Syria Received North Korean "Yellowcake" Uranium, Report Says

Syria in 2007 received approximately 45 tons of raw uranium from North Korea for use in producing fuel for a secret nuclear reactor, informed military and diplomatic sources told Kyodo News on Saturday (see GSN, Feb. 26). An Israeli air assault destroyed the undeclared reactor not long after Syria received shipment of the material and the "yellowcake" uranium is thought to have been sent to Iran in summer 2009, a Western diplomatic source said. A Middle East military source, however, says that Damascus might actually have sent the uranium back to North Korea following the Israeli attack. The incident draws attention to Pyongyang's proliferation of nuclear material and raises the question of whether Iran might enrich the received uranium, according to Kyodo. Forty-five tons of yellowcake could be converted into 196 to 287 pounds of bomb-grade uranium, according to David Albright, president of Ploughshares-funded Institute for Science and International Security. "In any case, 45 tons of yellowcake is enough for several nuclear bombs," he said.


Global Security Newswire