This page is part of the Facilities Collection.
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. 1 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 archeological 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
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- IAEA: Founded in 1957 and based in Vienna, Austria, the IAEA is an autonomous international organization in the United Nations system. The Agency’s mandate is the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, technical assistance in this area, and verification that nuclear materials and technology stay in peaceful use. Article III of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) requires non-nuclear weapon states party to the NPT to accept safeguards administered by the IAEA. The IAEA consists of three principal organs: the General Conference (of member states); the Board of Governors; and the Secretariat. For additional information, see the IAEA.
- Fissile material
- Fissile material: A type of fissionable material capable of sustaining a chain reaction by undergoing fission upon the absorption of low-energy (or thermal) neutrons. Uranium-235, Plutonium-239, and Uranium-233 are the most prominently discussed fissile materials for peaceful and nuclear weapons purposes.
- IAEA Director General, “Technical Cooperation Report for 2003,” GC(48)/INF/6, August 2004, p. 21, www.iaea.org.
- 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.
- IAEA, “Ion Beam Accelerator for Materials Development and Analysis,” IAEA-TC Project SYR/8/008, www.iaea.org.
- “Syr/1/006: Improving the Utilization of the Ion Beam Accelerator,” IAEA-TC Project Datasheet, www-tc.iaea.org.
- R. Scott Kemp, “Nuclear Proliferation with Particle Accelerators,” Science and Global Security 13, 2005, pp. 183-207.