Evidence Suggests that Egypt Produced Nuclear Materials
January 5, 2005
The U.N. atomic watchdog agency has found evidence of secret nuclear experiments
in Egypt that could be used in weapons programs, diplomats said Tuesday.
The diplomats said that most of the work was carried out in the 1980s
and 1990s but said the International Atomic Energy Agency also was looking
at evidence suggesting some work was performed as recently as last year.
The Egyptian government ejected claims it is or has been pursuing a weapons
program, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
"A few months ago we denied these kinds of claims and we do so again,"
Egyptian government spokesman Magdy Rady said. "Nothing about our
nuclear program is secret and there is nothing that is not known to the
But one of the diplomats said the Egyptians "tried to produce various
components of uranium" without declaring it to the IAEA, as they
were bound to under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The products
included several pounds of uranium metal and uranium tetrafluoride- a
precursor to uranium hexafluoride gas, the diplomat said on condition
Uranium metal can be processed into plutonium, while uranium hexafluoride
can be enriched into weapons-grade uranium- both for use in the core of
Sources said that
the IAEA had not made a conclusion about the scope and purpose of the
But the work appeared to have been sporadic, involved small amounts of
material and lacked a particular focus, which would indicated that the
work was not directly geared toward creating a full scale program to make
nuclear weapons, sources said.