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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq Survey Group Final Report

 

Migration of the Capabilities From the PC-3 Nuclear Weapons Project

Starting around 1992, Iraq transferred many scientists from the defunct nuclear weapon program into several Iraqi scientific establishments. We have not found clear indications of the intent behind these personnel moves, but some of the work they pursued would have inherently preserved skills that could be applied to possible future nuclear weapon work.

PC-3 was officially dissolved in March 1992. Several senior Iraqi officials stated that there was an initial program to move PC-3 personnel into matching skill centers within the MIC to sustain skills. Some personnel were also moved to the Ministry of Industry and Minerals (MIM), the Electricity Commission, and the IAEC.

PC-3 Comprised Four Main Groups

Group   Focus
1  

Gaseous Diffusion Enrichment and Centrifuge Enrichment

(Group One is later detached to become the Engineering Design Center)

2   EMIS, Chemical Enrichment, Chemical Engineering (Feed Products)
3   Administrative Support, Models, Studies, and Databases
4   Weaponization (High-Explosive Lenses and Neutron Generator Development)

Examples of Former PC-3 Scientists Migrating to New Positions by the Late 1990s

Person Position Late 1990s Pre-1991 PC-3
Dr. Khalid Ibrahim Said   Secretary Industrial Committee Former Head of Group 4
Dr. Ja’far Diya’ Ja’far Presidental Advisor Industrial Committee Former Head of PC-3
Dr. Mahdi Shaqr Al ‘Ubaydi Director General Saad Center Former Head of Group 1/EDC
Dr. Muhammad Habib   Razi State Company Formerly of Group 4
Dr. Hikmat N’aim Al-Jalu Director General Ibn Sina Formerly of Group 4
Dr. Faris Al-Samarra’i Director General Al Samud State Company Former Engineer Group 1/EDC
Dr. Dhafir Al-Azzawi Director General Al Raya Zahfal-Kabir Formerly of Group 4
Dr. ‘Abdallah Kandush IAEC International Div Head Formerly of Group 4
Dr. Fadil Al-Janabi Director   IAEC
Dr. Abd Al-Rizaq Hammudi Al-Karaguli   Ibn Sina Center Formerly of Group 2
Dr. Ahmad Abd Al-Jabbar Shanshal Director Al-Jazira Formerly of Group 2
Dr. Abdul Halim Ibrahim Al Hajjaj VP IAEC Formerly of Group 2
Dr. Thamer Mawlood Director General Al-Tahadi Formerly of Group 2
Dr. Munqith Hikmat Shawkat Al Qaisi Deputy Director General Ibn Yunis/Saad Center Formerly of Group 2
Dr. Saad Shakir Tawfiq Director General Al Khazin Center Formerly of Group 2
Dr. Faia Ali-Husayn Berqudar IAEC Formerly of Group 4
Dr. Ala Abas Director General Diwaniya Formerly of Group 2
Y.M. Al Jabouri Director General Nida Formerly of Group 3
Dr. Wadah Jamil Rauf Director Raya Center Formerly of Group 2
Ali Hussain Alwan Director General Al-Zafh Al Kabeer Formerly of Group 1/EDC
  • ‘Abd-al-Tawab ‘Abdullah Al Mullah Huwaysh, former Director of the MIC, confirmed PC-3 scientists moved into the numerous companies in the MIC including Al Razi, Al Zawrah, Al Nida, Um al-Ma’rik, Al Majd, Al-Zahf Al-Kabeer, Al Radhwan, Abu Al Rushd, Al Rayah, al Tahadi, and Ibn Sina. It was Huwaysh’s contention that skill sets dictated the placement of scientists.

A senior MIC scientist stated that scientists associated with Iraq’s pre-1991 nuclear weapons program were often transferred en masse to one of several MIC companies, including the Al-Raya Company and the Ibn Sina Company. These scientists would participate in research projects that would help them maintain their knowledge of their former nuclear weapons research. An ISG site visit to Ibn Sina corroborated such activities, including phosphoric acid purification and lanthanide separation by ion exchange and solvent extraction—processes similar to those required for uranium extraction and reprocessing techniques (see Figure 33).

