Jeffrey LewisIAEA Receives Pakistani Centrifuge Components, Uranium Samples

IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky confirms to Doug Frantz of the Los Angeles Times that Pakistan has provided centrifuge components and uranium samples to the IAEA

Centrifuge components and uranium samples were flown from Pakistan to Vienna and handed over to the IAEA at its main laboratory, where they will be compared with suspicious traces of enriched uranium discovered in 2003 in Iran.

Reuters has the Pakistani statement.

The components and samples will confirm whether or not HEU detected at the Natanz and Kalaye (pictured at bottom) came from contaminated centrifuge components, as Tehran claims.

IAEA DG Mohamed ElBaradei announced in November 2003 that environmental sampling revealed small amounts of Highly Enriched Uranium. [See Paul’s summary.]

Tehran said “Hey, we didn’t enrich the uranium” and blamed contaminated Pakistani equipment. The IAEA subsequently concluded this was a plausible explanation. [More Paul.]

We shall see.

For a review of Iran’s centrifuge procurement efforts, read David Albright and Corey Hinderstein, “The centrifuge connection,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 60:2 (March/April 2004) pp. 61-66.

See also:

  • ISIS Imagery Brief: Kalaye Electric, Institute for Science and International Security, March 31, 2005.

Comments

  1. Yuri Guri (History)

    So … Pakistan voluntarily chose an old, discarded centrifuge and then sent army officers as minders to observe the testing and guard the samples.

    What exactly is this going to prove? Are the centrifuges chosen actually representative? Can we be sure that they weren’t preselected to give a certain result? The Pakistanis seem pretty confident that IAEA will find exactly what they want them to. That alone raises questions, doesn’t it?

    This kind of thing really does not replace sending actual UN inspectors to Pakistan.

  2. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    The tests will allow the IAEA to determine if the HEU found in Iran at Natanz and Kalaye was from contaminated centrifuge components that Iran purchased from Pakistan, as Iran claimed.

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