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Nuclear Analytical Laboratory

  • Location
    Der Al-Hadjar Nuclear Research Center, near Damascus
  • Type
    Nuclear-Research and Development
  • Facility Status

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This page is part of the Facilities Collection.

Aided by the IAEA, the AECS set up a nuclear analytical laboratory between 1982 and 1990. 1 The facility is equipped with a range of systems for nuclear analytical services, including atomic absorption spectrometry, X-ray fluorescence analysis, gas and liquid chromatography, fluorimetry and low-level alpha, beta and gamma counting. According to the original IAEA technical cooperation project’s goal, the laboratory was expected to provide analysis of geological samples for uranium content, among other services. 2 In 2015, Syria agreed to convert the research reactor located at Der Al-Hadjar to one fueled by low-enriched uranium (LEU) and to give up a small amount of highly enriched uranium (HEU) that was stored at the facility. 3


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.
Uranium is a metal with the atomic number 92. See entries for enriched uranium, low enriched uranium, and highly enriched uranium.
Low enriched uranium (LEU)
Low enriched uranium (LEU): Refers to uranium with a concentration of the isotope U-235 that is higher than that found in natural uranium but lower than 20% LEU (usually 3 to 5%). LEU is used as fuel for many nuclear reactor designs.
Highly enriched uranium (HEU)
Highly enriched uranium (HEU): Refers to uranium with a concentration of more than 20% of the isotope U-235. Achieved via the process of enrichment. See entry for enriched uranium.


  1. Magnus Normark, Anders Lindblad, Anders Norqvist, Bjorn Sandstrom, and Louise Waldenstrom, “Syria and WMD: Incentives and Capabilities,” FOI Swedish Defence Research Agency, June 2004, p. 54, www2.foi.se.
  2. “SYR/1/002: Nuclear Analytical Laboratory,” IAEA Technical Cooperation Projects, 1990, www-tc.iaea.org.
  3. Barbara Slavin, “Syria Agrees to Return Highly Enriched Uranium to China - Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East,” Al-Monitor, 22 April 2015, www.al-monitor.com.


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