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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq Survey Group Final Report


Rotating Machinery Department

ISG has not been able to find evidence to show that the machine tools ordered in 2002 by a new department in MIC’s Saad Company called the Rotating Machinery Department were intended for a renewed centrifuge program, and available information suggests that the equipment was not capable of supporting such work. The equipment sought included machines for rotary balancing and spin testing, as well as a milling machine and a lathe.

  • Such machines can be used to balance equipment such as turbines, pumps, and compressors. They are also applicable to developing skills useful for centrifuge design and testing. Iraq’s pre-1991 nuclear program used rotary balancing machines, a technology used widely in industrial applications, in development of centrifuges for enrichment of uranium.
  • The Ibn Younis Center, part of the MIC’s Saad Company, formed the new Rotating Machine Department in mid-2002. The department was small—only four engineers—when it was set up. The intention was to establish a profit center to perform repair and maintenance work on the many compressors, turbines, and other rotating machines in Iraqi industry.

In mid-2002, Dr. Khalid Ibrahim Sa’id, a former PC-3 scientist, asked about the capability of the balancing machine ordered for the newly formed Rotating Machinery Department. ISG has received conflicting information as to whether the inquiry shows interest in its potential use for a centrifuge program or was an attempt to ensure that the equipment did not violate provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1051, Annex 3 of the Ongoing Monitoring and Verification Plan.

  • Dr. Sa’id, a high-ranking Baathist and Secretary of the Industrial Committee at the time, asked the Director General of Ibn Younis Center whether the equipment being sought would violate the provisions of Annex 3.The Director General asked engineers in the Rotating Machinery Department whether the equipment could be used for centrifuges. The response from the engineers was “no” because the equipment did not meet the specifications required for centrifuge use.
  • The Ibn Younis director, however, reported that Sa’id’s involvement stemmed from his role as the secretary of the Industrial Committee, which gave him responsibility for allocations of foreign currency for procurements. MIC Deputy Director Dagher sought non-MIC currency allocations for the Department of Rotating Machinery purchases, and Sa’id reportedly selected un-used IAEC funds for these purchases. Huwaysh told ISG that it would make no sense for the IAEC to have used its budget to buy equipment for the MIC.
  • Al ‘Ubaydi stated in an interview that he was sufficiently curious about Sa’id’s interest to press a friend, a former engineer in the pre-1991 centrifuge enrichment program and member of the Rotating Machinery Department, for information on potential inquiries he may have received concerning the reconstitution of a centrifuge program.

The purchase by the Rotating Machinery Department machinery used purchasing channels that were not the norm—adding to the suspicion surrounding the order. The MIC, of which the Rotating Machinery Department was part, had its own purchasing procedures. The order for the machines was placed using IAEC resources for the purchase—a procedure that would be outside the normal MIC purchasing procedures. ISG has not discovered the reason for the alternate purchasing arrangement.

  • Huwaysh told ISG that it would make no sense for the IAEC to have used its budget to buy equipment for the MIC.

The Rotating Machinery Department also sought a balancing machine, which, at the minimum, would have helped Iraq maintain important skills that could have been applied to a renewed centrifuge program. It is not clear whether this machine could balance centrifuge rotors, given that the machine specifications called for balancing much heaver components, up to 500 kgs. The balancing machine that was ordered by the Ibn Younis Center for the Rotating Machinery Department was never received.

Balancing machines were purchased by at least two other organizations in the MIC—which Iraq declared to the IAEA as not being covered by
Annex 3 (see Table 6)

  • The Specialized Institute for Engineering Industries (SIEI) purchased a vertical-type balancing machine with a maximum balancing speed of 1,200 rpm. This is an engineering support company that provides resources for the engineering and industrial sector.
  • The Factory for the Repair of Jet Engines (FRJE) purchased a vertical-type balancing machine with a maximum balancing speed of 4,000 rpm. The mission of FRJE is to repair various types of jet engines used in the Iraqi Air Force (see Figure 14).


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