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Nuclear site reportedly identified in Syria

February 24, 2011 | 8:56 am

Map of Syria showing the location of the al Kibar reactor and the three sites suspected of being functionally related.  The site near Marj as Sultan is located near Damascus. (ISIS)

Map of Syria showing the location of the al Kibar reactor and the three sites suspected of being functionally related. The site near Marj as Sultan is located near Damascus. (ISIS)

A suspected nuclear site has been identified in Syria using commercial satellite photos.

The installation is said to be a nuclear conversion plant, according to the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, which published photos of the site in a report released late Wednesday.

The report indicates that Syria’s nuclear program was much more advanced than previously thought when Israel bombed what was believed to be a nearly operational nuclear reactor in eastern Syria in 2007.

International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors in 2008 found traces of processed uranium at the al-Kibar site, which Syria denies was a nuclear installation.

The institute also published photos which show Syria attempting to disguise the activities of the site after the Israeli attack. The IAEA believes there are three other storage installations related to the bombed reactor.

According to the report, the nuclear installation in the photo was built to process uranium yellowcake into uranium tetrafluoride that could be used for the al-Kibar reactor.

The German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, in December 2010, reported that three new sites related to the one allegedly bombed by Israel in 2007 had been discovered. Syria has prevented IAEA inspectors from visiting the site since 2008.

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