U.N. Nuclear Agency to Study Claims of Secret Syrian Reactor

Posted Apr 26, 2008 by Owen Weldon
On Friday the nuclear watchdog for the United Nations made a pledge to investigate whether Syria had quietly built an atomic reactor with the help from North Korea.
Map of Syria. Image:
Map of Syria. Image:
On Thursday the United States released information about Syria and said that the reactor that Syria built was almost "nearing operational capability" and this comes a month before Israeli warplanes bombed it back in September.
The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, said that he and his inspectors should have inspected the site before Israel decided to bomb it and for that he criticized Israel for the bombing.
ElBaradei also said that the United States allegations against Syria would have been looked into right away and with due vigor. He said that the bombing of the site undermined the process of verification.
Syria has obviously denied the charges and even accused the United States of being involved in the Israeli attack.
ElBaradei said that the U.S. failed to share intelligence information in a timely matter but did say that Washington did disclose information about the reactor that was destroyed by an Israeli attack back in September.
Sources and analysts say that just because America disclosed information it does not mean it was true because the disclosure did not amount to proof of a program involving nuclear arms. Sources also say that there was no signs of a reprocessing plant that is needed to convert spent fuel from the plant into bomb-grade plutonium.
The Bush administration is being accused of delaying the information because if the information was released earlier than it might have prompt Syria to retaliate against Israel.
Syria says it has nothing to hide and therefore it will cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency investigation.
Pascale Andréani is a French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman and she says that Syria needs to come clean about its nuclear activities both past and present. She says that Syria needs to act in accordance with its international obligations.
Since 1963 Syria has belonged to the atomic energy agency which is made up of 144 nations and Syria has one declared small research reactor subject to United Nations inspection.
As of now the United States is convinced that North Korea played a part in helping Syria build a clandestine nuclear reactor. North Korea also tested a nuclear device back in 2006.