Skip to comments.'Khan network supplied N-parts made in Europe, Southeast Asia' wot
Posted on 10/14/2004 7:48:29 PM PDT by Perdogg
A large number of sensitive nuclear components sold to Iran and Libya for building uranium enrichment plants were made at workshops in Europe and Southeast Asia, says a Washington-based nuclear monitoring agency.
In a recent report on the nuclear black market, the Institute for Science and International Security confirms Pakistan's claim that the network might have been headed by a Pakistani, Dr A.Q. Khan, but it was a gang of international proliferators and smugglers that had bases and workshops at many places across the globe.
The ISIS report says that the centrifuges the network sold to Iran and Libya are formally called Pakistan 1 and Pakistan 2 but are better known by their acronyms, P1 and P2.
They are used for uranium enrichment and were deployed in large numbers by Pakistan's gas centrifuge programme. The P1 centrifuge uses an aluminium rotor, and the P2 centrifuge uses a steel rotor.
The components for roughly 500 P1 centrifuges that went to Iran in the mid-90s were from centrifuges that Pakistan had retired from its main centrifuge programme. Members of the network were able to remove them in secret and sell them to Iran.
Libya received 20 of its P1s in that manner. Libya also bought about 200 P1 centrifuges from the wider network. At least some, if not all, of the components of the additional 200 P1s were made outside Pakistan at workshops under contract with companies in the network. Aluminium rotors, for example, were made in Malaysia.
The P2 centrifuges, which are more advanced machines, reportedly left Pakistan in much smaller numbers. The two that were sent to Libya, for example, were samples or demonstration models. One of the P2s that went to Libya was not suitable for enrichment with uranium hexafluoride gas. It did not have the final surface coating necessary to prevent corrosion by uranium hexafluoride gas.
In the case of Libya, the network focused on making P2 components outside Pakistan. The Libyans have told US investigators that they placed an order for 10,000 P2 machines. Since each centrifuge has roughly 100 different components, this order translates into a total of about one million components, a staggering number of parts given the sophistication of gas centrifuge components. The network was assembling an impressive cast of experts, companies, suppliers and workshops to make all these components.
The workshops that contracted to make components for the network typically imported the necessary items, such as metals, equipment or subcomponents. After they made the item, they would then send it - either assembled or as a finished centrifuge component - to Dubai under a false end-user certificate. Then it would be repackaged and sent off to Libya.
The ISIS report quotes Mohamed EIBaradei, Director General of the IAEA, as saying that "nuclear components designed in one country could be manufactured in another, shipped through a third, assembled in a fourth, and designated for eventual turn-key use in a fifth."
We and British investigators allowed inspecting Libya's nuclear plant identified roughly half a dozen key workshops that were making or doing final assembly of the centrifuge components. The network selected a workshop based on the type of centrifuge component needed and the materials and equipment involved in making those particular components.
The most well-known workshop was located in Malaysia at a company called SCOPE. The parts seized on a German ship, BBC China, in Italy last year, were from SCOPE. US State Department spokesman Adam Ariel told reporters earlier this year that the ship had been en route to Libya but was diverted to an Italian port so that US investigators could seize the content.
SCOPE was also near the company that made the aluminium rotors for the 200 P1 centrifuges that Libya imported from the network.
The network contracted with SCOPE to make thousands of 14 different high precision aluminium centrifuge components for Libya's order. The contract with SCOPE involved up to about 15 per cent of the total number of components sought by the network for Libya.
Workshops in Turkey made the centrifuge motor and frequency converters used to drive the motor and spin the rotor to high speeds. These workshops imported sub components from Europe and elsewhere, and they assembled these centrifuge items in Turkey. Under false end-user certificates, the components were then shipped to Dubai for repackaging and shipment to Libya.
SCOPE did not make the P2 centrifuges' maraging steel parts, which comprise the bulk of the rotating components in a centrifuge and are more difficult to make than the aluminium parts. It has not yet been determined which workshop, if any, was contracted to make the sensitive steel rotor and bellows. The network appears to have experienced trouble in finding a workshop to make these components.
Libya also ordered from the network a sophisticated manufacturing centre, code-named Workshop 1001, to make centrifuge components. The original plan called for this centre to make additional centrifuges after the network delivered the first 10,000 centrifuges, either to replace broken ones or add to the total number of centrifuges. However, if the network had difficulty in making a component for the original 10,000 machines, this centre may have had to make that particular component.