from IAEA Inspection Reports
Bearing on the Nuclear Weapons Component Issue
Nuclear Control Institute
October 1, 1998
According to Scott Ritter, he received human-source intelligence in the fall of 1996 indicating that Iraq possessed three sets of components for nuclear weapons, lacking only fissile material. Ritter says that, at the request of Rolf Ekeus, then head of UNSCOM, he wrote up a one-page memorandum reporting this intelligence and passed it on to the IAEA.
In its second consolidated report on nuclear inspections in Iraq, dated 7 October 1996, the IAEA reported that "in the period under review (1 April 1996 - 1 October 1996) ... [n]o indication of prohibited equipment, materials or activities was detected." (S/1996/833, p. 4)
The third consolidated report, dated 8 April 1997, covers inspections from 2 October 1996 to 31 March 1997, and concludes that "[n]o indication of prohibited equipment, materials or activities was detected during these inspections." (S/1997/297, p. 4)
The fourth consolidated report, dated 8 October 1997, is a comprehensive review of the results of inspections from 1991 to date. Among its conclusions:
"There are no indications to suggest that Iraq was successful in its attempt to produce nuclear weapons. Iraq's explanation of its progress towards the finalisation of a workable design for its nuclear weapons is considered to be consistent with the resources and time scale indicated by the available program documentation. However, no documentation or other evidence is available to show the actual status of the weapon design when the program was interrupted." (S/1997/779, p. 21)
"There are no indications of significant discrepancies between the technically coherent picture which has evolved of Iraq's past programme and the information contained in Iraq's FFCD-F issued on 7 September 1996, as supplemented by the written revisions and additions provided by Iraq since that time." (S/1997/779, p. 21)
"While no indications of the presence of further proscribed equipment or materials in Iraq have been found, the IAEA, despite its extensive inspection activities, cannot ... provide absolute assurance of the absence of readily concealable items, such as components of centrifuge machines or copies of weapon-related documentation." (S/1997/779, p. 22)
"Iraq acknowledges testing single pressed lenses but states that no cast lenses had been produced by January 1991 and thus none had been tested. Iraq claims not to have conducted four-pi tests or any test of multiple lens arrays. There is no means available to the IAEA to verify this claim." (S/1997/779, p. 59)
In a report dated 15 January 1998, IAEA discusses new information about Iraq's explosive lens design, but makes no allusion to any information indicating the existence of fabricated weapons components. The report noted that "[t]he Iraqi counterpart insisted that no decision had been made with respect to the design of the weapon internals and, as supported by other information it had earlier provided to the IAEA, that no practical experiments had been made to support any particular design concept. The Iraqi counterpart continues to maintain that, despite the increased urgency imposed by the so-called 'crash programme,' it had not yet identified design options beyond...preliminary concepts...It further maintained that no experimental programme had been established through which to validate possible options identified by computation." (S/1998/38, p. 6)
In its fifth consolidated report, dated 9 April 1998, the IAEA reported that "[t]he Agency's ongoing monitoring and verification activities carried out since October 1997 have not revealed indications of prohibited equipment or materials or of the conduct of prohibited activities." (S/1998/312, p. 10)
S/1996/833 IAEA, Second consolidated report of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency under paragraph 16 of resolution 1051 (1996), 7 October 1996.
S/1997/297 IAEA, Third consolidated report of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency under paragraph 16 of resolution 1051 (1996), 11 April 1997.
S/1997/779 IAEA, Fourth consolidated report of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency under paragraph 16 of resolution 1051 (1996), 8 October 1997.
S/1998/38 IAEA, Report on the International Atomic Energy Agency technical team visit to Iraq, 19 to 21 December 1997, 15 January 1998.
S/1998/312 IAEA, Fifth consolidated report of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency under paragraph 16 of resolution 1051 (1996), 9 April 1998.
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