Letter to the Editor

11 May 2004

On page 2 of the March 2004 edition of NEI (‘Europeans implicated in proliferation’), a number of references have been made to the leaking of centrifuge enrichment technology from Urenco.

The article refers to specific allegations regarding designs for uranium enrichment centrifuges held by Iran and suggests that Urenco may have supplied this information. Urenco would like to strongly affirm that they have never supplied any technology or components to Iran at any time. The article also implies that Urenco suppliers may also have been involved in supplying centrifuge technology. Urenco also strongly affirms that Urenco suppliers are in no way connected with this issue and are covered by national security arrangements.

The article also refers to A Q Khan. Khan worked for Fysisch Dynamisch Onderzoekslaboratorium (FDO) in The Netherlands from 1972. FDO was an important subcontractor for Urenco. To enable Khan to work on Urenco’s uranium centrifuge programme at Almelo, Khan was given the necessary security clearance by the Dutch government. In 1975, Khan went on holiday to Pakistan and never returned. A subsequent centrifuge programme was discovered in Pakistan, which was widely attributed to information that Khan had taken. Khan never worked directly for Urenco.

Urenco has always and continues to manage its security in strict accordance with national security regulations and procedures, which are reviewed on a regular basis. Urenco’s technology is controlled and protected by an international treaty between the governments represented in the consortium. Urenco places the highest importance on its obligations with respect to safeguards and security.

Pat Upson, executive director, corporate affairs, Urenco Ltd

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