed source. Mr. Santana contended that it took him and his team seven months to
dismantle the program. “I took office in April, 1990, but it was only in August that CNEN
managed to gain control of the container” of enriched uranium from the military.
Brazil’s CNEN denied Mr. Santana's contentions. “There do not exist any documents
in the institutional archives or information that prove the claims in the story,” and added that
all nuclear material in Brazil is stored under the IAEA Safeguards program. Fig. 12: Brazil Angra-2, PWR reactor went on line on July 21, 2000.
CIVILIAN NUCLEAR POWER PROGRAM
Electricity consumption in Brazil has grown sign ifcantly since 1990. Per capita
consumption is 2235 kWh/yr. Nuclear energy provides 4 percent of the country's electricity
at about 13 billion kWh per year. About 40 percent of Brazil's electricity is produced by the national Centrais Eletricas
Brasilerias SA or Eletrobras system. About 30 percent of electricity is generated by state
owned utilities, and 20 percent from the 12.6 GWe Itaipu hydroelectric scheme on the
Paraguayan border. About 9 percent is from self producers and private generators.
Eletrobras was set up in 1962 as a holding company controlled by the Ministry of Mines and
Energy, and is 70 percent government owned. It is the main shareholder in Eletronuclear, the
Brazilian nuclear utility.
In 1970 the Brazilian government decided to seek bids for an initial nuclear plant.
The turnkey contract for Angra-1 was awarded to the Westinghouse from the USA, and
construction started in 1971 at a coastal site between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
In 1975 the government adopted a policy becoming fully self-sufficient in nuclear
technology and signed an agreement with West Germany for supply of eight 1,300 MWe
nuclear units over 15 years. The first two were to be built immediately, with equipment from
Siemens KWU. The rest were to have 90 percent Brazilian content under the technology
transfer agreement. A state-owned company Empresas Nucleares Brasileiras or Nuclebras,
was set up with a number of subsidiaries focused on particular aspects of engineering and the
nuclear fuel cycle.
Brazil's economic problems caused the construction of the first two Brazilian-German
reactors to be interrupted, and the whole program was reorganized at the end of the 1980s. In
1988 a new company, Industrias Nucleares Brasileiras SA (INB) replaced Nuclebras and
most of its subsidiaries, but with limited authority and function related to fuel cycle activities.
INB is a subsidiary of the National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN).
Responsibility for the construction of Angra-2 and Angra-3 was transferred to the
utility Furnas, a subsidiary of Eletrobras. Construction of Angra-2 resumed in 1995, with
USA $ 1.3 billion of new investment provided by German banks, Furnas and Eletrobras.
In 1997 a new company Eletrobras Termonuclear SA or Eletronuclear was set up as a
subsidiary of Eletrobras and made responsible for all construction and operation of nuclear
power plants. It combined the nuclear side of Furnas with the engineering company Nuclen,
and Siemens then relinquished its 25 percent share in it. Nuclen is the continuing subsidiary
from the Nuclebras period, handling heavy equipment manufacturing and now a subsidiary
of CNEN, with INB. Table 4 shows the existing and planned nuclear power plants in Brazil.
Table 4: Nuclear Power Reactors in Brazil.
1224 Online Date
2006 The Angra-1 plant suffered continuing problems with its steam supply system and
was shut down for some time during its first few years. Its lifetime load factor over the first
15 years was only 25 percent, but since 1999 it has been much better. Angra-2 has
The 1,224 MWe Angra-3 unit was part of the same contract as Angra-2 and was
designed to be a twin of it. While 70 percent of the equipment is on site, construction has not started. Eletrobras is seeking a private partner with USA $ 1.8 billion to complete it. Its
completion date was slated for 2006.
NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE
Active mineral exploration in the 1970s and 1980s, resulted in Known Resources,
defined as Reasonably Assured Resources plus Estimated Additional Resources of category
1, with a cost up to USA $ 80/kg, of 143,000 metric tonnes of uranium. This is 4 percent of
the world total resource.
Three main deposits are Pocos de Caldas mine which was closed in 1997, the
operating mine Lagoa Real, and Itataia which is an undeveloped phosphate deposit from
which uranium can be obtained as a by product.
Uranium has been mined since 1982, but the only extant mine is INB's Lagoa Real
Unit, with 340 tU/yr capacity. All mined uranium is used domestically. Conversion and
enrichment was done abroad, until a centrifuge enrichment program was developed in Brazil.
In the early 1980s the Brazilian Navy started a nuclear propulsion program and
started the development of the centrifuge enrichment process. A demonstration plant was
built at Ipero, and then an industrial plant at Resende which is planned to provide for much of
the enriched uranium fuel needs of the Angra reactors. The first enrichment cascade was
inaugurated in 2002 by INB. Stage 1 consists of four modules generating 115,000 Separative
Work Units per year (SWU/yr) and costing USA $ 140 million. Stage 2 increases the
capacity to 200,000 SWU/yr. The centrifuges are domestically-developed and very similar to
the European Urenco technology.
INB's fuel fabrication plant designed by Siemens is also at Resende, with a capacity
of 160 metric tonnes per year pellet production and 280 t/yr fuel assembly.
The CNEN is responsible for management and disposal of radioactive wastes.
Legislation issued in 2001 provides for repository site selection, construction and operation.
Spent fuel is stored at the Angra plant site. There is no defined policy on fuel reprocessing.
REGULATION AND LEGISLATION
The main legislation concerning regulation and safety is the national policy on
nuclear energy set in 1962. The CNEN was set up in 1974 and amending legislation was
passed in 1989 and 1999.
The Brazilian nuclear regulatory body is the Directorate of Radiation Protection and
Safety (DRS) of the CNEN. It is responsible for licensing and supervision of all nuclear
facilities. The Brazilian Institute for the Environment is involved with licensing facilities.
The CNEN reported initially to the Presidential Secretary for Strategic Affairs but
currently comes under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
A Nuclear Program Co-ordination and Protection Commission has representatives
from every organization concerned with nuclear issues and is open to local government and
others with relevant interests.
RESEARCH FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES The CNEN Directorate of Research and Development is responsible for all fuel cycle,
reactor technology, radioisotopes. Five nuclear research centers carry out various research
At IPEN, Sao Paulo, there are two research reactors, one a 5 MWth pool type, and a
cyclotron used for radioisotopes production.
At IEN, Rio de Janiero, there is a small Argonaut research reactor.
At CDTN, Belo Horizonte, there is a small Triga research reactor.
At CTSMP, the Navy Technology Centre at Sao Paulo, a prototype reactor for naval
propulsion was being developed, but this program was redirected into possible applications
for small power plants in the northeast of the country.
Brazil has been involved in the Generation IV International Forum, and in the IAEA
INPRO program, both developing new generation reactor designs and systems. CNEN was
also involved with Westinghouse in developing the IRIS modular reactor. 8.18 TRANSPARENT PROGRAM: EGYPT NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Within the context of proposing a regional nuclear nonproliferation treaty in the
Middle Eastern region, interest arises in the nuclear programs of different countries there. A
regional declaration of the Middle East as a nuclear weapons free zone, with mutual
inspections and verification, supplementing the global Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
(NPT) along the line of the Tlatelolco South American Treaty would eliminate suspicion,
enhance the cause of peace, and lead to regional stability and local cooperation in the
peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology.
In February 2005 the USA praised Egypt for its cooperation with the United Nations
(UN) International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA) in a statement to the IAEA 35 nation
board of governors stating that Cairo's safeguards transparency was a model for other states:
“This example is one that we believe all states should follow. Egypt is demonstrating the
appropriate means for resolving outstanding safeguards issues, specifically, full cooperation
with the IAEA on steps to address all concerns. The United States joins the Director General
in welcoming Egypt's cooperation in remedying its past safeguards reporting failures.”
Mohammed El Baradei, head of the IAEA admitted that Egypt had failed in reporting some
sensitive nuclear activities but: “We haven't seen a proliferation concern yet.”
EGYPT NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Egypt's interest in nuclear power started in 1954, when its Nuclear Energy Authority
was established. The first studies to use nuclear energy to generate electricity and desalinate
sea water started in 1964, when a tender was held to build the first nuclear reactor in the
coastal city of Borg Al Arab and Al Dabaa . The national project was stalled after the 1967
war. The idea was revived after the 1973 war and a joint collaborative report was issued
after a meeting between Presidents Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat in 1978 studying the
possibility of constructing nuclear power plants in Egypt by 2000 to cover 80 percent of the
electrical power needs. Nothing since then has materialized for lack of funds and determination, except for
numerous experts’ travels back and forth on leisure trips disguised as working missions.
An IAEA report had criticized Egypt for failing to declare nuclear sites and materials
but said its inspectors had found no evidence of a nuclear weapons program and that Egypt's
breaches were minor.
The report said that Egypt was guilty of repeated failures to report nuclear activities
but downplayed any suggestion this could be related to secret atomic weapons development.
The agency also found traces of plutonium, a potential atomic weapons material, in hot cells
used to handle radioactive material. Egypt said this was due to contamination rather than
According to the report, Egypt's minor failures to abide by international nuclear
safeguards agreements, including not reporting a research plutonium reprocessing
experiment, were “a matter of concern,” but that Cairo was now cooperating, saying it had
erred as it had not understood its reporting obligations.
Any lingering questions about Egypt's nuclear program were on whether it was
carefully structured to be able to move towards weapons development if the decision for this
step was taken. The activities were related to research into the nuclear fuel cycle in order to
build nuclear power plants, rather than part of an atomic weapons program. In the late 1970s
Egypt considered the construction eight nuclear power plants to produce electricity and fresh
water desalination, but did not build any for lack of funding.
The IAEA report said: “The nuclear material and facilities seen by the agency to date
are consistent with the activities described by Egypt,” which are strictly peaceful.
Egypt's nuclear program is transparent and is now open to international inspection by
the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Egypt has ratified the Nonproliferation
Treaty (NPT) and is under IAEA Safeguards inspections. It joined the Treaty in 1981, but is
one of its critics. In 1995, Egypt strongly opposed efforts to extend the Treaty indefinitely.
A previous Egyptian Foreign Minister, Amr Moussa remarked at a gathering of Middle
Eastern experts and journalists in Washington D. C.: “If there is a nuclear program in Israel,
then we can blame nobody and no country if they want to acquire the same. This is an
invitation to an arms race; a very, very serious and dangerous policy.” He argued that Israel's
failure to join the NPT means that the treaty is “Incapable of safeguarding Egypt” and has
created “An extremely dangerous situation” in the Middle East.
The German daily newspaper Die Welt ran a story claiming that Egypt is interested in
enriching uranium it mines in the Sinai, with the help of China. Unlike Iran who would need
enriched uranium to fuel a completed light water cooled power reactor at Bushehr and one
under construction at Darkhovin, Egypt has only two research reactors in operation. The
sensational implication of the newspaper was that Egypt may be developing a weapons
An official from Israel commented that he had no proof that Egypt is involved in a
military nuclear program. An American official called the Die Welt report “disinformation.”
The Israeli source noted that intelligence cannot always know about everything going on, and
that every country puts most of its effort into keeping nuclear developments secret. NUCLEAR ASSYMETRY
Countries in the Middle East realize that Israel already possesses nuclear weapons,
making it immune to both conventional and nuclear attack. The power asymmetry creates an
incentive for them to counter the Israeli advantage by either creating alliances with nuclear
weapons states, effectively acquiring a protective nuclear umbrella or to move to the illicit
acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Israeli Minister without Portfolio Dan Meridor, a veteran of Israeli nuclear policy,
warned that an arms race could arise among the Middle Eastern countries struggling among
themselves for hegemony in the region
An Iraqi research program was dismantled by bombing of its facilities by Israel,
international inspections and sanctions after the first Gulf war in 1991, and later by invasion,
occupation, regime change and installation of a friendly regime in 2003. A Lybian program
has also been dismantled through interception of enrichment equipment parts shipped to
Lybia on the high seas and a threat of invasion and regime change. Iran is collaborating with
Russia and building two power reactors at Bushehr and Darkhovin, is indigenously building a
research heavy water reactor at Arak, and has facilities for manufacturing fuel for it.
The USA offered Russia compensation for ceasing nuclear cooperation with Iran,
and, according to administration officials testifying to the Senate, warned that if the Russians
continue to not cooperate, Washington would reduce strategic cooperation in the pipeline for
Moscow. John Wolf, an assistant secretary of state in the bureau for non proliferation, told
Congress that “we made clear to the Russians they have to end that aid, and not only to Iran,
or we will have to impose sanctions.” In response, Russia beefed up its rules for exporting
nuclear technology, and has cracked down on some projects. The USA did agree that Russia
could continue helping with Iran's Bushehr and Darkhovin nuclear power plants, but insisted
on stepped up security arrangements and monitoring. The main effort will be to ensure that
the irradiated fuel rods are returned to Russia so that the Iranians cannot extract fissile
nuclear material from them.
EGYPT’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM HISTORY
The Egyptian nuclear research program was launched in 1954. Egypt acquired its
first research reactor from the Soviet Union in 1961. The 2 thermal megawatts (MWth)
research reactor was inaugurated by then President Gamal Abdel Nasser at the Inshass
Nuclear Research Center near the village of Inshass, in the Nile Delta.
Emphasis has been on studies for developing a peaceful nuclear potential designated
for use in sea water desalting and production of fresh water for irrigation of arid land and
electrical power generation, at El Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast. Hoping for foreign
funding that never materialized, the project never saw the light of day. Progress has
materialized, however in the areas of isotopes applications in medicine, agriculture,
biotechnology, and genetics. Mining from four explored uranium deposits was planned,
including the extraction and enrichment of uranium for subsequent use as fuel for nuclear
A project for the building of a 50 MWth pilot plant for sea water desalination and an
associated experimental agricultural farm using the produced water was initiated. The
project would have depended on cost sharing, with the Westinghouse Corporation in the USA contributing half the costs in return for gaining access to the operational experience of
the project. A Nuclear Engineering Department was initiated at the University of Alexandria
close to the site of the project to educate the scientists and engineers for the pioneering
project. The 1967 war withdrew the funding of the project toward armaments, and the
project human expertise was dispersed through migration to other parts of the world such as
Europe, Canada and the USA.
In the mid-1970s the USA promised to provide Egypt with eight nuclear power plants
and the necessary cooperation agreements were signed. During the negotiations for this
project, Egypt ratified the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to assure that the project will be
exclusively used for peaceful purposes. In the late 1970s, the USA, under Israeli pressure,
unilaterally revised the bilateral agreements and introduced new excessively intrusive
conditions that were expected to be unacceptable to the Egyptian government.
Before his assassination in 1981, President Anwar Al Sadat announced plans to build
two nuclear power stations along the Mediterranean coast. These plans, though, were
subsequently shelved. There are poorly attested reports that Egypt planned for a Chinesemade power reactor, variously assessed at between a thermal power of 300 MWth and 600
Upon losing its Russian supplied research reactor core to a rumored unreported
accident of a stuck control rod or fuel element leading to a local core melt, and apparently to
avoid the disclosure of the accident, in early 1992, Egypt expended its own funds and
acquired from Argentina the Egypt Research Reactor number 2 (ETRR-2); an open pool
research reactor with a power of 22 MWth. This reactor is the work horse of the Egyptian
A contract was signed in 1991 for the delivery to Egypt of a Russian MGD-20
cyclotron accelerator remained in force.
