Monday, September 22, 2008

Further nuclear inquiry needed in Syria

Gulf News report (Agencies) September 22, 2008
Further nuclear inquiry needed in Syria:
Vienna: Further inquiry may be needed into suspected nuclear sites in Syria, diplomats said on Sunday, adding however, that the results did not rule out nuclear activity.

The International Atomic Energy Agency began investigating Syria in April based on US intelligence suggesting a remote desert complex targeted by Israel was a reactor almost completed with North Korean help and designed to make plutonium for atom bombs.

Preliminary results of environmental samples did not have traces of carbon or maraging steel that would have indicated a graphite reactor, diplomats familiar with the inquiry said.

Complete results are expected in November, but they may not be conclusive either, they said.

However, Syria may have buried traces of a suspected nuclear reactor at a site bombed by Israel a year ago, diplomats said.

“This doesn't mean there was nothing there, just that the inspectors did not (or could not) search the right places," a senior diplomat, who asked for anonymity due to political sensitivities, said.

"Syria laid a big slab of concrete over it (ground where the alleged reactor stood) after digging a hole. Ideally the IAEA should be able to examine the chunks of debris but the feeling is that the Syrians may have dumped all of it down the hole.”



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