Nuclear Chemistry Building

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Last Updated: October 1, 2009
Other Name: N/A
Location: Nuclear Research Center (NRC), Inshas (NE Cairo suburb)
Subordinate To: Atomic Energy Authority (AEA)
Size: Laboratories and storage area in basement
Facility Status: Operational

Research into both uranium conversion and waste management has been conducted at the Nuclear Chemistry Building located near Cairo. 

The site is the location for the following facilities:

Conversion

The Nuclear Chemistry Building is the site of experiments with uranium conversion, and also uranium and thorium reprocessing. A storage area in the basement houses 3 kg of uranium metal (some imported, some domestically produced from imported UF4), approximately 67 kg of imported UF4, approximately 9.5 kg of thorium compounds, approximately one kilogram (gross weight with cladding and containers) of unirradiated fuel rods containing uranium enriched to 10 percent U-235, and small amounts of domestically produced UO2, UO3, and UF4. [1] All of these materials are under IAEA safeguards. [2]

Egypt imported the above listed nuclear materials prior to the 1982 entry into force of its IAEA safeguards agreement, and neglected to declare them to the IAEA. Between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, scientists at the Nuclear Chemistry Building also used the materials for conversion research. [3] The IAEA cited Egypt in 2005 for its unreported experiments at the Nuclear Chemistry Building, including "failure to report on its initial inventory [of] imported UF4, imported and domestically produced uranium metal, imported thorium compounds, small quantities of domestically produced UO2, UO3 and UF4, and a number of unirradiated low enriched and natural uranium fuel rods." [4]

Waste Management

In addition to front-end fuel-cycle conversion research, Egypt also engaged in back-end fuel-cycle research at the Nuclear Chemistry Building. From 1990 to 2003, Egypt irradiated natural uranium and thorium in its ETRR-1 and ETRR-2 research reactors, and subsequently dissolved the irradiated materials in three laboratories at the Nuclear Chemistry Building. [5] Egypt asserted that none of these experiments involved separation of plutonium or U-233. In addition, Egypt claimed it did not declare the laboratories because they were only intended for medical radioisotope production. [6]

In 2004, the IAEA took samples from the three laboratories, and subsequently cited Egypt for failing to report the experiments and the resulting production and transfer of waste. [7]

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

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.