Since 1990 Egypt has been a member of the Arab Power Engineering Organization
uniting 11 Arab countries for hoped for, but never materializing projects because of the
political rivalries among them. Fig. 13: Exterior of the Egypt Research Reactor ETRR-2, 22 MWth research reactor at
A number of Egyptian scientific projects have been carried out successfully with
Egyptian rather than Arab or international funding under the aegis of the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
There are bilateral agreements in the area of the peaceful use of nuclear energy with
Germany, the USA, Russia, India, China, and Argentina. There are, moreover, agreements
with Great Britain and India to provide assistance in training national cadres for scientific
research and work on the country's atomic enterprises.
INSHASS NUCLEAR RESEARCH CENTER
The focus of Egypt's nuclear program resides at the Inshass Nuclear Research Center
near Cairo. Inshass hosted a 2 MWth, Soviet-supplied research reactor that started in 1961
and used on 10 percent-enriched uranium fuel. The reactor was shut down reportedly for
renovation during the 1980s, but most probably as a result of an unreported accident. It was
renovated or repaired and restarted up again in 1990. It has been replaced in 1992 by the
ETRR-2; an open pool research reactor with a power of 22 MWth.
A number of other research facilities at Inshass. These include a small Frenchsupplied hot cell complex for radiochemistry and radioactive isotopes extraction research, the
Middle East's first industrial electronic accelerator, and a pilot nuclear fuel factory,
completed in 1987, used to process natural uranium mined in Egypt. Egypt had a project that
never materialized to build a larger fuel fabrication plant, reportedly with hoped for help
RESEARCH AND POWER REACTORS PROGRAM
In 1990, the Israeli press alleged that Egypt was cooperating with Pakistan, Iraq and
Argentina to build a plutonium producing reactor. Argentina later revealed that it was
preparing to supply a 22 MWth research reactor to Egypt under international inspection,
though Argentina faced competitive bidding from other bidders, including the Atomic
Energy of Canada Ltd., and France's nuclear giant then Framatome and now Areva.
In September 1992, Egypt signed a contract with Invap, Argentina's leading nuclear
organization, to build the 22 MWth research reactor at Inshass. Construction began in March
During the bidding stage USA and Canadian officials steered Egypt away from a
Chinese design. In exchange for giving up the Chinese version, Egypt was promised help
from the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and the USA Bechtel company to study
the feasibility of cooperation in the building of power reactors in Egypt. The newsletter,
Nucleonics Week, reported in September 1992 that an AECL-Bechtel study found that only
30 percent of the CANDU Canadian design power reactor could be locally produced in
Faced with a shortage of fresh water and electricity supplies, and not being a major
oil producer, Egypt hopes to build nuclear power reactors for sea water desalination.
Egyptian officials have expressed hope since the early 1980s about building up to eight 1,000 MWe reactors to supply up to 40 percent of Egypt's electricity needs. By 1985, three
international supplier groups bid to build the first two reactors: one group led by Germany's
Kraftwerk Union, a second Franco-Italian group led by Framatome, and a third headed by
Westinghouse of the USA.
The power reactors would be sited at Al Dabaa, west of Alexandria on the
Mediterranean coast, and would be owned and operated by Egypt's Nuclear Power Plants
Authority. Expecting funding from the USA that did not materialize, and lacking local
funding, the Egyptian government did not announce the award of any contract.
NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES IN EGYPT
Egypt has surveyed its indigenous uranium ore resources. For energy supply security,
it would like to develop its own capability to manufacture uranium fuel for nuclear reactors.
Egypt's Nuclear Materials Authority has carried uranium exploration to concentrate on four
ore areas in the eastern desert: Djabal Gattar, Al Missikat, Al Erediya and Umm Ara.
A new uranium-ore bearing area, Djabal Kadabora, has been discovered in the central
eastern desert. In addition, the Nuclear Materials Authority is constructing a pilot scale plant
to extract uranium from phosphoric acid. Egypt reportedly signed contracts with Australia,
Canada and Niger to buy mining technology and for help in processing uranium ore.
Egypt is an exporter of phosphate rock used in the production of phosphoric acid and
manufactures phosphate based agricultural fertilizers from it. Phosphate rock contains
uranium as a trace element. It can be extracted as by product in the wet phosphoric acid
production process. Egypt seems to be aware of the existence of such a potential source of
uranium fuel but because of lack of funding, did not pursue it. Egypt also has deposits along
its seashores of black sand containing the monazite and ilmenite ores, which contains heavy
elements such as thorium. The black sand is used for the manufacture of abrasives and sand
paper, and no attempt to extract thorium from it was pursued.
RESEARCH REACTOR ETRR-1
The acronym ETRR-1 stands for Egypt Research Reactor number 1. It was a
scientific-research reactor with a power of 2 MWth. It was started in 1961 with Soviet
technical assistance. Upon an unreported stuck control rod or fuel element accident leading
to a local core meltdown in an aging core, it was shut down and renovated. An agreement
was signed with India in 1991 to increase the thermal power of this reactor to 5 MWth. It is
not clear whether it is still actively used after its replacement by ETRR-2. The extended
operation of the reactor has enabled Egypt to acquire its own scientific base and fairly skilled
MULTIPURPOSE NUCLEAR REACTOR ETRR-2
USAGE This is an open pool type reactor, with 22 MWth of power, cooled and moderated by
light water and reflected by beryllium. It has replaced the aging ETRR-1 reactor.
The reactor is of the open pool type, with a nominal power of 22 MWth and a
maximum thermal neutron flux of 2.7-2.8x1014 [neutrons/(cm2. sec)] in its neutron flux trap
where nuclear isotopes are produced. The ETTR-2 average thermal flux is 1.4 x 1014
It is used for research in neutron physics, materials science, nuclear fuel research and
development, radioisotopes production, neutron radiography, activation analysis, boron
neutron capture cancer therapy and training in nuclear engineering and reactor operation.
The reactor is primarily used for the production of radioisotopes for medical,
agricultural and industrial purposes, basic and applied physics and engineering research. Its
main features are a high neutron flux, easy operation, enhanced reliability and safety in
accordance with international standards.
The reactor features several beam tubes, hot cells, high pressure test loops and other
research equipment. The reactor is located at the Inshass site of the Atomic Energy
Authority, 60 km from Cairo, Egypt.
As a high flux material testing reactor, it could be used for research and development
for an indigenous industry for the construction of other reactor designs, particularly for sea
water desalting and fresh water production for planting the arid desert areas characteristic of
the Middle East. Such a vision, repeatedly advocated and proposed by its scientists, is not
being pursued for lack of available funds.
The Argentinian company Investigacion Aplicada (Invap) won the tender from the
Egyptian Electricity and Energy Ministry in 1990 to construct the reactor, and in September
1992 the contract was signed. To manage the project, Invap established a branch office in
Nasr City. The project was worth an estimated US$100 million to Invap and was an
important international contract for Argentina.
Construction of the multipurpose reactor began in 1993 and was carried out jointly by
Argentina and Egypt. In November 1997 the ETRR-2 achieved initial criticality, and
President Hosni Mubarak and Argentine President Carlos Menem inaugurated the reactor in
The building is seismically qualified and features a massive block built of heavy
concrete containing the reactor and auxiliary pools. A Neutron House is connected to the
reactor building through a corridor designed to contain the neutron beams guide.
The reactor building has a four level design: basement, ground floor, first floor and
second floor. The reactor hall is located on the second floor. The hall has the required height
to refuel the fuel elements contained within the reactor pool. The building has three areas:
reactor hall, restricted area and non restricted area. These three areas have been defined
according to their radioactive contamination risk levels. They each have independent
ventilation and circulation systems. REACTOR POOL AND CORE
The reactor pool is cylindrical, has a diameter of 4.5 meters and is made of stainless
steel. An auxiliary pool for fuel storage and radioactive materials handling is connected to it.
The core is configured in a 5 x 6 grid surrounded by a Zircaloy chimney, 10 meters
below the pool surface. The core reactivity is controlled by six Ag-In-Cd alloy control
plates. The plates are driven by mechanisms located beneath the reactor pool.
The core is cooled by demineralized light water in a forced convection upwards flow.
After shutdown, the decay heat power is removed by natural convection of the reactor pool
Being a pool type rector, its core can be reconfigured. A typical core configuration
has 24 to 30 fuel elements. The fuel elements are lodged in an aluminum core grid, and each
fuel element is locked from below to counteract the force induced by the upwards coolant
flow. The fuel elements have a square section (8 x 8 cm), and their active length is 80 cm.
Each fuel element has 19 aluminum clad fuel plates with plate thickness of 1. 5 mm, with 2.7
mm wide coolant channels.
The fuel elements are of the low enriched uranium type with aluminum cladding with
19.75 percent enrichment in Uranium235. Each fuel element has 19 flat plates. Beryllium
neutron reflectors are positioned around the core outside the reactor chimney. Fig. 14: Interior views of the ETRR-2, open pool type 22 MWth research reactor at
Irradiation boxes or rabbits can be placed inside the core to irradiate samples for
radioisotope production. Boxes are either inserted in the core or positioned within the
reflector. Manipulation and distribution of irradiated items is carried out within the hot cells
located at the top of the reactor pool. Additional labs and hot cells are also contemplated to
study and manipulate irradiated materials. A large working facility for neutron beam
experimentation is located around the block of the reactor. There is an auxiliary pool for
spent fuel storage and for storing irradiated samples. A transference gate connects the
reactor pool to the auxiliary pool.
The chimney that contains the core serves several purposes: it guides the coolant flow
through the core, it houses four independent chambers for the secondary shutdown system
and it protects the core in the event that the reactor pool is accidentally drained.
Outside the core there are several structures: cooling system piping, nuclear and non
nuclear instrumentation, a graphite thermal column, one tangential beam tube, three radial
beam tubes, one underwater neutron radiography system, two pneumatic transport system
stations and two devices for high pressure with one loop for the fuel element rod and one for
the fuel bundles.
The reactor is equipped with several cooling systems:
1. The primary cooling system: removes the power delivered at the core by an upwards
forced circulation of the demineralized water. The temperature at the core inlet is about 40
C, and the average temperature at the core outlet is 50 oC for a cooling flow of 2,000
[m3/hr]. Outside the pool, the primary cooling piping splits into two loops. Each loop contains one heat exchanger and two parallel pumps with one in reserve, and has capacity to
extract 50 percent of the reactor power.
2. The pool cooling system: removes the power delivered at the structures outside the core
chimney including the reflectors and thermal column, by downwards forced circulation of
3. The secondary cooling system; cools the heat exchangers of the primary and pool cooling
systems. The power is rejected to the environment through cooling towers. A water
purification and distribution system with mixed resin beds ensures that the coolant is kept
within the chemical and corrosion technical specifications. To reduce the radiation doses at
the reactor pool surface a hot water layer is established by a special water purification and
circulation system. All piping connections to the reactor tank are located above the core
level and siphon effect breaker devices are provided to prevent the pool from draining in case
of Loss of Coolant Accident (LOCA). Flapper valves are placed on the primary and pool
circuits to allow natural circulation in case of electrical power loss or primary pumps loss.
Irradiated fuel elements are stored in baskets in the auxiliary pool. The basket design
and coolant conditions ensure that integrity of the fuel cladding is preserved.
A radioactive liquid waste management system classifies, collects and temporarily
stores liquid waste originated during operation of the reactor. The system also includes a
LOCA drainage system, with enough capacity to store all the water contained in the reactor
and auxiliary pools.
Storage pools at the reactor basement permit activated liquid wastes to decay. Similar
pools for storage of spent purification resins are provided. These pools have a double wall
design and feature a leak detection device. Liquid wastes coming from the hot cells and
radiochemical laboratories are stored in special tanks.
FUEL MANUFACTURING PILOT PLANT (FMPP)
This facility was constructed to supply the ETRR-2 reactor with the necessary nuclear
fuel elements needed for its operation. The ETRR-2 uses Material Testing Reactor (MTR)
style plate type with 19.75 percent U235 enrichment fuel elements. Fig. 15: Fuel Manufacturing Pilot Plant (FMPP), Egypt.
The fuel elements are fabricated at the Fuel Element Pilot Plant, which was designed
and constructed by Invap under contract with Egypt Atomic Energy Authority (AEA)
beginning on March 1, 1996, with preliminary acceptance May 9, 1998.
The fuel plant capacity is reportedly either 24 to 40 fuel elements per year, which is
sufficient for the continuous operation of the reactor. The main processes performed at the
plant include manufacturing of U3O8 yellow powder, structural components, fuel plates, fuel
assembly and quality control tasks.
The starting material is imported non weapons grade uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas
at 19.75 percent U235 enrichment. A consensus among experts is that an assigned value of
less than 20 percent enrichment makes the fuel as proliferation resistant grade material. This
is converted into U3O8 through treatment with ammonia and water in chemical reactors. It is
followed by filtration and thermal treatment to get the appropriate particle size of U3O8.
The oxide powder is mixed with aluminum powder and cold-pressed under 4.5
[tons/cm2] into compacts, which are then clad with sheets of aluminum 6061 alloy, and
sealed by welding.
The processes are carried out in glove boxes. The clad fuel compacts are rolled, in
four stages, into plates 1.5 mm in thickness. Each rolling pass is followed by a thermal
annealing process. The plates are then straightened and assembled into fuel elements. Each
element comprises 19 plates and contains about 2 kgs of uranium. The plant has a workshop capable of producing all mechanical parts of the fuel
element, and includes laboratories for characterization, inspection and quality control
according to nuclear standards.
HOT LABORATORY AND WASTE MANAGEMENT CENTER (HLWMC)
This facility includes a small French supplied hot cell complex for radiochemistry,
radioisotopes production and waste management research. The Hot Laboratory and Waste
Management Center was established in 1980. The center aims at the development of
expertise in the fields of the back end of the fuel cycle, radioactive waste treatment as well as
radioisotope production for various medical and industrial applications. Major research and
service facilities in the center include the low and Intermediate Level Liquid Waste Station,
the Radioisotope Production Laboratories, and the Radwaste Disposal Site. DISCUSSION
Egypt has adhered to the nuclear weapons Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Since
1974, it has supported the proposal to turn the Middle East into a nuclear-weapons free zone,
calling on all countries in the region without exception to join the Nuclear Non Proliferation
In April 1990, Egypt took the initiative of submitting a proposal to render the Middle
East free of weapons of mass destruction. The 1991 Madrid Peace Conference established a
multinational mechanism to work on making the Middle East a nuclear weapons free zone.
This mechanism, however, was stalled.
Egypt hosted in April 1996 the conference for signing the declaration on rendering
Africa a nuclear weapons free zone.
There are no reports of the existence of a nuclear weapons program in Egypt. Egypt's
possessing nuclear weapons is not expected in the foreseeable future.
Serious work on developing a nuclear potential designated for use in power
engineering, agriculture, medicine, biotechnology, and genetics is underway. Industrial
operation of four explored uranium deposits is studied, including the extraction and
fabrication of uranium for subsequent use as fuel for nuclear power plants. There is no
evidence of enrichment research activity.