The reassignment of scientists to nonnuclear projects over the years is also reflected in comments provided by IAEC Chairman Al-Janabi to ISG. Janabi claims that he asked Saddam around March 2001 to gather former IAEC scientists and researchers at the IAEC in Tuwaitha. However, Saddam told Al-Janabi not to ask for them at this time because the MIC needed these scientists for other programs.

In the immediate aftermath of Operation Desert Storm, Iraq also tried to save some of its equipment and capability from the PC-3 program as part of a denial and deception effort. In some cases, preservation of the equipment and capability may have been intended for eventual reconstitution of a nuclear program but also were used to support other nonuclear programs. The “Denial and Deception” program included the movement and/or destruction of equipment, movement of personnel, and destruction of facilities. Many actions were directly related to the degree of incrimination provided by equipment and facilities with respect to NPT violations. Table 7 indicates the deliberate destruction of some facilities by Iraq. Table 8 indicates some of the movements and actions undertaken by Iraq with respect to the uranium conversion program equipment.

  • According to Iraq’s FFCD, “An order was issued to PC-3 and EDC [Engineering Design Center] at the end of May 1991 to hand over the main equipment and non-nuclear materials (that indicate NPT violation) of the nuclear program to SAP [Security Apparatus for the Protection of Military Industrialization Establishments] for protection.… The order covered only the equipment and nonnuclear materials which indicated violations of NPT.” “The main equipment and nonnuclear materials of the nuclear program were transferred through SAP to the army from the different sites during the period May 28, 1991 until June 9, 1991.” “The purpose of the above equipment and nonnuclear materials transfer was to avoid detection by IAEA Action Team-2.”
  • Iraq’s declarations provide many examples where it salvaged equipment from sites formerly associated with its pre-1991 nuclear weapons program—a move ISG suspects was as much to conceal possible NPT violations as to preserve a reconstitution capability. Iraq’s declarations and IAEA inspections indicate that the early 1991 concealment activities resulted in some equipment being damaged or unilaterally destroyed. Ultimately, some items associated with the pre-1991 program were moved to a storage site at Ash Shaykili or utilized at several universities or state establishments.
  • In the early years of inspections, Iraq also tried to claim its Al-Athir nuclear weapons assembly site was a materials development center.

The decision to destroy or salvage equipment appeared to have a simple criterion: the degree of incrimination with respect to NPT violation by Iraq. In general, much equipment specific to a nuclear weapons program was to be destroyed, while dual-use equipment was to be salvaged. For example, Tuwaitha Building 64 was severely damaged during Operation Desert Storm. The undamaged plant equipment was salvaged and stored. The unit components that were contaminated with natural uranium were unilaterally destroyed while other general purpose components were retained for subsequent use in nonnuclear activities.

  • Another example is the equipment at Rashidiyah. Equipment directly related to the nuclear program was to be destroyed while indirectly related or general purpose equipment was moved to General Establishment for Engineering Technologies (GEET) storage. Iraq did not consider it relevant to declare these stores because Iraq considered this equipment neither nuclear nor nuclear related. Some of the equipment and materials were used in the reconstruction program while others were given to some establishments in need of the equipment.

In the early 1990s, Iraq retained residual capabilities that could support a nuclear program by adapting personnel and dual-use equipment to nonnuclear activities but display the generic capabilities applicable to their previous nuclear-related efforts.In the full accounting of program equipment, some equipment could only be accounted for as “lost.”

  • According to one high-level scientist, workers at PC-3 sites were instructed to remove materials, equipment, and documents from their workplace prior to the UN inspections in May 1991. The laboratory from the Tarmiya EMIS uranium enrichment site was used to outfit a laboratory at the University of Baghdad College of Education (Adhamiya district) where research on Freeman ion sources was continued. Other researchers at Tarmiya also built a vacuum system laboratory at Baghdad University (Jadriya district).
  • An example of “lost” equipment includes equipment at Al-Athir that was shipped for destruction. Although some boxes were destroyed by the army, the remaining boxes were returned. The items that were not found in these boxes and parts of which could not be located at the destruction sites were considered to be lost during evacuation.

 



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