Ion Beam Accelerator Facility

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Last Updated: March 1, 2011
Other Name: 3.0 MV Tandetron Accelerator Facility [1]
Location: Der Al-Hadjar Nuclear Research Center, near Damascus
Subordinate To: Atomic Energy Commission of Syria (AECS)
Size: 3.0 MV
Facility Status: Operational

In 1997, Syria approached the IAEA and received approval for the construction of an ion beam accelerator, which was installed and commissioned in September 2005. [2] The facility improves Syria's ability to develop semiconductors and alloys through ion implantation. Syria solely financed the project at a price of approximately $1 million. [3] IAEA technical cooperation has continued on the accelerator, including equipment and training to perform archaeological analyses of historical objects in Syria. [4]

The accelerator's proliferation risk appears low. According to Princeton physicist R. Scott Kemp, assuming a 5 MeV beam and a 100 mA (milliampere) current (which is more powerful than Syria's accelerator), some 50 tandem accelerators would be required to produce enough fissile material for a bomb in two years. [5]

Sources:
[1] IAEA Director General, "Technical Cooperation Report for 2003," GC(48)/INF/6, August 2004, p. 21, www.iaea.org.
[2] IAEA, "Ion Beam Accelerator for Materials Development and Analysis," IAEA-TC Project SYR/8/008, www.iaea.org; IAEA Director General, "Technical Cooperation Report for 2003," GC(48)/INF/6, August 2004, p. 21.
[3] IAEA, "Ion Beam Accelerator for Materials Development and Analysis," IAEA-TC Project SYR/8/008, www.iaea.org.
[4] "Syr/1/006: Improving the Utilization of the Ion Beam Accelerator," IAEA-TC Project Datasheet, www-tc.iaea.org.
[5] R. Scott Kemp, "Nuclear Proliferation with Particle Accelerators," Science and Global Security 13, 2005, pp. 183-207.

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