Yet, there is unease and a strong feel of insecurity within the Egyptian population,
particularly after some ill advised remarks by an Israeli politician threatening to drown
Egypt’s Nile Delta, where the majority of its population dwells, by targeting its Aswan High
dam with nuclear devices. The level of insecurity can be sensed from the remarks of a
previous Egyptian Foreign Minister. Amr Mousa remarked at a gathering of Middle Eastern
experts and journalists in Washington D. C.: “If there is a nuclear program in Israel, then we
can blame nobody and no country if they want to acquire the same. This is an invitation to
an arms race; a very, very serious and dangerous policy.” He argued that Israel's failure to
join the NPT means that the treaty is “Incapable of safeguarding Egypt” and has created “An
extremely dangerous situation” in the Middle East. This makes the pursuit of a regional
nonproliferation agreement associated with signing an overall peace agreement more urgent
and worthwhile. Egypt, which ratified the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1981, advocates a
nuclear weapons free Middle East and regularly criticizes Israel for its undeclared nuclear
However, Egypt has also said it will not sign a voluntary additional protocol to the
NPT that would allow more intrusive inspections, saying it could make it too dependent on
other countries for nuclear energy needs. 8.19 SEMI TRANSPARENT PROGRAM: IRAN’S NUCLEAR
The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) does not possess nuclear weapons as of 2010, even
though it may have reached “breakout capacity,” or the ability to begin assembling a nuclear
device if it is so desired militarily and decided politically.
Convincing signs of the existence in the country of a coordinated integrated military
nuclear program have not been detected at this point. The present condition of industrial
potential is such that without outside help, the IRI is unable to organize production of
weapons grade nuclear materials. A consensus report of key USA intelligence agencies, the
National Intelligence Estimate, concluded in December 2007 that a military run program to
develop nuclear weapons in Iran was halted in 2003.
Iran ratified the NPT in 1970, and since February 1992 has allowed the IAEA to
inspect any of its nuclear facilities. IAEA inspections have not revealed violations of the
nuclear weapons Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In June 2008 the Iranian government
declared that it had 6,000 centrifuges, up from 3,500 earlier in the year. It continues to
enrich uranium insisting that it wants only to produce fuel for its nuclear power plants at a
level of 3.7 percent according to The IAEA inspection reports. It has raised its enrichment
goal to the NPT allowable level 20 percent level as a Feed to a research reactor that it is
constructing. Nuclear weapons production requires an enrichment level above 90 percent.
Russia delivered 82 tons of nuclear fuel to the one billion dollars Bushehr plant
project under IAEA safeguards starting in December 2007, for a scheduled startup operation
in 200. The construction of the plant has been delayed for several years due to the UN
Security Council's intervention under USA pressure. The council has imposed three rounds
of sanctions resolutions against Iran demanding the country abandon all enrichment
This is while the Vienna based IAEA has regularly conducted snap inspections of
Iranian nuclear sites and has reported that all “declared nuclear material in Iran has been
accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities.”
Suspicions linger that the IRI’s nuclear program aims at acquiring a nuclear weapons
capability, leading the UN to impose increasing economic sanctions. President George W.
Bush suggested that the USA opposes “the knowledge” acquired by the Iranian nuclear
program that positions Iran to become a latent nuclear power without actually acquiring
nuclear weaponry. The USA demands the termination of a fuel enrichment program and the
construction of a heavy water reactor, under the threat of further sanctions, possibly followed
by bombing of its nuclear facilities and regime change, repeating the Iraqi experience. SAFEGUARDS CONCERNS
France, Germany, Britain, and other countries in the European Union have been
negotiating with the Iranian leadership to give up its nuclear enrichment program in
exchange for economic aid and trade benefits. Iran agreed to temporarily halt its Uranium235
enrichment program, which aims at manufacturing enriched fuel for its Bushehr and
Darkhovin nuclear power plants. The Iranian facilities are legal under the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty, (NPT) that Iran has ratified. Iran contends that it has no intention of
acquiring nuclear weapons. The USA and Israel assert the opposite.
The goal of talks, which were held in Brussels, Belgium was to persuade Iran to
dismantle its nuclear program. Iran insists, in return, that it needs to see the economic
sanctions imposed on it lifted. These sanctions prevent it from modernizing its oil industry
and prevent it from acquiring needed oil production technology, heavy industrial equipment,
armaments and a fleet of Airbus planes.
The Europeans invited the USA to join in these negotiations. However its
neoconservative voices advance the view that negotiations are a bad deal, that the only thing
the Iranians understand is pressure, and that they also need to be “whacked.”
Under the sanction regime imposed on Iran, the extent of its nuclear program is semi
transparent and its progress is not fully known. Western intelligence agencies believe that
Iran is at least three to five years away from a capability to independently produce nuclear
warheads. Its work on a missile delivery system is far more advanced. This assessment is
doubtful since Iran is known to have serious technical problems in the production of the
uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas step in manufacturing nuclear fuel.
The European negotiations with Iran took the tone of a “lose-lose” situation without
the lack of involvement of the USA. An offer by the USA to allow entry of Iran into the
World Trade Organization (WTO), in return for dismantling its nuclear program, was
promptly dismissed. The options that remain are referral to the Security Council to wrestle a
resolution like in the case of Iraq, declaring Iran in violation of NPT and imposing further
sanctions on it. The sanctions were to be followed by a planned preemption campaign.
The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed Al
Baradei announced in 2004, after meeting Iranian officials on a visit to Tehran that Iran has
agreed to a timetable for nuclear inspections. Al Baradei said that a team of inspectors would
travel to Tehran to verify that all its uranium enrichment activities had stopped.
Similarly, Iran declared that it has stopped its uranium enrichment activities. The
Islamic Republic of Iran, according to an agreement with the IAEA, has voluntarily stopped
all its nuclear activities including enrichment of uranium, according to Gholamreza
Aghazadeh, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
In October 2003, Iran promised it would suspend uranium enrichment and accept
snap inspections of its nuclear facilities. However, the IAEA has since complained that it has
been frustrated by delays. On March 29, 2004, Iran announced that it had stopped building
centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Aghazadeh suggested that Iran would voluntarily
suspend its centrifuge work starting April 9, 2004. The USA has accused Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program, and implicitly
suggested that it would become the next target on its regime change schedule after Iraq. The
same threat earlier compelled Lybia to abandon a failed program and to ship its enrichment
equipment to the USA and the UK. Iran countered that its nuclear ambitions are confined to
generating electricity and closing a complete nuclear fuel cycle for the type of nuclear
reactors it is building in collaboration with Russia. These are Pressurized Water Reactors
(PWRs) requiring fuel enrichment to a low level. The USA suggests that Iran is an oil rich
nation and does not need to develop nuclear energy, suggesting that Iran has sought the
development of a nuclear weapons capability over a 19 years period, partly in secrecy under
the sanctions regime and partly under the disguise of a civilian nuclear power program. This
would be in violation of the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) that Iran has signed.
Earlier IAEA inspections uncovered traces of highly enriched uranium, suitable for a
weapons program, and not for a civilian power program based on the PWR design. This
discovery reinforced the USA’s argument that Iran was illegally pursuing a nuclear weapons
program. The Iranians replied that some of the equipment had been imported, possibly from
Pakistan, and may have been contaminated with trace impurities of highly enriched uranium.
Controversy aroused when parts found were compatible with the P2 centrifuge a more
advanced design than the model Iran has acknowledged using. The machinery was found at
the Doshan-Tappeh air base near Tehran. Fig. 16: View of a centrifuges bank. Gas centrifuges, can be used to enrich natural uranium in the U235 isotope.
Centrifuges spin at supersonic speeds to separate fissile U235 from the fissionable U238
uranium isotope. A single gas centrifuge is shown in Fig. 17. Fig. 17: Urenco single gas centrifuge.
The Iranian components matched drawings of equipment found in Libya and supplied
by the clandestine Pakistani network in Pakistan and Malaysia headed by scientist Abdul
Qader Khan. The P2 centrifuge is a Pakistani version of the advanced Western G2 design.
Nuclear experts at the IAEA in Vienna said Khan was selling designs for a basic centrifuge
known as a G-1, which the Iranians had admitted to having, but that the new design was for a
G-2, an improved and more efficient version. They said the IAEA was using revelations
from Libya to track what Iran was doing, since they were being supplied by the same black
market. Khan obtained designs for these centrifuges from the British-Dutch German
consortium Urenco while working in the Netherlands in the 1970s.
The G2 centrifuge design originated in Europe. Khan modified the design, now
dubbed the P2 (for Pakistan 2) by nuclear experts, and apparently sold it to Iran. Khan
supplied Lybia with three items: the G1/P1 centrifuge, the G2/P2 centrifuge, and a nuclear
weapon design. Iran has admitted to having the G1/P1 centrifuge and now apparently has the
G2/P2 centrifuge supplied by the same source.
Iran has apparently built a number of centrifuges based on the P1 design at the Natanz
site. The reported number is about 214, which is much less than the cascades of thousands of
centrifuge needed to attain the high the high enrichment needed for nuclear devices. Another facility near the city of Al Qom was declared to the IAEA in September
2009, at a time when an agreement for sending enriched uranium fuel to European and
Russian location for manufacturing was being negotiated. Fig. 18: Urenco gas centrifuges cascade.
Iran’s acceptance of the stringent recent IAEA’s safeguards inspections signals that it
has changed its strategy from becoming an outright nuclear weapons state to becoming a
latent nuclear state such as Japan and Germany. Those states opted not to develop nuclear
weapons programs, in favor of accumulating the knowledge and technology to develop
nuclear weapons on a short notice, should their nations become threatened at a future date. Fig. 19: Iranian pilot plant centrifuges designs.
HEAVY WATER REACTOR AT ARAK
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that it was informed by
Iran of its intention to build a heavy water reactor in central Iran at Arak. The Heavy Water
plant towers at Arak, in The Iranian Islamic Republic (IRI) are shown in Fig. 20. The site
already includes in addition to the projected reactor, a heavy water production plant and a
nuclear fuel fabrication plant. Fig. 20: Heavy Water plant towers at Arak, IRI.
Iran and Russia have been cooperating in the nuclear energy field. They began work
building a reactor worth $800m near the south-western port of Bushehr in 2002. The plant
was scheduled to begin operating in June 2004 with the loading of nuclear fuel into the reactor set for December 2003. The project was further delayed with startup scheduled for
2009. A Russian firm took on the project which was started by a German firm in 1972 but
abandoned after the Iranian revolution in 1979. A photograph of the power plant at the port
of Bushehr under construction is shown in Fig. 21. Fig. 21: The Nuclear power plant at the port of Bushehr at different stages of
In addition to the reactor to be built at Arak, Iran has a research reactor at the Iranian
nuclear agency headquarters, shown in Fig. 22. Fig. 22: Research reactor at Iranian Nuclear Agency Headquarters.
Iran asserts that the projected heavy water reactor will be used both for medical and
industrial purposes for producing isotopes. USA sources suggest it can be used for
producing weapons grade plutonium that cannot be produced in nuclear power plants.
Mark Gwozdecky, an IAEA spokesperson, says the agency was aware of Iran's
intention to start building a heavy water reactor near Arak. In 2003, Iran declared to the
agency its construction at Arak of a heavy water production plant and its planned
construction of a heavy water reactor. Iran provided preliminary design information on the
reactor along with preliminary information of the facility intended to manufacture the natural
Mohamed Al Baradei, IAEA director mentioned in a report that his inspectors were
surprised that the information given by Iran on the Arak reactor did not include information
about planned hot cells for radioisotopes separation and production. Upon confronting the
Iranian authorities, they acknowledged that two hot cells had been planned, but neither the
design nor detailed information was available.
Western diplomats say a heavy water reactor is a huge investment and there is no
justification for such an outlay for civilian use. Israel, with France’s help, built the similar
heavy water Dimona reactor based on the (Eau Lourde 2 for: Heavy Water 2) EL2 design,
increased its power, and used it for its nuclear weapons development program.
The USA and other countries suspect that Iran's nuclear program is a cover for
building nuclear weapons, which is denied by Iran.
PREEMPTION IN IRAN
At issue with Iran was its conversion of 37 metric tonnes of yellowcake into metallic
uranium. About three tonnes of this amount already was fully converted into uranium
hexafluoride. If fully processed, the 37 tonnes of yellowcake can theoretically yield more
than 200 pounds of weapons-grade uranium, enough to make five crude nuclear weapons.
It is expected that Iran would not yield to the USA’s counter proliferation policy
demand of dismantling its nuclear enrichment program. Following failure of the talks between Iran and the Europeans, Iran would be referred to the UN Security Council for
sanctions and other measures. If any resolution imposing sanctions on Iran is vetoed by
China or Russia, the United Nations would be conveniently blamed ahead of a rumored
planned preemption campaign by the USA.
Preemption in this case precludes an outright invasion like in the case of Iraq. From
1991 to 2001, the Iraqi army had been softened by continuous aerial bombardment, and was
ineffective as a fighting force. This is not the case with the Iranian army which could offer
stiff resistance to a land invasion.
The rivalries between the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds were cleverly exploited in Iraq
with an alliance with the 60 percent of the population Shiites and 20 percent Kurds against
the 20 percent ruling Sunnis. This again would not be possible in Iran, with a uniform Shiite
population which is supportive of its government.
The proposed new strategy in this case is for the USA and Israel to aerially bomb the
Iranian air force, naval, military and nuclear facilities with the help of Special Forces and
commando raids aiding the process by laser illumination and Global Position System
identification of the targets, based on the experience from Afghanistan. Once “defanged,” it
is surmised that the Iranian government will fall under its own weight by public discontent
from the defeat to a change into a secular friendly government. The advocacy for this
preemptive campaign, like the case of Iraq, in spearheaded both the neoconservative and the
extremist evangelical movements in the USA.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was rumored to have created a unit called the
Strategic Support Branch to end “near total dependence” on the CIA for human intelligence.
The unit deployed teams of case officers, linguists, interrogators and technical specialists
with special operations forces. These defense intelligence missions were subject to fewer
legal constraints and has operated in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other undisclosed
locations such as Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, the Philippines
and Georgia. The Strategic Support Branch was established with “reprogrammed” funds and
without explicit authority from the USA Congress.
The Israeli government is skeptical of the European approach to negotiations with
Iran. Silvan Shalom, the Foreign Minister, said in an interview with a New Yorker
journalist, “I don’t like what’s happening. We were encouraged at first when the Europeans
got involved. For a long time, they thought it was just Israel’s problem. But then they saw
that the [Iranian] missiles themselves were longer range and could reach all of Europe, and
they became very concerned. Their attitude has been to use the carrot and the stick—but all
we see so far is the carrot.” He added: “If they can’t comply, Israel cannot live with Iran
having a nuclear bomb.”
Patrick Clawson, an Iran expert who is the deputy director of the Washington Institute
for Near East Policy, articulated the view in a recent essay that force, or the threat of it, was a
vital bargaining tool with Iran. Clawson wrote that if Europe wanted cooperation with the
Bush Administration it “would do well to remind Iran that the military option remains on the
table.” He added that the argument that the European negotiations hinged on Washington
looked like: “a preemptive excuse for the likely breakdown of the EU-Iranian talks.”
Clawson suggested that, if some kind of military action was inevitable, “it would be much
more in Israel’s interest—and Washington’s—to take covert action. The style of this
Administration is to use overwhelming force—‘shock and awe.’ But we get only one bite of
the apple.” There are many military and diplomatic experts who dispute the notion that military
action, on whatever scale, is the right approach. Shahram Chubin, an Iranian scholar who is
the director of research at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, suggested: “It’s a fantasy to
think that there’s a good American or Israeli military option in Iran. The Israeli view is that
this is an international problem. ‘You do it,’ they say to the West. ‘Otherwise, our Air Force
will take care of it.’” In 1981, the Israeli Air Force destroyed Iraq’s Osirak reactor, setting its
nuclear program back several years. But the situation now is both more complex and more
dangerous, Chubin said. The Osirak bombing “drove the Iranian nuclear-weapons program
underground, to hardened, dispersed sites,” he said. “You can’t be sure after an attack that
you’ll get away with it. The USA and Israel would not be certain whether all the sites had
been hit, or how quickly they’d be rebuilt. Meanwhile, they’d be waiting for an Iranian
counter-attack that could be military or terrorist or diplomatic. Iran has long range missiles
and ties to Hezbollah, which has drones—you can’t begin to think of what they’d do in
Chubin added that Iran could also renounce the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.
