The Inshas Cyclotron Facility (ICF)

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Last Updated: October 1, 2009
Other Name: Cyclotron Project; MGC-20 Cyclotron
Location: Nuclear Research Center (NRC), Inshas (NE Cairo suburb)
Subordinate To: Atomic Energy Authority (AEA)
Size: 20 MeV
Facility Status: Operational

The ICF is a multipurpose R&D facility based on the Russian MGC-20 AVF cyclotron. A Russian supplier (The NIIEFA Institute, St. Petersburg) signed a contract to supply the facility to Egypt in 1991. Financial difficulties with the supplier resulted in substantial construction delays, and the facility was finally completed in the presence of an IAEA expert in October 2000. [1] The cyclotron is a compact machine for positive ion acceleration of protons, deuterons, helions, and alpha particles up to energies of 20 MeV, and currents in the range of 200 and 50µA (microampere), for hydrogen and helium ions respectively. The ICF is used for nuclear physics training, production of isotopes for medicine and agriculture, analysis of geological samples, and research into the effects of radiation. [2]

The ICF poses no apparent proliferation concerns. According to R. Scott Kemp, particles accelerated at energies below 25 MeV are barely capable of penetrating uranium nuclei, and not capable of low-yield spallation (neutron emission). At 25 MeV and 500 A (more than the ICF's capability), Kemp estimates one would need some 250 cyclotrons with a neutron multiplying transmuter in order to create sufficient plutonium for a bomb. [3]

Sources:
[1] Physics Egypt, "Egyptian Cyclotron Commissioned," 12 May 2003, www.physicsegypt.org.
[2] Judith Perera, "Nuclear Industry of Egypt," March 2003, p. 17, www.opensource.gov.
[3] R. Scott Kemp, "Nuclear Proliferation with Particle Accelerators," Science and Global Security 13, 2005, pp. 183-207.

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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.