Weaponisation is the conversion of these concepts into a reliable weapon. It
developing a weapon design through sophisticated science and complex
engineering design to integrate with the delivery system;
specialised equipment to cast and machine safely the nuclear core;
dedicated facilities to assemble the warheads;
facilities to rigorously test all individual components and designs;
The complexity is much greater for a weapon that can fit into a missile
warhead than for a larger Nagasaki type bomb.
programme, including the dedicated facilities and equipment for uranium
separation and enrichment, and for weapon development and production, and
removed the remaining highly enriched uranium. But Iraq retained, and retains,
many of its experienced nuclear scientists and technicians who are specialised in
the production of fissile material and weapons design. Intelligence indicates that
Iraq also retains the accompanying programme documentation and data.
19. Intelligence shows that the present Iraqi programme is almost certainly seeking
an indigenous ability to enrich uranium to the level needed for a nuclear weapon.
It indicates that the approach is based on gas centrifuge uranium enrichment, one
of the routes Iraq was following for producing fissile material before the Gulf
War. But Iraq needs certain key equipment, including gas centrifuge components
and components for the production of fissile material before a nuclear bomb
could be developed.
Gas centrifuge uranium enrichment
Uranium in the form of uranium hexafluoride is separated into its different
isotopes in rapidly spinning rotor tubes of special centrifuges. Many
hundreds or thousands of centrifuges are connected in cascades to enrich
uranium. If the lighter U235 isotope is enriched to more than 90% it can be
used in the core of a nuclear weapon.
20. Following the departure of weapons inspectors in 1998 there has been an
accumulation of intelligence indicating that Iraq is making concerted covert
efforts to acquire dual use technology and materials with nuclear applications.
Iraq's known holdings of processed uranium are under IAEA supervision. But
there is intelligence that Iraq has sought the supply of significant quantities of
uranium from Africa. Iraq has no active civil nuclear power programme or
nuclear power plants and therefore has no legitimate reason to acquire uranium.