“It’s better to have them cheating within the system,” he said. “Otherwise, as victims, Iran
will walk away from the treaty and inspections while the rest of the world watches the NPT
unravel before their eyes.”
The USA had been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least
since the summer of 2004. Much of the focus is on the accumulation of intelligence and
targeting information on Iranian nuclear, chemical, and missile sites, both declared and
suspected. The goal is to identify and isolate three dozen, and perhaps more, such targets
that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short term commando raids. “The civilians
in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as
Some of the missions involve extraordinary cooperation. An American commando
task force has been set up in South Asia and is now working closely with a group of Pakistani
scientists and technicians who had dealt with Iranian counterparts. In 2003, the IAEA
disclosed that Iran had been secretly receiving nuclear technology from Pakistan for more
than a decade, and had withheld that information from inspectors. The American task force,
aided by the information from Pakistan, has been penetrating eastern Iran from Afghanistan
in a hunt for underground installations. The task force members, or their locally recruited
agents, secreted remote detection device, known as sniffers, capable of sampling the
atmosphere for radioactive emissions and other evidence of nuclear enrichment programs.
Getting such evidence was a pressing concern for the Bush Administration. A former
high level intelligence official stated: “They don’t want to make any WMD intelligence
mistakes, as in Iraq. The Republicans can’t have two of those. There’s no education in the
second kick of a mule.” The official added that the government of Pervez Musharraf, the
Pakistani President, has won a high price for its cooperation: American assurance that
Pakistan will not have to hand over A. Q. Khan, known as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear
bomb, to the IAEA or to any other international authorities for questioning. In addition
Pakistan was promised permission to receive delivery of F-16 fighter planes that it had paid
for a long time ago.
For two decades, Khan has been linked to a vast consortium of nuclear black market
activities. In 2004, President Musharraf professed to be shocked when Khan, in the face of
overwhelming evidence, “confessed” to his activities. A few days later, Musharraf pardoned him, and refused to allow the IAEA or American intelligence to interview him. Khan is now
said to be living under house arrest in a villa in Islamabad. “It’s a deal—a trade-off,” a
former high-level intelligence official explained. “’Tell us what you know about Iran and we
will let your A. Q. Khan guys go.’ It is the neoconservatives’ version of short-term gain at
long-term cost. They want to prove that President George W. Bush is the anti-terrorism guy
who can handle Iran and the nuclear threat, against the long-term goal of eliminating the
black market for nuclear proliferation.”
The agreement came at a time when President Musharraf had authorized the
expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal. “Pakistan still needs parts and supplies,
and needs to buy them in the clandestine market,” the former diplomat said. “The USA. has
done nothing to stop it.”
There has also been close, and largely unacknowledged, cooperation with Israel. The
government consultant with ties to the Pentagon said that the Defense Department civilians,
under the leadership of Douglas Feith, have been working with Israeli planners and
consultants to develop and refine potential nuclear, chemical weapons, and missile targets
inside Iran. After the Osirak bombing in Iraq, Iran situated many of its nuclear sites in
remote areas of its eastern provinces, in an attempt to keep them out of striking range of other
countries, especially Israel. Distance no longer lends such protection, however: Israel has
acquired three submarines capable of launching cruise missiles and has equipped some of its
aircraft with additional fuel tanks, putting Israeli F-16I fighters within the range of most
The belief is that about three quarters of the potential targets can be destroyed from
the air, and a quarter are too close to population centers, or buried too deep, to be targeted.
Some suspicious sites need to be checked out by American or Israeli commando teams in onthe-ground surveillance before being targeted.
The Pentagon’s contingency plans for a broader invasion of Iran are also being
updated. Strategists at the headquarters of the USA Central Command, in Tampa, Florida,
have been asked to revise the military’s war plan, providing for a maximum ground and air
invasion of Iran. Updating the plan makes sense, whether or not the Administration intends
to act, because the geopolitics of the region have changed dramatically. Previously, an
American invasion force would have had to enter Iran by sea, by way of the Persian Gulf or
the Gulf of Oman; now troops could move in on the ground, from Afghanistan or Iraq.
Commando units and other assets could be introduced through new bases in the Central
It is possible that some of the American officials who talk about the need to eliminate
Iran’s nuclear infrastructure are doing so as part of a propaganda campaign aimed at
pressuring Iran to give up its weapons planning. If so, the signals are not always clear.
President George W. Bush, who depicted Iran as a member of the “axis of evil,” at some
point publicly emphasized the need for diplomacy to run its course. “We don’t have much
leverage with the Iranians right now,” “Diplomacy must be the first choice, and always the
first choice of an administration trying to solve an issue of nuclear armament. And we’ll
continue to press on diplomacy.”
The USA administration believes that it will soon become clear that the Europeans’
negotiated approach cannot succeed, and that at that time the Administration will act. “We’re
not dealing with a set of National Security Council option papers here,” “They’ve already
passed that wicket. It’s not if we’re going to do anything against Iran. They’re doing it.” The immediate goals of the attacks would be to destroy, or at least temporarily derail,
Iran’s ability to go nuclear by targeting its man power involved in the nuclear program of
about 10,000 scientists, engineers and technicians. But there are other, equally purposeful,
motives at work. The hawks in the Pentagon, in private discussions, have been urging a
limited attack on Iran because they believe it could lead to a toppling of the religious
leadership. “Within the soul of Iran there is a struggle between secular nationalists and
reformers, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the fundamentalist Islamic movement,”
“The minute the aura of invincibility which the mullahs enjoy is shattered, and with it the
ability to hoodwink the West, the Iranian regime will collapse”—like the former Communist
regimes in Romania, East Germany, and the Soviet Union.
On the other hand, “The idea that an American attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities
would produce a popular uprising is extremely ill informed,” said Flynt Leverett, a Middle
East scholar who worked on the National Security Council in the Bush Administration.
“You have to understand that the nuclear ambition in Iran is supported across the political
spectrum, and Iranians will perceive attacks on these sites as attacks on their ambitions to be
a major regional player and a modern nation that’s technologically sophisticated.” Leverett,
who is a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, at the Brookings
Institution, warned that an American attack, if it takes place, “will produce an Iranian
backlash against the United States and a rallying around the regime.” Iran considers nuclear
energy as a “Divine Blessing.”
The former Secretary of Defense in the USA Donald Rumsfeld planned and lobbied
for more than two years before getting Presidential authority, in a series of findings and
executive orders, to use military commandos for covert operations. One of his first steps was
bureaucratic: to shift control of an undercover unit, known then as the Gray Fox, from the
Army to the Special Operations Command (Socom), in Tampa, Florida. Gray Fox was
formally assigned to Socom in July 2002, at the instigation of Rumsfeld’s office, which
meant that the undercover unit would have a single commander for administration and
operational deployment. Then, in the fall of 2004, Rumsfeld’s ability to deploy the
commandos expanded. According to a Pentagon consultant, an Execute Order on the Global
War on Terrorism, referred to throughout the government as Gwot, was issued at Rumsfeld’s
direction. The order specifically authorized the military “to find and finish” terrorist targets.
It included a target list that cited Al Qaeda network members, Al Qaeda senior leadership,
and other high-value targets. The order had been cleared throughout the national-security
bureaucracy in Washington.
In late November, 2004, the Times magazine reported that President Bush had set up
an interagency group to study whether it “would best serve the nation” to give the Pentagon
complete control over the CIA’s own élite paramilitary unit, which has operated covertly in
trouble spots around the world for decades.
IRAN’S NUCLEAR FACILITIES
Until 1979 Iran was implementing a program to use atomic energy for peaceful
purposes which envisioned the construction of 23 Nuclear Power Stations. Today it is
implementing a more moderate program which employs the following bodies:
Nuclear Research Center, Tehran Since 1968 the center operated a research reactor with a nominal capacity of 5 MWth
delivered from the USA and under IAEA safeguards with an installation for producing
radioisotopes. There is a non operational installation for producing yellow cake.
A research wing called Ebn e Qasem was added to the center's territory in October
1992; with a laser technology laboratory, that is involved in civilian applications.
The Nuclear Technology Center, Esfahan
A miniaturized neutron source reactor, MNSR research reactor with a capacity of 2.55 MWth was bought from the People Republic of China (PRC). It is devoted to peaceful
nuclear research applications.
Nuclear Research Center for Agriculture and Medicine, Karaj
One building houses a dosimetry laboratory and an agricultural radiochemistry
laboratory. A calutron or electromagnetic separator for extracting nonradioactive stable
isotopes is housed there. It was bought from the PRC for the purpose of separating isotopes
for targets which are to be radiated with neutron streams in the 30 MeV cyclotron installed in
Nuclear Research Department, Yazd
It is affiliated with the local university and is engaged in geophysical research and the
geology of a uranium deposit located 40 kilometers southeast of the populated point of
Sagend, which in turn lies 165 kilometers northeast of the city of Yazd. The unexploited
deposit is 100-150 square kilometers in area, and reserves are estimated at 3,000-4,000
tonnes of uranium oxide U3O8 equivalent. Its U235 content is very low at about 0.08 to 1.0
Moalem Kalaye Installation
This installation is under construction near Qazvin in the mountains north of Tehran.
.It has been checked by IAEA inspectors and according to their official report in 1992
nuclear activities are not being carried out at this installation. DISCUSSION
The erection of a factory for processing uranium ore in Iran was expected by 2005.
Some Western experts express doubts about the proposition that there are no grounds for the
international community to put up obstacles to prevent Tehran from realizing its peaceful
nuclear program even under IAEA control.
Various levels of official representatives of the USA and Israel have repeatedly
declared they are certain that Iran is implementing a military nuclear program. This claim is
questionable. The essence of Iran’s approach is to comply with the NPT and build its own peaceful
nuclear program in such a way that if the appropriate political decision is made under
conventional or nuclear threat, the expertise gained in the peaceful sphere in terms of
specialists and equipment could be used to create nuclear weapons. The conclusion is
reached according to the new counter proliferation policy that countries that supply nuclear
technology should refrain from any cooperation with Iran in the nuclear field until there is
sufficiently strong evidence of Iran's sincere and lasting adherence to exclusively peaceful
use of nuclear energy. Pressure is being applied by serious threats and plans of decapitating
Iran’s human and technological nuclear capability by both the USA and Israel.
The accusations against Iran are frequently based on unconfirmed information. A
campaign in 1992-1994 in the foreign mass information media, especially American and
West European media, over four nuclear warheads which Tehran supposedly bought from
Kazakhstan is known. Meanwhile, as the leadership of the CIA has repeatedly stated, it has
not recorded any sale of nuclear weapons from the republics of the former USSR. 8.20 TRAFFICKING IN NUCLEAR MATERIALS:
Unauthorized and uncontrolled movement of nuclear materials can lead to radiation
hazards and proliferation risks, depending on the kinds and quantities of these materials.
Sovereign nations are not involved in these activities, but individuals acting outside the
confines of the laws of these nations could get involved.
Improved surveillance at airports and customs checks at borders can control such
trafficking. In the USA, police and Department of Transportation and State Police
authorities routinely check highway traffic for gamma rays emissions characteristic of
nuclear materials. 5
Fig. 23: Nuclear materials monitors for pedestrians and cars at Astrakhan on the Caspian
Sea. Fig. 24: Nuclear materials radiation portal system for trains.
Trains and vehicles in European and Asian countries pass through highly sensitive
gamma ray detectors at borders checkpoints. Figure 23 shows pedestrian and vehicle monitoring
portals at Astrakhan, a major seaport on the Caspian Sea for shipments to Iran. Figure 24 shows
a radiation portal system for monitoring rail cars.
The most publicized case involves the interception by Russian border guards trained by
USA Customs in 1999 of 10 grams of weapons grade uranium hidden inside a car traveling to
Bulgaria. This is a trivially useless amount, considering that a critical mass of U235, is about 54
kgs, or 54,000 gms.
A reported case involves a state trooper in the State of Illinois routinely scanning for
gamma ray emissions from a truck carrying cast steel table pedestals destined to the Chicago
area. Upon investigation, it was determined that the table pedestals were cast in a Mexico
foundry. The foundry used scrap steel from a recycling plant in Mexico using a medical
radiation instrument containing pellets of Cesium137 previously used in cancer treatment and
illegally disposed of.
There were unsubstantiated reports of attempted sales of Pu238 used in heart pacers, space
probes, and smoke detectors in some Eastern European nations. Plutonium238 is totally unusable
as a weapon material, and even if it were, the quantities involved are meaningless for weapons
purposes. However, the traffickers tried to pass it to uninformed naïve and unsuspecting buyers
for the Pu239 isotope suitable for weapons manufacture.
Out of the fear of the possibility of nuclear materials trafficking, over the period 19922000, the USA's Energy Department has spent about $1.2 billion on various programs related to
protecting nuclear materials. To be specific, it is not American nuclear material being protected
here: it is Russian nuclear material that the USA's Energy Department was protecting. Among
the previously unthinkable justifications for these programs are: helping Russian nuclear
scientists find jobs, improving physical safeguards at Russian nuclear facilities and reducing the
stockpile of weapons grade uranium and plutonium in Russia.
The USA's year 2001 budget, with an enormous surplus produced by a booming
economy, had a sum of $1 billion allocated for the purchase of highly enriched uranium from
Russia. This sum was also earmarked for stepping out efforts to consolidate more than 1,000
tons of plutonium and uranium now scattered in 300 buildings and 50 sites across Russia. Russia has an estimated 40,000 nuclear weapons and more than 1,000 metric tons of nuclear material
including highly enriched uranium and plutonium scattered at facilities across Russia.
USA's spending on nuclear security in Russia totaled about $900 million annually.
About a third of that sum was in Energy Department programs to help Russia secure nuclear
materials, safeguard nuclear facilities and retrain and support nuclear scientists facing hard
economic times. A panel of former federal officials in the USA recommended a $30 billion
program to help Russia secure its nuclear stockpile.
Nuclear accounting methods and controls, in the nations possessing these materials is
presently the perceived appropriate approach to control such traffic. 8.21 NON-NATIONAL GROUPS
After the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the
USA, the possibility of access of non-national groups to fissile or radioactive materials became
an area of intensive debate. Those considering these possibilities present three separate
1. The suitcase device.
In this case, it is suggested that a non-national group could obtain a miniature portable
nuclear device. These were known as “small atomic demolition munitions’” and were intended
for destroying bridges and railways in Europe in case of a NATO–Warsaw pact confrontation. A
few hundred of these devices may have been manufactured by the USA and the previous Soviet
Union. This alternative is considered as outright imagination since the USA intelligence services
have expressed very high confidence that Russia has accounted for all its nuclear weapons. Even
if a portable device were acquired, nuclear weapons are equipped with safety devices that would
self-destruct and disperse the weapon’s material the without causing a nuclear reaction in case of
2. Smuggled nuclear material device.
The IAEA reported 18 cases of fissile smuggling since 1993, and numerous cases of
attempted trafficking in radioactive substances. The fissile materials cases involved gram
quantities probably stolen from research laboratories, with quantities that are not in any way
sufficient to attain supercriticality. About 18 countries possess various amounts of fissile
material that is jealously guarded or under international safeguards. The largest amount exists in
Russia with 1,300 metric tons of plutonium and highly enriched uranium. Since 1992, USA
agencies have spent 5 billion dollars upgrading Russia’s security at the laboratories and the
weapons sites where they are stored, and providing employment and financial aid to the weapons
scientists, with the intention of preventing them from marketing their expertise to clandestine
weapons programs in other nations. The Russians welcomed wholeheartedly this new form of
trade that helped their economy based on the newly arisen paranoid fears in the USA.
