Syria did build nuclear reactor, IAEA concludes

14 June 2011

The board of the International Atomic Energy Agency has found that Syria was in breach of its IAEA safeguards agreement by failing to declare the construction of a nuclear reactor at Dair Alzour, and failing to provide design information for the facility.

Director-General Yukiya Amano said: "The Agency has come to the conclusion that it is very likely that the building destroyed at the Dair Alzour site [in 2007] was a nuclear reactor which should have been declared to the Agency. This is the best assessment of the Agency, based on all the information in its possession.

"The Syrian Government was given ample time by the Agency to cooperate fully concerning the Dair Alzour site, but did not do so. Nevertheless, we had obtained enough information to draw a conclusion. I judged it appropriate to inform member states of our conclusion at this stage as it was in no-one's interest to let this situation drag on indefinitely. On 26 May, I received a letter from the Atomic Energy Commission of Syria...

"It is deeply regrettable that the facility was destroyed - allegedly by Israel - without the Agency having been given an opportunity to perform its verification role. Rather than force being used, the case should have been reported to the IAEA.

"Concerning the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor, Syria has cooperated with the Agency by providing the requested access to Homs, among other sites. Syria's statements concerning the previously unreported conversion activities at the MNSR and the origin of anthropogenic uranium particles are not inconsistent with the results of the Agency's verification activities. This matter will be addressed in the routine implementation of safeguards."

The IAEA board said it has decided to report Syria's non-compliance to all IAEA Member States and to the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations, as well as to provide to the Security Council all reports prepared by the Director General related to the issue.

The board also called upon Syria to fully implement the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA so that the Director General can provide the necessary assurances regarding both the correctness and completeness of Syria's declarations pursuant to its Safeguards Agreement.

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