Der Al-Hadjar Nuclear Research Center

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Last Updated: March 1, 2011
Other Name: Dayr al Hajar; [1] Dahr el Hajar; SAEC Research Centre
Location: 140km north of Damascus [2]
Subordinate To: Atomic Energy Commission of Syria (AECS)
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: Operational

Constructed in the early 1990s, the Der Al-Hadjar Nuclear Research Center houses Syria's only research reactor, the Chinese-supplied SRR-1 Miniature Neutron Source Reactor.[3] The bulk of Syria's nuclear-related work takes place at the Center.[4] Research includes nuclear physics and chemistry; use of radiation and radioisotopes in medicine, agriculture, biology, and geology; exploration of radioactive ores; management and procedures for the use of radioactive resources; protection from radiation; and the effects of radiation on humans and the environment.[5] The facility is subject to IAEA inspections under Syria's safeguards agreement with the IAEA.[6] In 2008 and 2009, environmental samples taken by the IAEA revealed particles of processed natural uranium that were not in Syria's declared inventory. [7] Syrian officials later acknowledged performing experiments irradiating uranyl nitrate at the SRR-1. After inspecting the source of the uranium particles at the phosphoric acid pilot plant in Homs and revisiting the SRR-1, the IAEA found that Syria's declarations were consistent and reverted to the "routine implementation of safeguards" at Der Al-Hadjar. [8]

[1] "Syria: Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, CIA,1 January through 30 June 2002," April 2003,
[2] Anthony H. Cordesman, "Syrian weapons of mass destruction," Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2 June 2008, p. 16,
[3] A. George, "Syria Takes Delivery of Its Chinese Reactor," Nuclear Engineering International12/93, 1 December 1993, pp. 46-47.
[4] M.E. Eads, International Research Centers Directory, 11 ed., 1999, p. 326.
[5] Robin Hughes, "Country Briefing: Syria - Syria's Dilemma," Jane's Defense Weekly, 7 September 2005,
[6] Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the shadow of Iran, ed. Mark Fitzpatrick (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008), p. 78.
[7] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2009/56, 28 August 2009,
[8] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2011/30, 24 May 2011,

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