3. Radiation dispersal device. There have been concerns that a non-national group could obtain stolen radioactive
nuclear material and construct a radiological dispersal device where the objective is, through a
chemical explosion, to disperse the radioactivity in a given area. Assuming that the individuals
involved do not get severely sickened and eventually killed by the emitted unshielded radiation,
and pass undetected through multiple safeguards, the emitted radiation itself would not cause
major harm upon dilution. So, beyond the damage caused by the chemical explosive, what is left
is only the psychological effect of the event. 8.22 THE OBSOLESCENCE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
The USA policy on nuclear deterrence has evolved since the first use of nuclear weapons
in the Second World War. The perceived usefulness of nuclear weapons has also decreased
significantly among the nuclear weapons states, even though they may remain a practically
unattainable goal for rogue states and non national groups. The evolution of nuclear deterrence
policy in the USA is shown in Table 4. Beyond the year 2002, many options were being
debated, including keeping nuclear weapons in trust for any possible future need, for instance for
protecting Earth against incoming stellar invaders as asteroids or comets. A decision has been
taken to develop an anti missile defense system and to withdraw from the Anti Ballistic Missile
(ABM) defense treaty. Fissile materials from dismantled aged weapons are not to be burned for
power production in nuclear reactors, but be held in trust for any future uses by humanity. A
Weapons Stewardship program assures the viability of existing devices through a laboratorytesting program and through numerical computer simulations.
The fact still remains that many wars have been fought without nuclear weapons being
used, which suggests that their use was neither possible nor practicable.
Table 4: Evolution of USA’s Nuclear Deterrence Policy.
2001 USA Nuclear Deterrence Policy
End of World War Second.
Single Nuclear Power State.
Flexible response, escalation dominance.
Assured destruction of opponent.
Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD).
Countervailing strategy; Presidential directive 59.
Peace through strength: National Security Defense directive 13.
Strategic defense Initiative (SDI.)
Weapons of last resort.
Nuclear posture review.
Post cold War deterrent with hedge.
Deterrence, Assurance, Dissuasion, Defense. 2002 2003
2006 Missile defense system development. Withdrawal from Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM)
defense treaty. Weapons Stewardship program. Nuclear weapons held in trust for
humans. Reconstitution as a safeguard. Sustained deterrent. Flexible deterrent.
Responsible hedge deterrent. Minimal deterrent. Recessed deterrent.
Virtual deterrent. Undeterrence.
Pre-emptive Unilateral Intervention. Regime change. Shock and Awe.
Denial of nuclear and dual use technologies.
Counter proliferation. Proliferation Security Initiative.
Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, GNEP. Control of nuclear fuel trade. New technology in weapons systems, including those based on the Global Positioning
System (GPS) has lead to precision guided munitions and made nuclear weapons practically
obsolete and unusable in present warfare. This is occurring in the same way as mobile warfare in
the 1940s in the Second World War using tanks had replaced static trench warfare of 1914-18
First World War. In 1940 it took the German Wehrmacht only six weeks to roll from Germany
and the river Rhine to Paris and the Seine River. Some French military leaders thought that oil is
dirty, while horses dung was not. Others thought that tanks would need mechanics that would be
susceptible as non elite working class individuals to communist influences.
In World War Second, the target kill probability of bombs was 1 in 400 or 0.24 percent.
In the Afghan War in 2001, the kill probability has been enhanced with precision munitions to 90
percent. Real time intelligence from unmanned drones and satellites, precision munitions guided
by the space based global positioning system, and stealthy aircraft turn smaller smarter forces
into effective agile and flexible overwhelming forces, capable of killing from a safe distance
without their being reachable by their opponents.
As outlined by George Will, four main characteristics now cover modern military
doctrine in the USA, in view of preserving its status as the single world hyperpower with
significant asymmetric force, and the arbiter of last resort for the foreseeable future:
1. Protection of the information networks
This is based on real time satellite photography in the visible and infrared regions allowing
monitoring in day and night, as well as space radar allowing the detection of underground
installations. These are the cornerstones of precision warfare, protecting friendly forces from
attack, while being able to attack those of the adversaries.
2. Enhancement of joint forces operational capabilities
This is to be achieved through leveraged information technology, and the optimal use of different
forces at the appropriate places and times.
3. Maintenance of unhindered access to space
The ultimate high ground is outer space. Protection of the infrastructure that supports the space
capabilities that allow the projection of military power to any point on the Earth’s surface
becomes of paramount importance. It will be soon feasible for space technology to identify,
illuminate and destroy targets both above and under ground. It is known that radar can penetrate the ground and identify from outer space underground structures. Those targets could be
stationary like missile silos or command posts, or mobile such as planes, cruise missiles,
submarines and ballistic missiles.
4. Decapitation of opponents’ leadership
This involves extending the conflict to destroy the enemy’s leadership rather than the more
economical expediting the quickest cessation of hostilities. This 19-th century non technological
and aspect of military doctrine has been also been designated as a policy of “extermination” or
“eradication” of the enemy, particularly its leadership. This includes dividing the opponents and
turning its factions against each other, then eliminating them one a time. As discussed by
George Will, the policy dates back to the USA’s Civil War, in the scorched Earth policy of
General William Tecumseh Sherman who believed in what he called “the awful fact” … that
victory required “that the present class of men who rule the South must be killed outright.” He
believed that the army’s goal is not to occupy territory, but to destroy enemy personnel. Hence,
after the torching of Atlanta, Georgia in 1864, he proclaimed: “I fear the world will jump to the
wrong conclusion that because I am in Atlanta the work is done. Far from it. We must kill three
hundred thousand I have told you of so often, and the further they run the harder for us to get
them.” The eerie success of this policy can be glimpsed from a letter written after the Civil war
by the Confederate general D. H. Hill to another Confederate general Jubal Early: “Why has the
South become so toadyish and sycophantic? I think because the best and noblest were killed off
during the war.”
Several new technologies have been developed to reach the threshold of destructiveness
of nuclear weapons through electronic, mechanical and chemical processes without the burden of
nuclear weapons and their widespread indiscriminate destructiveness and resulting radioactivity.
DEPLETED URANIUM MUNITIONS AND ARMOR
Depleted Uranium is a very dense material approximately twice the density of lead. It
has the capability of penetrating armor, and can also be used itself as armor for tank and
personnel carriers. Because of its high density it is used as ballast in ships and aircrafts.
Depleted uranium munitions were first used during the Gulf War in 1991, leading to devastation
of the Iraqi army. It has been later used in the Bosnian, Kosovo, Afghanistan and the Iraq
DAISY CUTTER 15,000 LBS DEVICE
This large weapon designated as BLU-82 is capable of incinerating everything within a
600 yards radius. It is a high blast device used effectively in the Afghan war against mine fields
and congregations of ground forces in the open or protected by building structure. Figure 26
shows a daisy cutter device on its parachuted pallet. Fig. 26: A 15,000 pounds Daisy-Cutter BLU-82 device on its parachute-dropping pallet.
FUEL-AIR MIXTURE EXPLOSIVES
This weapon was developed during the Vietnam War. It depends on creating a mist of
liquid fuel in the air, which is then detonated. Explosions of different yields can be created
depending on the size of the droplets produced, wind speed and other factors. The inability to
predict the yield makes them hard to use. The explosion depletes the air from all traces of
oxygen within its explosion radius, leading to death by suffocation of any oxygen breathing life
forms in its effective radius.
THERMOBARIC AND VACUUM WEAPONS
This weapon, designated as the BLU-118b, is an evolution of the earlier Fuel-Air Mixture
explosives and can be used in several configurations. It generates explosions based on the same
principle as dust explosions that occur frequently in grain elevators in the USA’s grain belt, or
methane explosions. These explosions occur when fine dust or methane gas is generated in grain
handling operations or methane gas in coal mines. The dust offers a large surface area to oxygen
in the air. Powerful explosions and destructive shock waves can be initiated in the finely
dispersed dust by a spark from starting an electrical motor, or an employee clandestinely
smoking a cigarette.
Such devices generally detonate in two stages. First a small blast disperses a main load
of explosive slurry material into a cloud at an optimal height around 500 feet to create a
horizontally moving mach stem, which then either spontaneously ignites in air or is set off by a
second charge. This explosion generates a pressure wave that reaches much further than that
from a conventional explosive. The consumption of gases in the blast also generates a partial
vacuum that can compound damage and injuries caused by the explosion itself.
The main destruction is inflicted by an ultrasonic shockwave and a high temperature
causing all that is alive to merely evaporate. The heat and pressure effects are formidable. Humans caught in the blast could have the air sucked from their bodies and even their internal
organs catastrophically destroyed.
Thermobaric weapons are closely related to the fuel-air explosives, where the explosive
cloud is provided by a volatile gas or liquid. Fig. 27: Views of Russian thermobaric device. Fig. 28: Explosion of Russian thermobaric device.
In September 2007, Russia announced the development of a new bomb that is more
powerful than the USA GBU-38/B 21,700 lbs Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), also
known under its name "Mother of All Bombs". The Russian designers called their new weapon
“Father of All Bombs.” It is four times more powerful at 44 metric tons of TNT equivalent than
its USA satellite guided 11 tonnes of TNT equivalent counterpart and the temperature at the
epicenter of its blast was two times higher. It has a blast radius of 300 feet or 990 feet, twice as
large as the USA design destroying all human life within three miles and causing deaths within
up to four miles in diameter.
Portable versions of this weapon were used by Russia to level off the capital city of
Grozny in Chechnya.
The thermobaric devices create a cloud of explosive particles such as aluminum powder,
or explosive slurries with a shock wave of higher strength and duration than generated by conventional explosives. The generated shock waves can be directed and amplified in enclosed
spaces such buildings, bunkers, tunnels and caves. An interesting characteristic is that this
allows the destruction of the contents of the enclosed space without destroying its access
entrance. These weapons are dropped from airplanes and directed to their targets using their fins
and the coordinates of the target fed into the Global Positioning System by ground special or
clandestine forces. The weapon can also be guided to its target through illuminating it by special
lasers invisible to the opponents. They are exploded near the entrance of the enclosed structure
directing the generated blast wave to its interior. Fig. 29: Stealth bomber, Northrup B-2A.
STEALTH AIRCRAFT TECHNOLOGY
Radar evading stealth technology has been applied to both fighter and bomber aircraft,
and even surface ships. The designs involve sharp angle deflecting radar waves rather than
reflecting them, and materials and coatings absorbing radar waves. The technology has been
instrumental in defeating air defenses and quickly achieving air superiority and control in most
of the recent conflicts: the Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Figure 29 shows
the Northrup B2-A, which is the ultimate of what bombardment platform should be. These
became operational on December 17, 1993. This was the first anniversary of the Wright
Brothers’ first powered air flight.7
GUNSHIPS, THE US AIR FORCE AC-130U These are slow moving but they offer pinpoint accuracy against targets. The aircraft can
cruise at low altitude over a target area and fire side mounted guns as shown in Fig. 30. The
guns could use depleted uranium munitions against armor. The latest versions have radar to
detect targets at long range, as well as satellite guided navigational systems. Fig. 30: A Special Forces gunship equipped with cannon and heavy machine guns, the US air
UNMANNED AIRCRAFT AND SENSOR NETWORKS
Stealth and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can fly over combat areas and transmit
visual video, infrared, and radar information to controllers who would direct naval, artillery or
aircraft fire. They come in two versions, the Vertical Take-of and Landing (VTOL) shown in
Fig. 31, and the stealth Predators in Fig. 32. Some of the latter are have been outfitted with
missiles that have been remotely shot at ground targets.
The unmanned aircraft can be used to position, maintain and operate correlated sensors
networks in rough terrain as shown in Fig. 33. The sensors can be permanently deployed in
sensitive locations or deployed on demand. They can be self-powered using solar arrays or
batteries or they could clandestinely tap their energy from existing power sources such as
telephone networks. Data fusion algorithms generate continuous online information from
communication links. These sensors can detect the presence of fissile material, biological
agents, and ordinary troop movements. The array of sensors could form a reconfigurable and
self healing network relaying the information to the unmanned aircraft. Fig. 31: Unmanned Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aerial vehicle. Fig. 32: Stealth unmanned Predator aircraft. Fig. 33: Unmanned Predator aircraft with a correlated sensor network. PRECISION LASER AND GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM (GPS)
Using small portable lasers and the Global Positioning System (GPS), ground forces
infiltrating behind enemy lines under disguise, for instance as local populations, aid workers or
news reporters can locate targets in a way that airline pilots are incapable of. The lasers are
invisible to the human eye, yet sensors in the bombs can see them. Special operating forces
carry portable radios that can intercept the opponent’s side’s radio communications and mobile
telephone communications. They operate with local friendly groups who would designate
buildings, caves, installations or vehicles that are to be hit. Besides night vision goggles,
distributed to all troops, some special forces have high technology sniper rifle scopes that are so
sensitive that they can spot a person miles away in total darkness using ambient light
amplification methods, or infrared sensors. Two approaches to precision munitions were being
1. Laser Guided Munitions
An air force specialist called forward air controllers illuminates the target with an
invisible laser. The pilot receives the information and drops the bomb, which sees the target and
steers itself with its tail fins to strike the target. Figure 34 shows a five hundred pounds Joint
Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) on its cart, showing the directional finning. The advantage of
this approach is that pilots do not need to identify the targets reducing their exposure to enemy
fire. In addition, the bombs can follow a moving target as long as it remains illuminated by the
laser. Some Special Forces troops carry a “Modular Target Identification and Acquisition” unit,
which combine a laser range finder with a laser pointer. The only flaw in its usage occurs if a
cloud of dust or smoke would absorb the laser and obscures the target from the laser beam. This
approach found its widest application in the Gulf War.
2. Global Positioning System (GPS) Munitions
A forward air controller in this case aims a laser range finder to measure the target’s
distance. Coupled with the soldier’s GPS data, the target’s coordinates are determined. Using
encrypted radio signals, the bombers crew receives the data, and the satellite-guided bomb is
programmed with the coordinates. Some devices can transmit the coordinates directly to the
bomber. Others allow the controllers to send more detailed information, including digital
photographs or videos to pilots or commanders. Once dropped, it steers itself with its fins to the
target’s coordinates. The advantage here is that it cannot be obscured by smoke or dust like in
the laser approach. The possible flaw is that if the coordinates are not correct, the bomb will
miss the target, possibly coming very close to friendly positions. This approach found its widest
application in the Afghan war. Fig. 34: Five hundred pounds Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) on its cart, showing
the directional steering and control finning. Fig. 35: Hypersonic ramjet missile.
