We Build Underground Bomb Shelters

Report Reveals How Syria Concealed Nuclear Reactor

US experts to issue report detailing methods employed by Damascus to hide reactor eventually bombed by Israel, warn it may be more difficult than previously thought to secure intel on similar operations in other countries

Yitzhak Benhorin

American nuclear experts briefed by governmental officials are expected to issue a report detailing the tactics employed by Syria to conceal the existence of the nuclear reactor eventually bombed by Israel in September of last year, the Washington Post reported.

The researchers for the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) divulge how Syrian engineers attempted to hide cooling and ventilation systems, power lines and other features usually identifying a nuclear plant.

According to the Post, the authors of the report, David Albright and Paul Brannan, went on to note the difficulties the world now faces in identifying nuclear operations in countries seeking to conceal their plans.

The report discusses how the main building was designed to appear small and short from an aerial view, but in fact housed large underground chambers large enough to contain the reactor, a reserve water-storage tank and pools for spent fuel rods.

A wide-spread electrical network was apparently buried in trenches stretching across the terrain. Water-cooling towers were rigged with an underground system that allowed them to dispose waste into the Euphrates River.

Instead of using traditional ventilation towers prominent in many reactor sites, the ventilation system was probably built along the walls of the building, with side openings not visible from the air.

Albright, a former UN nuclear inspector who worked in Iraq, said the data for the team's research consisted not only of aerial photographs but also on information provided by officials within the US government.

In light of these findings, the report warns, domestic and international capabilities to detect such nuclear plants may prove insufficient in the future.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, said last week that his agency would either confirm or refute the claim that the Syrian facility was indeed a nuclear reactor within the coming weeks.