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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

cia_65268_65268_01.txt
Subject: IRAQI NUCLEAR PROGRAMS
Not Finally Evaluated Intelligence
TO FACILITATE ELECTRONIC ACCESS, THIS DOCUMENT HAS BEEN
REFORMATTED TO ELIMINATE INFORMATION THAT DOES NOT PERTAIN
TO GULF WAR ILLNESS ISSUES OR THAT IS CLASSIFIED. A COPY OF
THIS REDACTED DOCUMENT, IN ORIGINAL FORMAT, IS AVAILABLE ON
REQUEST.
FEB 91    DIRECTOR 491746
SUBJECT: IRAQ'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM
IN NOVEMBER, THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY ISSUED THE FOLLOWING
ASSESSMENT:
-- WE BELIEVE IT WOULD TAKE IRAQ SIX MONTHS TO A YEAR--
AND PROBABLY LONGER--TO DEVELOP ONE OR TWO CRUDE NUCLEAR
EXPLOSIVE DEVICES USING SAFEGUARDED NUCLEAR MATERIAL FROM
THE START OF A CRASH PROGRAM. SUCH DEVICES WOULD BE OF
QUESTIONABLE RELIABILITY AND WOULD NOT BE DELIVERABLE BY
MISSILE OR COMBAT AIRCRAFT. (NOTE THE DISTINCTION MADE
BETWEEN NUCLEAR WEAPON--WHICH CAN BE DELIVERABLE BY TACTICAL
AIRCRAFT OR MISSILE--AND A NUCLEAR EXPLOSIVE--WHICH CAN BE
CRUDE AND BULKY. POTENTIALLY, A CRUDE NUCLEAR EXPLOSIVE
COULD BE DELIVERED BY A TRUCK OR NON-TACTICAL AIRCRAFT.)
-- IN THE ABSENCE OF A CRASH PROGRAM, WE BELIEVE IRAQ HAS
THE TECHNICAL COMPETENCE, IF COMBINED WITH CLANDESTINELY
OBTAINED TECHNOLOGY AND CONTINUED FOREIGN ASSISTANCE, TO
DEVELOP A NUCLEAR WEAPON BY THE LATE 1990S USING INDIGENOUSLY
PRODUCED FISSILE MATERIAL.
CURRENTLY, WE ASSESS IRAQ'S SHORT-TERM OPTION FOR A NUCLEAR
EXPLOSIVE CAPABILITY IS SEVERELY DAMAGED BUT NOT UNCONDITIONALLY
ELIMINATED BY OPERATION DESERT STORM. THE REACTORS AT THE TUWAITHA
NUCLEAR RESEARCH CENTER WHICH HELD THE FUELS APPLICABLE TO A CRASH
EFFORT HAVE BEEN DESTROYED. THE REACTOR FUELS, UNLESS MOVED TO
SAFETY BEFOREHAND, ARE PROBABLY BURIED OR DESTROYED. WITHOUT THIS
POTENTIAL SOURCE OF FISSILE MATERIAL FOR A CRASH EFFORT, BAGHDAD
WOULD HAVE TO RESORT TO A CLANDESTINE SOURCE OF FISSILE MATERIAL
FURTHERMORE, KEY FACILITIES AT TUWAITHA THAT
PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN USED IN A CRASH EFFORT MAY BE DAMAGED OR
ABANDONED AS A RESULT OF DESERT STORM OPERATIONS.
IN THE SHORT TERM, IRAQ MAY ATTEMPT TO SIMULATE A NUCLEAR
EXPLOSION BY UTILIZING MASSIVE QUANTITIES OF CONVENTIONAL EXPLOSIVE
MATERIALS AND/OR A RADIOACTIVE DISPERSAL DEVICE. SUCH AN IRAQI
EXPLOSIVE RADIOLOGICAL DEVICE WOULD NOT BE A MILITARILY SIGNIFICANT
WEAPON. IT WOULD CREATE NO SPECIAL BLAST EFFECT, AND IT COULD NOT
CAUSE WIDESPREAD RADIATION SICKNESS. THERE COULD, HOWEVER, BE A
SUBSTANTIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT.
RADIATION CONTAMINATION AT TUWAITHA
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE          IRT AND
ISIS REACTORS AT THE TUWAITHA NUCLEAR RESEARCH CENTER HAS PROBABLY
ONLY RESULTED IN LIMITED LOCAL RADIATION CONTAMINATION
DAMAGE AND RESEARCH REACTOR TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS, THERE
IS PROBABLY NO RADIATION CONTAMINATION OUTSIDE OF A FEW KILOMETERS
FROM TUWAITHA--ASSUMING THE FUELS WERE NOT REMOVED PRIOR TO THE
ATTACK. THE RADIATION CONTAMINATION AT TUWAITHA WOULD COME LARGELY
FROM DISPERSAL OF THE IRT REACTOR FUEL BECAUSE THE ISIS REACTOR FUEL
IS ALMOST CERTAINLY BURIED UNDER RUBBLE.
IN THE MOST SEVERE CASE--WHICH WE DON'T BELIEVE HAS OCCURRED--
THE IRT REACTOR WOULD HAVE BEEN OPERATING BEFORE THE ATTACK AND THE
FUEL AND OTHER CORE MATERIALS WOULD HAVE TAKEN A DIRECT HIT. THEN,
THROUGH A MOST UNFAVORABLE CHAIN OF EVENTS, THESE MATERIALS WOULD BE
SCATTERED AROUND TUWAITHA AND SOMEHOW FORCED TO BURN. RADIOACTIVE
PARTICLES WOULD THEN ESCAPE THE BERMED CONFINES OF TUWAITHA TO
CONTAMINATE A FEW SQUARE KILOMETERS OF AREA DOWN WIND.
ANY ADVERSE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES FROM THE BOMBING OF THE REACTOR
WOULD ALSO PROBABLY BE LIMITED TO THE AREA. IN THE WORST CASE OF
DISPERSAL OF RADIOACTIVITY JUST DESCRIBED,
ESTIMATED THAT THE RADIATION
DOSE WOULD NOT BE GREATER THAN 1 REM INTERNALLY AND 0.3 REM
EXTERNALLY AT A DISTANCE OF 100 METERS FROM THE REACTOR. WHILE SUCH
DOSES ARE NOT TRIVIAL, THE CONDITIONS REQUIRED TO CREATE SUCH
CONTAMINATION ARE NOT VERY LIKELY TO HAVE OCCURRED. IN ANY CASE, THE
POTENTIAL RADIATION RELEASED FROM THE DESTRUCTION OF THESE REACTORS
IS MINISCULE IN COMPARISON TO THE CHERNOBYL ACCIDENT.
END OF MESSAGE
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