HYPERSONIC RAMJET AND SCRAMJET MISSILES
The supersonic ramjet missile, shown in Fig. 35, and under development by the USA,
Russia, Japan, Germany, France and India, can escape being downed by conventional missiles,
and can outmaneuver slower moving aircraft as well as antiaircraft missiles. It is considered for
Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne is developing the X-2 hypersonic scramjet engine hoping
to best the X-1 engine which produced Mach 6 levels of thrust, fast enough for a flight on a
projected X-51 Waverider from New York to Tokyo of two hours.
Commercial jet engines use fast rotating fans to generate thrust. A scramjet engine has
no moving parts. A solid fuel rocket propels the aerial vehicle to Mach 5, and air is compressed
and heated as it speeds into the confined space inside the engine cavity. Fuel is injected into the
superheated air sparking a small controlled explosion that fires out of the exhaust duct and
propels the vehicle forward.
AERIAL AND SATELLITE IMAGING
Some military spy satellites are reputed to achieve a five-inch resolution. Commercial
satellites have a resolution of 1 meter like the photograph of Fig. 36 taken by the Ikonos satellite.
The Ikonos satellite orbits from the North Pole to the South Pole at a height of 423 miles and at a slight angle so that it passes in three days over every spot on Earth. The Space Imaging
Company has received a license to operate a satellite by 2005 with a half-meter resolution. Fig. 36: A one-meter resolution photograph taken by the Ikonos satellite showing a wing
under reconstruction at the Pentagon building.
During the Afghan war, the Pentagon signed an exclusive license to purchase all its
pictures of Afghanistan to prevent other parties from tracking USA operations.
The Ikonos satellite uses a telescope where the incoming light bounces between mirrors
that focus it onto a Charge Coupled Device (CCD) dense sensor array. The mirrors in the
telescope shown in Fig. 37 are perfectly polished using sophisticated diamond-cutting
technology. If the mirrors had a 100 miles diameter, the highest bump would rise less than 0.08
inch. The alignment error is measured in terms of Angstroms, the unit used for measuring the
wavelength of light. Each one of the thousands of glass pixels on the CCD device is coated with
66 thin film filters each with a thickness at the Angstrom level. Fig. 37: Telescope structure in imaging satellite.
EARTH PENETRATING BUNKER BUSTER MUNITIONS, MASSIVE ORDNANCE
PENETRATOR, MOP, GBU-57
During World War II, attacking heavily protected targets like submarine pens and
rocket facilities in Germany was a challenge to the Allied air forces. A British engineer,
Barnes Wallis, contributor to the dam busting bouncing bomb, designed a 12,000 lb weapon
designated as Tallboy; a streamlined, spin stabilized device with a terminal velocity of over
Mach 3.5 when dropped from 20,000 feet. Carrying 5,200 lbs of Torpex D1 explosive, it
made a crater 80 ft deep and 100 ft across. By 1945, another 22,000 lbs design was built
designated as the Earthquake Bomb or Grand Slam.
These weapons temporarily went out of fashion with the advent of nuclear weapons,
but they are back in production with new features such as Global Positioning System, GPS
guidance. The B61-11 penetrating nuclear bomb which was typically reserved for such
missions lost its appeal because of its radioactive as well as political fallouts complications.
Air-burst and surface-burst weapons may be inadequate to destroy very hard
underground targets since very little of their energy release actually reaches the target. An
Earth Penetrator-Weapon (EPW), by exploding underground, couples a much larger fraction
of its energy into ground motion and would be more effective than a surface burst weapon.
Ground shock is the determining factor in destroying underground targets. An EPW
can be much lighter than a surface device that would generate the same level of ground shock to a target of interest. The geology around a target affects its susceptibility to damage. If a
water table or a material interface intersects a buried structure, the resulting discontinuity in
the material properties increases the bending strains in the structural walls. Fig. 38: Earth penetrator case dug out of rock. Fig. 39: Earth penetrator thermobaric device used as bunker buster.
Penetrator cases are designed in a shape that permits it to penetrate stably into soil
and rock. They must be strong enough to withstand the bending forces from high velocity
impacts. In addition to safety and reliability requirements, the warhead for an EPW and the
fusing and firing components must withstand the very large decelerations that the case does.
Earth penetrating weapons offer advantages above surface burst devices for most
relevant figure of merit of effectiveness against buried structures.
A deep underground tunnel facility in a rocky geology poses a significant challenge
for conventional non nuclear weapons. Such a target is difficult to penetrate and the
likelyhood of damaging critical functional components deep within the facility from an
energy release near an adit or opening is low. Experience has shown that 2,000 lb penetrators carrying 500 lbs. of high explosive are relatively ineffective against tunnels, even
when skipped directly into the tunnel entrance.
Several thousand pounds of high explosives coupled to the tunnel are needed to blow
down blast doors and propagate a lethal air blast throughout a typical tunnel complex. This
can be achieved either by an accurate blast weapon situated in front of the tunnel entrance or
a penetrator that has burrowed directly into the tunnel. In both cases, the munition must be
on the order of 20,000-30,000 lbs to couple a sufficient amount of energy to the tunnel.
The penetrator requires the weight for penetration and the blast weapon requires the
weight for carrying high explosives. Optimized penetrators of this size may penetrate about
5 to 8 times farther than an existing 2,000 lb class weapon and may also be suitable for
housing a clean low yield nuclear weapon.
Using the tactic of optimal dual delivery, where a second penetrator follows
immediately behind the first, and boosting the penetrator velocity with a rocket motor, a
depth of up to 40 meters can be achieved in moderately hard rock. This sort of accuracy
could be achieved only by the use of laser guidance, GPS steered weapons would not suffice.
THE MASSIVE ORDNANCE PENETRATOR, MOP
The USA Defense Threat Reduction Agency has stepped out of its usual verification
and Weapons of Mass destgruction, WMD detection and destruction programs to fund a
project called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, MOP. It is also called “Big BLU” or
“Direct Hard Target Strike Weapon”
This 30,000 lbs weapon is approximately 31.5 in in diameter and 20.5 ft long, with
about 5,300 lbs of explosive loading. It is not the largest bomb the USA has ever built: the
44,000 pound T12 holds the title, but it could become the biggest conventional bomb ever
used. The so-called Mother Of All Bombs, MOAB GBU-43 fuel-air explosive bomb weighs
21,000 lbs. Fig. 40: Massive Ordnance Penetrator in aircraft bomb bay. Fig. 41: Replica of MOP showing its lateral and tail fins. Fig. 42: Concrete penetration of 20,000-30,000 lbs of blast, penetrator and parafoil
deployed vehicle variants of earth penetrator munitions.
Unlike the MOAB, the MOP is a GPS guided, penetrating weapon that can be carried
aboard B-52 Stratofortress or B-2 Spirit bombers platforms to defeat “a specialized set of
hard and deeply buried targets” like bunkers and tunnel facilities. The B-2 will be able to
carry 2 MOPs: one in each bay, mounted to the existing forward and aft mounting hardware.
The expectation is of over 60 ft of concrete destroyed, withthe bomb was meant to
penetrating 200 feet underground before exploding.
The Northrop Grumman Company is the B-2A prime contractor, and leads the MOP
integration effort. The Boeing Company is the prime contractor to produce the MOP, and
will also be the B-52 fleet integrator. The B-2, developed by Los Angeles, California-based
Northrop Grumman Corporation has a skin capable of evading radar and is the only USA
bomber capable of penetrating air defenses such as those believed in use by North Korea and
Iran. The B-2 bombed targets in the early days of NATO’s Kosovo air campaign and in the
Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
The MOP is approximately 20.5 feet long, with a 31.5-inch diameter and a total
weight of slightly less than 30,000 pounds. It has a hardened-steel casing that is designed to
reach targets up to 200 feet underground before exploding. The weapon will carry over
5,300 pounds of explosive material and will deliver more than 10 times the explosive power
of its predecessor, the BLU-109. Guided by Global Positioning System navigation, the MOP
has cropped wings for improved agility and storable grid fin controls that also facilitate
The MOP is designed to permit carriage inside both the USAF B-52 and B-2
Table 5: Massive Earth Penetrator, MOP Technical Specifications. Weight, total
Weight, high explosive
Guidance 13,600 kgs, about 30,000 lbs
2,700 kgs, 6,000 lbs, > 5,300 lbs
6 m, 20.5 ft
60 m, 200 ft, 5,000 psi* reinforced concrete
40 m, 125 ft, moderately hard rock,
8 m, 25 ft, 10,000 psi reinforced concrete
Boeing, Northrop Grumman
Air Force Research Laboratory's Munitions Directorate,
Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Global positioning System, GPS guidance.
Short span cropped wings for high speed stability
Lattice or trellis tails, folded forward for storage.
GPS aided INS for adverse weather guidance. Precision accuracy will be attained by using differential GPS
(DGPS) technology demonstrated on programs such as
Enhanced Differential GPS for Guidance Enhancement
(EDGE) and Miniature Munition Technology Demonstration
* psi is a rating of concrete strength
The warhead was to be a 20,000 lb. penetrator with dense metal ballast. This concept
uses the Hard Target Smart Fuze (HTSF), an accelerometer based electronic fuze which
allows control of the detonation point by layer counting, distance or time. The accelerometer
senses G loads on the bomb due to deceleration as it penetrates through to the target. The
fuze can distinguish between earth, concrete, rock and air.
FIELD ARTILLERY RADAR
A new development in warfare that could make field artillery obsolete is the use of an
array of field radars to identify the trajectory of an incoming mortar, artillery round or projectile,
and using an inverse mathematical technique to pinpoint its origination point. Using the global
positioning system (GPS), a rocket is promptly sent to within five meters of the artillery or tank
crew that fired the round, obliterating the location by day or night.
What enabled the Israelis to slip past Syria's air defenses during the September 6,
2007 raid, is a system that has been used in Iraq to detect transmissions from terrorist
communications and zap the triggering systems of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED)
detonation systems. This system is referred to as Suter. The USA-developed Suter airborne network attack system was developed by BAE
Systems and integrated into USA unmanned aerial vehicle operations by L-3
Communications. Israel has long been adept at using unmanned systems to provoke and
spoof Syrian Surface to Air Missile (SAM) systems, as far back as the Bekka Valley
engagement in 1982.
The basic elements of Suter are powerful sensors, for detecting all manner of
electronic emissions. This is coupled with fast computers, and a large database of known
emitters. The computer software quickly identifies the emitters, and potential entry points
into enemy communications networks. Suter transmitters can shut down some or all enemy
emitters, just monitor them, or inject misleading information.
USA Air Force officials will often talk about jamming, but the term now involves
increasingly sophisticated techniques such as network attack and information warfare. The
USA version of the system has been at the very least tested operationally in Iraq and
Afghanistan against insurgent communication networks. The technology allows users to
invade communications networks, see what enemy sensors see and even take over as systems
administrators so sensors can be manipulated into positions where approaching aircraft
cannot be seen. The process involves locating enemy emitters with great precision and then
directing data streams into them that can include false targets and misleading messages that
allow a number of activities including control.
The Kuwaiti newspaper Al Watan reported that USA jets provided aerial cover for
the Israeli strike aircraft during the attack on Syria. Similar statements of American
involvement were made by Egyptian officials after the 1967 and 1973 wars with Israel. The
Al Watan newspaper suggested that: “Russian experts are studying why the two state-of-theart Russian-built radar systems in Syria did not detect the Israeli jets entering Syrian
territory,” and: “Iran reportedly has asked the same question, since it is buying the same
systems and might have paid for the Syrian acquisitions.” 8.23 NEW NON-NUCLEAR THREATS
The possibility of a global nuclear war is recognized to have significantly receded. Even
the possibility of regional nuclear conflict is eliminated as long as asymmetry among the possible
opponents does not exist. Some political scientists even argue that the threat of nuclear force
conflict provides a source of stability against enlarging a local conflict. They cite as an example
the conflict about Kashmir between India and Pakistan, which are both nuclear power states.
The control of nuclear arsenals by radical factions becomes the major concern. According to
Fouad Agami: “But rest assured, America is already acting covertly to secure Pakistan’s nuclear
sites. In all likelihood, they are under USA supervision even now. And we have plans to defend
the nuclear arsenal if Pakistan is overwhelmed by political chaos. That could pull us into a
messy conflict, to be sure, but it is a risk we would bee willing to take.”
As stated by retired USA Air Force Col. John Warden, the USA is presently a
“hyperpower,” and with new technology can deliver weapons to any place at any chosen time. It
is positioned to be the world’s arbiter of last resort for the foreseeable future. This concept of
“asymmetric power,” the “hammer and anvil,” and knowing when to quit and avoid mission
creep precludes the utility and usage of nuclear weapons for power projection.
Precision weapons have taken the place of atomic weapons as the most revolutionary
development in the history of warfare. In the Second World War neither side had an asymmetric advantage until the end of the war when the Allies had air superiority over Germany, and later
the atomic bomb against Japan.
Precision weapons are extremely cost effective. A single plane nowadays with a crew of
two persons can hit up to 15 targets on a single mission. During the Second World War, to get a
90 percent kill probability of a target, 9,000 bombs had to be dropped on it requiring the use of
1,000 B-17 bombers employing a crew of 10,000 troops.
In today’s “hammer and anvil” military doctrine, bombing is the hammer, and the ground
troops are the Anvil. In the Gulf War and in the Iraq War such an approach cut the strength of
the Iraqi’s troops from 360,000 to 200,000 before the ground war even began. As suggested by
Barry Posen from MIT, such an approach places a potential enemy in a catch-22 situation. If the
enemy concentrates his troops to stand up to ground forces, air power comes down and destroys
his concentration. If the enemy disperses to avoid the bombing, then the ground forces can come
in and destroy its diluted strength.
In the new technological world new threats other than global and regional nuclear war
1. Regional Force Asymmetry.
Due to technological advance, a local power acquiring real or perceived superior
conventional or unconventional capability over its neighbors, its government, or its own
population, would be tempted to exercise its asymmetry in settling a local conflict to its
advantage. From a Game Theory perspective this is a two-dimensional game between two
opponents. The game would be settled rapidly to a stable solution to the advantage of the
superior power, which would apply from the “might makes right” concept.
If the opponents have equal strength, the game may not have a solution, and the conflict
could continue for a long time. Considering a 3 dimensional game where the hyper power would
play the arbiter’s role, the game would reach a solution depending on which side the hyper
power would lean. If the hyper power is unable or unwilling to take side with one opponent or
oscillates in its support for one side or the other, no solution would be reached, leading to a
stalemate and a prolonged conflict.
In such a three dimensional game, an interesting situation can arise, whereas an opponent
such as an unpopular local government, endeavors to portray itself as being allied with the hyper
power against its political opponents, dissenters or insurrections. In this case it would try to pull
the hyper power on its side of the conflict.
A dangerous situation can arise if one of the players can mislead the hyperpower to act
against the third player, even against its own interest. Disinformation can be used to great
advantage to convince the hyperpower to act against a local opponent. The Iraqi War is a clear
example of this case. Falsification of documents about uranium acquisition from Niger, planted
news items about meetings between Iraqi intelligence and September 11, 2001 terrorist
organizers, anthrax attacks falsely attributed to Iraq and false information about nuclear,
biological and chemical programs helped push the hyperpower to act against a player to the
advantage of the third player or coalition of players.
When more than two players are involved in the game, the system can become
multidimensional, the small players role would not significantly affect the evolution of the game
unless they form a coalition, and a solution could probably only be found only according to the
objective function of the hyper power and its favored small players. 2. Emerging or reemerging natural and manufactured pathogens.
