Skip to main content

UN nuclear and chemical warfare experts team up to probe Iraqi facility

UN nuclear and chemical warfare experts team up to probe Iraqi facility

United Nations nuclear and chemical experts today joined forces to inspect a facility in Iraq suspected of involvement in the country's prohibited weapons programme.

A joint International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) team flew by helicopter approximately 240 kilometres northwest of Baghdad to inspect the Sharqat EMIS Facility. "The site was originally designed to house an Electromagnetic Isotope Separation Facility (EMIS)," explained UN spokesman Hiro Ueki. "Presently, a factory operated by the Al Hadhin State Company produces concentrated nitric acid on the site."

This was the UN's first airborne operation in which a MI8-MTV heavy-load helicopter was used since inspections resumed late last year, according to the spokesman.

Also today, an UNMOVIC missile team observed a static test of an Al Samoud engine at the Al Rafah Liquid Engine Test Facility, located 130 kilometres south of Baghdad. A separate missile team went to Al Mutaseem, 90 kilometres south of Baghdad, to observe another static test, this time of an Al Uboor motor, which Mr. Ueki called "a solid propellant motor that Iraq plans to use in a ground-to-air missile system." A third missile team travelled to Basra to tag the Al Farah missiles.

In addition, an UNMOVIC biological team inspected the Department of Microbiology of the College of Medicine at Baghdad University. "The principal activity of the Department is to teach third-year medical students basic microbiology and parasitology," Mr. Ueki said. Inspectors also visited Baghdad University's College of Pharmacy and returned to the Technical Military Depot for the Air Force, which had previously been inspected on 2 January.

Meanwhile, a Mosul-based multidisciplinary team inspected the Jaber Ben Hayan State Establishment. "The company is a producer of chemical protection equipment," explained Mr. Ueki.