Van de Graff Accelerator

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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: 2.5 MeV [1]
Facility Status: Operational

On 9 February 1956, Egypt signed a contract with the Soviet Union to obtain a 2.5 MeV Van De Graff Accelerator and equipment for a nuclear laboratory. [2] Egypt commissioned the Van de Graff Accelerator in 1959, making it the country's first nuclear facility. [3]

According to R. Scott Kemp, only particle accelerators that can accelerate protons to energies greater than 2 MeV, or electrons to energies greater than 16 MeV, are able to produce the necessary reactions to transmute light elements. In addition, sufficient material production requires a high current beam. [4] Therefore, a low energy accelerator unable to transmute heavy elements does not pose a proliferation risk.

[1] Judith Perera, Nuclear Industry of Egypt, March 2003, p. 16,
[2] "Egypt and Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East," Egypt State Information Service,
[3] "EAEA Landmarks," Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority website,
[4] R. Scott Kemp, "Nuclear Proliferation with Particle Accelerators," Science and Global Security, 13 September 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 2019.