Semi-Pilot Uranium Extraction Plant

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Last Updated: October 1, 2009
Other Name: Phosphoric Acid Purification Plant; Phosphoric Acid Unit
Location: Inshas (NE Cairo suburb)
Subordinate To: Nuclear Materials Authority (NMA) [1]
Size: Semi-pilot plant
Facility Status: Operational, failed to work as designed

Egypt built the Phosphoric Acid Purification Plant to separate uranium ore concentrate from phosphoric acid, which contains roughly 65 ppm of uranium. [2]

Egypt states that the plant, although operational, has not worked as designed for uranium recovery. [3] Problems with the separation of uranium from phosphoric acid include: 1) the removal of suspended materials (such as sand) and organic matter; 2) extraction of uranium from the acid takes place at a lower concentration than the provided acid; 3) the transported acid is somewhat hot; 4) the acid is contaminated by iron used in the reduction of uranium from U6 to U4; and 5) the small capacity of the unit is not economical. [4]

An IAEA investigation corroborated the Egyptian claims. Inspectors visited the plant in December 2004 and reported no violations of Egypt's safeguards agreement. [5]

Sources:
[1] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Arab Republic of Egypt: Report by the Director General," 14 February 2005, p. 2, www.carnegieendowment.org.
[2] Yana Feldman, Mary Beth Nikitin, and Jack Boureston, "Egyptian nuclear non-disclosures cause concern," Jane's Intelligence Review, 1 April 2005, www.janes.com; IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Arab Republic of Egypt: Report by the Director General," 14 February 2005, p. 2, www.carnegieendowment.org.
[3] "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Arab Republic of Egypt: Report by the Director General," IAEA, 14 February 2005, p. 2, www.carnegieendowment.org.
[4] "Uranium Extraction Unit," NMA PowerPoint, www.iaea.org.
[5] "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Arab Republic of Egypt: Report by the Director General," IAEA, 14 February 2005, p. 2, www.carnegieendowment.org.

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