Large populations that are not immunized are vulnerable to smallpox and antibioticresistant tuberculosis. New diseases are emerging with biotechnology providing the means to
modify and combine disease elements to tailor their effects. There are rumors about doomsday
biological weapons already developed in the Middle East by Israel that would affect only the
opponent’s genotype. The means to design, manufacture, and disperse microbes are relatively
simple, yet difficult to detect.
The World Health Organization, WHO, has been monitoring about 40 emerging
infectious diseases which have been around for only a few decades. These include: Acquired
Immune Deficiency Sydrome (AIDS), Ebola virus, Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, N
ipah, Hendra, hantavirus, Marburg virus, monkeypox, mad cow disease or Bovine Spongiform
Encephalopathy (BSE), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), West Nile Virus, Lyme
disease, Legionnaire’s disease and the cyclospora parasite.
These pathogens have either mutated or genetically recombined to become new strains or
novel microbes, or they may have existed for millennia but were only identified in recent years.
At least one new infectious disease has emerged each year since 1980, with many of them
escaping traditional therapies and having no vaccine nor cure. There are more virulent and
difficult to treat infectious diseases than there were 20-3- years ago.
Old infectious diseases once believed to be controlled such as cholera, tuberculosis,
staphylococcus, hepatitis, influenza and diphtheria are reemerging as deadly new strains that are
often drug resistant or are appearing in new regions of the world.
In April 2009, the never seen before A/H1N1 variant of the swine flu was detected in
Mexico and the USA causing the first pandemic of the 21st century. This virus replicates in the
lungs, whereas the normal flu virus does not, creating the risk of causing pneumonia. In that
regard, it bears resemblance to the 1918 Spanish flu virus pandemic that caused the death of 40100 million people.
With modern fast transportation the virus spread rapidly with 125,000 confirmed cases
and 140 deaths in 73 countries, it was declared by the WHO on June 11, 2009 as the first global
flu pandemic in 41 years. Surveillance measures were put in place measuring the facial
temperature of travelers at airports and quarantining them. Pharmaceutical companies stepped
up the production of antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu by Hoffman-LaRoche AG in Switzerland
and Relenza by Glaxo-Smith-Kline in the UK and doses of them stockpiled by governments for
use by their first responders, health organizations, police, military forces and government
officials. Schools were closed and face masks were distributed in large cities. Large public
gatherings such as sport events and concerts were cancelled. Shopping malls, restaurants and
public places were emptied.
Infectious diseases have become the leading cause of death in the world; a situation that
has not been the case since the pre-antibiotic era of the early 1990s. Of the estimated 57 million
deaths/year globally, about 15 million of them or 15/57 = 0.263 or 26 percent of them are
directly caused by infectious diseases. Millions of extra deaths are caused by the secondary
effects of infection.
Close to 200, with possibly another 1,000 out there, bacterial, viral, parasitic and fungal
pathogens have been identified as linked to emerging and reemerging infections among humans.
About 75 percent of these pathogens are zoonoses transmitted between animals and people, which makes them more problematic since it is not possible to eliminate all the animal reservoirs
or vectors that might be carrying the zoonosis. Transmission can occur through direct contact
with the infected animals blood, saliva, urine, feces or via an intermediate vector as an insect
such as fleas or rodent that carries the pathogen from the infected animal reservoir to people.
The bubonic plague or black death pandemic was transmitted by fleas and rodents as
vectors from human to human and killed tens of millions in three great waves during the middle
Many factors created by humans reside behind the occurrence and transmission of
contemporary pandemics. Feeding rendered diseased cow tissue is recognized as a cause for the
spread of BSE. People eating exotic animals caused the spread of the Ebola virus. Air travel
spreads dengue fever around the world.
3. Genetic recombination, human control of future biological forms.
New biological forms developed with the best of intentions may have possible
unintended consequences and side effects. This includes biological creations to manufacture
organs or medicines for human use, or seeds containing transplanted genes. These life forms are
ecologically untested and can cause significant ecological and human disruptions.
Changes in the environment and lifestyles are causing the emergence and spread of
disease. These include new agricultural practices and consumption of exotic animals through
genetic recombination. This occurs when two or more animal species come in contact with each
other and exchange the viruses that each carries.
When different viruses infect the same cell, the genomes get mixed and a totally new
virus emerges which contains genetic material from both the parent strains.
In north America a practice exists of feeding chicken farms feces, containing a significant
amount of feed, to other animals such as cows or swine.
This also occurs particularly through a newly practiced farming method practiced in Asia.
Birds such as ducks or chicken are kept in cages hung above pigs kept in pens directly above
water fish and shrimp ponds in which other water fowl can swim and eliminate their own waste.
Farmers save money on pigs feed and increase the yield of shrimp and fish. The pigs feed on the
ducks droppings and their own manure fertilizes the fish and shrimp ponds. This places ducks
and other waterfowl which are major reservoirs of the influenza viruses, although it does not
affect them, in direct contact with swine which may also be harboring influenza viruses. This is
how the AH1N1 influenza virus was conceived as a mixture of avian, swine and human viruses.
Migrating water fowl such as geese can them spread new strains of the virus globally.
Recombination can also occur when humans feed on exotic non domesticated animals.
For instance, in China, civet cats, coral snakes, tree shrew, flying squirrels, badgers, martens and
pangolins are considered as delicacies. In Africa, monkeys, apes, aardvarks and rats are popular.
In Central and South America guinea pigs, capybaras and armadillos are commonly consumed.
This is how HIV, the virus that causes AIDS in humans emerged. HIV is a fusion of the
simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) which infects monkeys and apes, and a similar type of
virus that infects people. SIV was transferred to humans as a result of monkeys being edaten or
their blood getting into cuts or wounds on their hunters.
4. Gained and lost control of nature. The increased understanding of weather, ocean currents and geological events such as
tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanoes for long term prediction, offers methods of
possible control of these events. The use of Tsunamis or a giant tidal wave by the destruction of
the continental shelf can be used by one nation against another, while disguising it a natural
event. Directing stellar objects from outer space against an opponent’s industrial and population
centers may also become possible. Human activities in adding greenhouse gases and ozone
depleting chemicals are affecting the global climate. Their consequences can be either beneficial
or harmful in different parts of the world in ways that may not be predictable.
Ecological changes such as deforestation, dam projects, irrigation, road construction, and
extensive agriculture lead to disease emergence. The remote wilderness areas are home to
unique microbes, parasites or viruses not found elsewhere. When humans invade these
ecosystems they encounter these life forms for the first time. Human contact with the Ebola
virus in the late 1970s occurred when humans started clearing the rain forest in Ddemocratic
Republic of Congo.
Once forests are cleared, the wildlife that used to live there has no choice than to move
the human areas ending up in suburbs and farming communities where they make contact with
people spreading any diseases they carry.
5. Cyber malfeasance
Simple intrusions and denial of service attacks by national or non-national groups can
destroy financial activities, and can cause retaliation by other means and start major conflicts.
A dark aspect of it is that the attack can be made to appear as originating from as source
other than the one effectively initiating it, so as to induce retaliation against the intended source.
This would be in line with the anthrax scare that was initiated in the U.S., which killed 5 people
and sickened 13 others. It was made to appear as coming from a dismantled Iraqi anthraxmanufacturing program, to encourage retaliation against it. Scientists at the Institute for Genetic
Research in Rockville, Maryland have noticed subtle genetic variations between two anthrax
samples, one used in Florida and the other held by a British biodefense laboratory that originally
received its sample from the USA Army laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Genetic mapping
suggested that the source of the anthrax spores used in Washington D. C. are similar to the
“Ames, Iowa Bacillus strain” that could have been procured from about a dozen laboratories that
had it at hand, and used by subcontractors in the USA.
There exist two subcategories of Cyber Space threats:
1. The physical infrastructure threat: This involves compromising critical systems to severely
affect critical infrastructures such as electrical power grids, water and sewer systems, dams,
hospitals, pipelines, communications, global positioning satellites, air traffic systems or any
networked systems, which would result in death or destruction.
2. The critical data threat: This involves the compromising of critical computer systems to
irreversibly damage or steal vital data, such as credit cards information, social security numbers,
driver licenses data, medical records, financial institutions records or secret military documents,
resulting in death destruction or catastrophic economical turmoil.
Information attacks could take different forms with increasing levels of threat to national
security: 1. Cyberhooliganism: Use of computers for digital vandalism and low- evel destruction. This
includes web sites defacement, viruses propagation or “hacktivism,” which refers to using these
tools to get a message across.
2. Cybercrime: Stealing money, credit card data, and personal information using computers. The
objective is to use these in extortion schemes or just to gain notoriety as a hacker.
3. Information Vendettas: Sabotaging an organization, creating public embarrassment or to gain
at the expense of the organization. This would be done by an insider to the organization or
would be sanctioned by an insider.
4. Cyber Organized Crime: Cartel groups and mafias using computers to steal and traffic in
commodities or money, from vulnerable sources. Some of these crimes could remain
undiscovered for long periods of time, when they remain small, yet affect large flows of the
5. Cyber Terrorism: Causing terror, death, destruction or massive economic turmoil using
computers. A non-national group would cause this, or a party not affiliated with a state.
6. Information Counter intelligence: This would be a state sponsored use of computers to gain
knowledge and possibly destroy an enemy.
7. Information Warfare: This is the most serious form of information attacks where a statesponsored use of computers can be used in military action. Examples would be to embed in
computers at the time of their assembly and manufacture, before being provided to a potential
adversary, devices that could receive a signal to disable radar systems, communications systems,
electrical utilities and transportation systems such as railroads and airlines, and causing a
collapse of a banking or financial system.
6. Blunting of Force Projection.
New technologies can emerge to counter existing air defense and air combat
technologies. These include sensors to defeat aircraft infrared countermeasures, decoys that fool
heat seeking missiles, dome optics giving aircraft missiles greater speed and range, passive radar
systems using cellular phone tower networks that can lessen the effectiveness of stealth aircraft
and antiradar missiles, visible light sensors that would lessen the effectiveness of cruise missiles,
improved infrared systems to increase the effectiveness of night operations, and stealth naval
systems, cruisers, and frigates. This would decrease the degree of force asymmetry that gives the
USA its hyper power and arbiter of last resort status. The emergence of more than a single
hyperpower can lead to instability, and to the dominance of the “might makes right” doctrine in
7. Cosmic Collisions and Stellar Invaders.
Earth has been regularly bombarded in its geological history by cosmic bodies in the
form of comets and asteroids. Depending on the sizes of these stellar objects local damage,
temporary weather and climate changes and major extinctions of species have occurred. The
most notable one is the stellar impact at the K-T geological age boundary, which is thought to
have lead to well-documented massive species extinction and the end of the age of the dinosaurs.
It is most interesting that the knowledge acquired by humanity about nuclear weapons may be its
salvation in these cases, since it would be the only alternative possessing sufficient energy
density to deflect or fragment these objects, and avert a catastrophic destruction of life on Earth. 8.24 USA’S NUCLEAR POSTURE
As the world’s hyper-power for the foreseeable future, the USA’s nuclear posture merits
careful consideration, since the largest likelihood of use of nuclear weapons could come from
this direction. The USA is the only country to use nuclear weapons; against Japan during the
Second World War. Under stressful situations, their use was contemplated by the USA in the
Korean War and in Vietnam, and by Israel against Egypt in the October 1973 War. President
Nixon raised the idea of using nuclear weapons against North Vietnam on April 25, 1972. A few
weeks before ordering a major escalation, he addressed Henry Kissinger, then his national
security adviser: “I’d rather use the nuclear bomb.” Kissinger responded: “That, I think, would
be too much.” Nixon responded: “The nuclear bomb. Does that bother you? I just want you to
think big.” He is reported to have said: “I don’t give a damn” about civilian casualties.
During the Afghanistan War, The USA Navy nearly run out of satellite and precision
guided munitions, particularly the ship-launched Tomahawk missiles and laser-guided bombs
manufactured by the Raytheon Corporation. According to Adm. Robert J. Natter, tapping Air
Force stocks saved the situation, as well as “maxing-out” an existing production line and starting
a new one. It could be envisioned that running out of “smart” munitions in a future conflict
could become an incentive for the use of nuclear weapons.
A “Nuclear Posture Review” report sent to the USA Congress in January 2002, suggested
that the Pentagon is developing plans for using nuclear weapons against countries that are
developing weapons of mass destruction. The report identifies seven such nations: China, Iran,
Iraq, Libya, DPRK (North Korea), Russia and Syria.
National security adviser Condoleezza Rice responded to questions about their use
stating: “We all want to make the use of weapons of mass destruction less likely. The way that
you do that is to send a very strong signal to anyone who might try to use weapons of mass
destruction against the United States that they’d be met with a devastating response.”
Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States has never ruled out using nuclear
weapons against a nuclear-armed enemy, a policy he said would deter any attacker: “We think it
is best for any potential adversary out there to have uncertainty in his calculus.”
Arms control experts suggest that this posture could make the USA more likely to use
such weapons. Daryl Kimball executive director of the Arms Control Association says: “By
targeting these seven countries, some of which are new targets, the USA is increasing, not
decreasing, the possibility of using nuclear weapons in its policy.” This is countered by defense
Department officials suggesting that over the next decade, it should be “far less likely” that the
USA or other countries will rely on nuclear weapons. It has been USA policy in the past not to
consider using nuclear weapons except for retaliation for a nuclear strike or in exceptional cases
The posture review included President’s Bush’s plans to slash the United States’ ready
nuclear stockpiles by about two-thirds over the next decade. Existing warheads were being
modified by the military to destroy underground bunkers and other “hardened” targets. These
include suspected underground weapons factories as well as command centers. A missile
defense system is also under development, and conventional weapons that can be used over
longer ranges and with more precision, and better intelligence. A non proliferation by product of
the policy is also proposed by Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of defense: “If we have an effective military, our allies are not going to feel that they are under any compulsion to develop
their own nuclear weapons.”
The posture review suggests that nuclear weapons would be used by the USA under three
types of situations:
1. Against targets able to withstand nuclear attack,
2. In retaliation for attack with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons,
3. In the event of surprising military developments. 8.25 SHOCK AND AWE, GAME THEORY AND LANCHESTER LAW
It is clear that the USA acquisition of the position of hyper power and its success in the
latest conflicts is based on superior knowledge and understanding of the quantitative
fundamental strategic and tactical principles of conflict and war. These include the principles of
Sun Tzu, the maxims of Napoleon, and the doctrines of Clausewitz. At some time or the other
these have been qualitatively expressed as slogans such as:
1. Divide and conquer.
2. Get there fastest with the mostest.
3. Take the high ground.
The American military was introduced to and has mastered decision theory and the
theory of games under a mathematically oriented Secretary of Defense: William Perry. One
particular aspect is the application of a theory developed by the English engineer Frederick
Lanchester. His theory is based on the study of air battles in the First World War.
Lanchester’s model of warfare considers two opposing forces shooting at each other
without any particular advantage in accuracy, weapons or force multipliers. In this case the
firepower F of a fighting force is proportional to the total number of units N1 that it can muster
F α N1 (9) The units N could be troops, airplanes, ships, tanks, etc. The number of targets T that a
force presents to its opponent to distribute its firepower resources against is also proportional to
T α N1 (10) Assuming also that the shooting from one side on the other is random with an equal
probability of scoring a hit, three important consequences of these simple assumptions can be
The strength of the force S with N units is proportional to both its firepower F and the
number of targets T it presents to its opponent’s firepower:
S α F .T
Substituting from Eqns 9 and 10 into 11, we get: (11) S α F .T = cN12 (12) where c a proportionality constant replacing the proportionality symbol.
The first consequence is that the square law in Eq. 12 reveals that the strength of a force
S is proportional to the square of its number of units N. If an army can gather twice the number
of units of its opponent, its strength is not just twice its opponent’s, but the square of two or four
times its opponent’s. It pays to go against an opponent with overwhelming force or “shock and
awe.” It pays to go with a large number of cheap units rather than a small number of expensive
units. It also pays to gather allies and “coalition partners” forces and paid mercenaries, even
without their fighting; they would draw away the fire and the losses from one’s own troops.
A constant of motion M exists that does not change as a result of the mutual fighting and
the ensuing losses on both sides. Considering the absolute value of the difference between the
square of one’s own units N1 and the opponents’ square of the number of units N2:
= ( N12 − N 2 )
M (13) The square root of M can be considered as the expected outcome O or the mean value of
the remainder number of units after the confrontation:
( N12 − N 2 ) (14) The second important consequence of Eqn. 12 is that a force with a larger number than its
opponent, can wipe out or exterminate the opponent while still being relatively intact. For
instance, if a force of six units faces a force of four units the expected outcome is according to
O= M= (62 − 42 ) = 36 − 16 = 25 = 5 The expected outcome of the confrontation is thus that the smaller force is totally wiped
out losing 100 percent of its units. On the other hand the larger force would still have 5 out of 6
units left and would have lost just: 6−5
= = 16.7 percent
of its units.
A third important consequence of this law is that it provides a way for a small force to
prevail over a force that outnumbers it. The insight is that this can be achieved by splitting the
enemy forces and dealing with their divided forces one divided group at a time; the old
qualitative maxim of divide and conquer, penetration or concentration principle. As a numerical
example, suppose that one has 20 units confronting 25 units. A head on confrontation according
to Eqn. 14 would lead to an expected outcome of: O= M = (202 − 252 ) = 400 − 625 = 225 = 15 which means that one’s inferior force would be wiped out, leaving 15 units of the opponents 25
units still intact. The opponent would have lost: 25 − 15
= = 40 percent
of his force, a significant loss, but would have totally wiped us out.
Suppose that by some stratagem, maybe exploiting a defensive posture by the opponent,
one is able to divide the opponent’s force into two groups of 15 and 10 units each. Confronting
the first group with our total force leads to the expected outcome:
O1 = M1 = (202 − 152 ) = 400 − 225 = 175 ≈ 13 which wipes out the enemy’s group of 15, and leaves 13 of one’s troops intact. These could be
used against his remaining group of 10 with expected outcome:
O2 = M2 = (132 − 102 ) = 169 − 100 = 69 ≈ 8 which means that an inferior force can totally exterminate a superior force while keeping: 8
x100 = 40 percent
of its initial force intact.
Multiple players’ games can also be envisioned. In the case of three players two
situations arise. If the three parties are shooting at each other, the situation favors the largest
force that would encourage the situation since the two other parties will be drawing fire away
from it and onto each other. Eventually the smaller force is wiped out and the field is left to the
two largest forces, which could settle their differences or continue the conflict to the detriment of
the smaller force which would eventually be wiped out.
The second situation is an alliance of convenience where the two smaller forces ally
themselves against the largest force knowing well that they would have to settle their differences
after defeating the largest force.
Examples of three or more players’ games are the Serbs, Croats and Bosnians in the old
Yugoslavia, and the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds in the partitioned Iraq. An example of two forces
allied against a third is the Western Alliance with the Soviet Union against Germany. It was a
tepid alliance of convenience and was in fact followed by the cold war where the Soviet Union
was later dismantled. In three way contests it is logically best for two players to ally themselves
against the third.
This idealized situation can be affected by force multipliers such as superior motivation,
morale, weaponry, positions, intelligence and even pure luck, but the general principles still
apply. It is well known that an army surrenders not necessarily when it is defeated, but when it thinks it is defeated. It is possible to make an army perceive defeat and surrender even it were
the superior force.
Mastering these decision and game theory notions and principles is behind the present
hyper power status of the USA, obviously for as long as its competitors have not yet grasped
them. A hyperpower dominance will eventually lead to the formation of alliances and coalitions
of those who do not want to fall under its influence, against it. This explains the eventual fall
and decay of the great empires throughout history. The alliance between France, Germany,
China and Russia, with commercial interest in Iraqi oil, in the United Nation’s Security Council
against the USA’s interest in controlling the largest known oil reserves in the world in Iraq, may
be a harbinger of future conflicts. Interestingly enough, a violation by Iraq of the NPT was used
as a pretext for its invasion and control of its oil wealth. 8.26 DISCUSSION
In the age where a single hyper power prevails nuclear weapons have become obsolete.
Their continued obsolescence depends on a continued successful implementation of the NPT. A
successful continued implementation of nuclear safeguards in the future will be hinged on two
provisions in Article VI of the NPT. The first provision calls upon the parties “… to pursue
negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the nuclear arms race at an early date
and to nuclear disarmament.” The second provision places an obligation on all parties to the
treaty to: “… facilitate and promote peaceful nuclear activities.”
Disarmament agreements between the USA and Russia have released large amounts of
fissile materials obtained from unsafe aging weapons. The USA has expressed the intention, not
yet made irrevocable; to place some of these materials under safeguards in relation to voluntary
Safeguards offer agreement. Experiments are carried out in Canadian CANDU power reactors
on burning such weapons-origin material as fuel for electricity generation. This is tested in the
form of a Mixed Oxide (MOX) of UO2 and PuO2. This approach is not conducive to
nonproliferation since the uranium in the mixed oxide is still being converted into plutonium.
Another possible approach that would decrease the possibility of proliferation is the use of a
thorium plutonium mix, a possibility worth exploring.
The General Assembly of the United Nations has called for a “cut-off agreement”
involving a non-discriminatory ban on the production of fissile material.
A Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty agreement has been signed but not ratified by the
USA. Arguments still exist about its verification measures. The treaty is complementary to the
NPT and calls for 173 non-nuclear weapons states parties to the NPT to be bound not to use any
nuclear material for the testing of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosives.
New developments in weapons and military doctrine, based on information technology
and space based systems, are in fact making nuclear weaponry obsolete and is eliminating over
time the ignominious relation between peaceful and military nuclear applications. This does not
totally eliminate the small likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons by the hyper power or any
alliances or coalitions formed against it, particularly under unforeseen conflict situations or
under conditions of extreme force asymmetry. This requires vigilance in the continued
enforcement of the safeguards and nonproliferation agreements. REFERENCES 1. E. Vergino, “Tracking the Global Spread of Advanced Technologies,” Science and
Technology Review, Livermore National Laboratory, Sep. 2001.
2. M. Fischetti, “Eye in the Sky,” Scientific American, p. 92, Feb. 2002.
3. R. Hills, “Sensing for Danger,” Science and Technology Review,” July 2001.
4. F. Agami, “The Threat of Radical Islam,” Reader’s Digest, p. 62, April, 2002.
5. H. W. Lewis, “Why Flip a Coin? The Art and Science of Good Decisions,” John Wiley
and Sons, 1997.
6. IAEA, International Atomic Energy Agency, “Against the Spread of Nuclear Weapons:
IAEA Safeguards in the 1990s,” Division of Public Information, Dec. 1993. APPENDIX I
TREATY ON THE NON-PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS,
Signed at Washington, London, and Moscow, July 1, 1968
Ratification advised by U.S. Senate, March 13, 1969
Ratified by U.S. President, November 24, 1969
U.S. ratification deposited at Washington, London, and Moscow, March 5, 1970
Proclaimed by U.S. President, March 5, 1970
Entered into force, March 5, 1970 Text of Treaty:
The States concluding this Treaty, hereinafter referred to as the "Parties to the
Considering the devastation that would be visited upon all mankind by a nuclear war
and the consequent need to make every effort to avert the danger of such a war and to take
measures to safeguard the security of peoples,
Believing that the proliferation of nuclear weapons would seriously enhance the
danger of nuclear war,
In conformity with resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly calling for
the conclusion of an agreement on the prevention of wider dissemination of nuclear weapons,
Undertaking to cooperate in facilitating the application of International Atomic
Energy Agency safeguards on peaceful nuclear activities,
Expressing their support for research, development and other efforts to further the
application, within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards
system, of the principle of safeguarding effectively the flow of source and special fissionable
materials by use of instruments and other techniques at certain strategic points,
Affirming the principle that the benefits of peaceful applications of nuclear
technology, including any technological by-products which may be derived by nuclearweapon States from the development of nuclear explosive devices, should be available for
peaceful purposes to all Parties of the Treaty, whether nuclear-weapon or non-nuclear
weapon States, Convinced that, in furtherance of this principle, all Parties to the Treaty are entitled to
participate in the fullest possible exchange of scientific information for, and to contribute
alone or in cooperation with other States to, the further development of the applications of
atomic energy for peaceful purposes,
Declaring their intention to achieve at the earliest possible date the cessation of the
nuclear arms race and to undertake effective measures in the direction of nuclear
Urging the cooperation of all States in the attainment of this objective,
Recalling the determination expressed by the Parties to the 1963 Treaty banning
nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water in its Preamble to
seek to achieve the discontinuance of all test explosions of nuclear weapons for all time and
to continue negotiations to this end,
Desiring to further the easing of international tension and the strengthening of trust
between States in order to facilitate the cessation of the manufacture of nuclear weapons, the
liquidation of all their existing stockpiles, and the elimination from national arsenals of
nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery pursuant to a Treaty on general and
complete disarmament under strict and effective international control,
Recalling that, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, States must
refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial
integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the
Purposes of the United Nations, and that the establishment and maintenance of international
peace and security are to be promoted with the least diversion for armaments of the worlds
human and economic resources,
Have agreed as follows:
Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any
recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such
weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage,
or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear
weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive
Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the
transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive
devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to
manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and
not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear
1. Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept
safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International
Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy
Agency and the Agencys safeguards system, for the exclusive purpose of verification of the
fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion
of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Procedures for the safeguards required by this article shall be followed with respect to source
or special fissionable material whether it is being produced, processed or used in any
principal nuclear facility or is outside any such facility. The safeguards required by this
article shall be applied to all source or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear
activities within the territory of such State, under its jurisdiction, or carried out under its
2. Each State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to provide:
(a) source or special fissionable material, or
(b) equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or
production of special fissionable material, to any non-nuclear-weapon State for peaceful
purposes, unless the source or special fissionable material shall be subject to the safeguards
required by this article.
3. The safeguards required by this article shall be implemented in a manner designed
to comply with article IV of this Treaty, and to avoid hampering the economic or
technological development of the Parties or international cooperation in the field of peaceful
nuclear activities, including the international exchange of nuclear material and equipment for
the processing, use or production of nuclear material for peaceful purposes in accordance
with the provisions of this article and the principle of safeguarding set forth in the Preamble
of the Treaty.
4. Non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty shall conclude agreements with the
International Atomic Energy Agency to meet the requirements of this article either
individually or together with other States in accordance with the Statute of the International
Atomic Energy Agency. Negotiation of such agreements shall commence within 180 days
from the original entry into force of this Treaty. For States depositing their instruments of
ratification or accession after the 180-day period, negotiation of such agreements shall
commence not later than the date of such deposit. Such agreements shall enter into force not
later than eighteen months after the date of initiation of negotiations.
1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all
the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for
peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this
2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate
in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological
information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do
so shall also cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international
organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful
purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with
due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.
Each party to the Treaty undertakes to take appropriate measures to ensure that, in
accordance with this Treaty, under appropriate international observation and through
appropriate international procedures, potential benefits from any peaceful applications of
nuclear explosions will be made available to non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty
on a nondiscriminatory basis and that the charge to such Parties for the explosive devices
used will be as low as possible and exclude any charge for research and development. Non- nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty shall be able to obtain such benefits, pursuant to a
special international agreement or agreements, through an appropriate international body
with adequate representation of non-nuclear-weapon States. Negotiations on this subject shall
commence as soon as possible after the Treaty enters into force. Non-nuclear-weapon States
Party to the Treaty so desiring may also obtain such benefits pursuant to bilateral agreements.
Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on
effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to
nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and
effective international control.
Nothing in this Treaty affects the right of any group of States to conclude regional
treaties in order to assure the total absence of nuclear weapons in their respective territories.
1. Any Party to the Treaty may propose amendments to this Treaty. The text of any
proposed amendment shall be submitted to the Depositary Governments which shall circulate
it to all Parties to the Treaty. Thereupon, if requested to do so by one-third or more of the
Parties to the Treaty, the Depositary Governments shall convene a conference, to which they
shall invite all the Parties to the Treaty, to consider such an amendment.
2. Any amendment to this Treaty must be approved by a majority of the votes of all
the Parties to the Treaty, including the votes of all nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty
and all other Parties which, on the date the amendment is circulated, are members of the
Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The amendment shall enter
into force for each Party that deposits its instrument of ratification of the amendment upon
the deposit of such instruments of ratification by a majority of all the Parties, including the
instruments of ratification of all nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty and all other
Parties which, on the date the amendment is circulated, are members of the Board of
Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Thereafter, it shall enter into force
for any other Party upon the deposit of its instrument of ratification of the amendment.
3. Five years after the entry into force of this Treaty, a conference of Parties to the
Treaty shall be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in order to review the operation of this Treaty
with a view to assuring that the purposes of the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty are
being realized. At intervals of five years thereafter, a majority of the Parties to the Treaty
may obtain, by submitting a proposal to this effect to the Depositary Governments, the
convening of further conferences with the same objective of reviewing the operation of the
1. This Treaty shall be open to all States for signature. Any State which does not sign
the Treaty before its entry into force in accordance with paragraph 3 of this article may
accede to it at any time.
2. This Treaty shall be subject to ratification by signatory States. Instruments of
ratification and instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Governments of the
United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which are hereby designated the Depositary
Governments. 3. This Treaty shall enter into force after its ratification by the States, the
Governments of which are designated Depositaries of the Treaty, and forty other States
signatory to this Treaty and the deposit of their instruments of ratification. For the purposes
of this Treaty, a nuclear-weapon State is one which has manufactured and exploded a nuclear
weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to January 1, 1967.
4. For States whose instruments of ratification or accession are deposited subsequent
to the entry into force of this Treaty, it shall enter into force on the date of the deposit of their
instruments of ratification or accession.
5. The Depositary Governments shall promptly inform all signatory and acceding
States of the date of each signature, the date of deposit of each instrument of ratification or of
accession, the date of the entry into force of this Treaty, and the date of receipt of any
requests for convening a conference or other notices.
6. This Treaty shall be registered by the Depositary Governments pursuant to article
102 of the Charter of the United Nations.
1. Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw
from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this
Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such
withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three
months in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it
regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.
2. Twenty-five years after the entry into force of the Treaty, a conference shall be
convened to decide whether the Treaty shall continue in force indefinitely, or shall be
extended for an additional fixed period or periods. This decision shall be taken by a majority
of the Parties to the Treaty.
This Treaty, the English, Russian, French, Spanish and Chinese texts of which are
equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the Depositary Governments. Duly
certified copies of this Treaty shall be transmitted by the Depositary Governments to the
Governments of the signatory and acceding States.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, duly authorized, have signed this
DONE in triplicate, at the cities of Washington, London and Moscow, this first day
of July one thousand nine hundred sixty-eight. ...
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