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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Syria rebuilding nuke plant?

The New York Times reports today that Syria is rebuilding on the mysterious site that Israel destroyed in September (and that Syria later plowed under), that was apparently a nuclear plant:
The puzzling site in Syria that Israeli jets bombed in September grew more curious on Friday with the release of a satellite photograph showing new construction there that resembles the site’s former main building.


The image released Friday [pictured at top left. CiJ] came from a private company, DigitalGlobe, in Longmont, Colo. It shows a tall, square building under construction that appears to closely resemble the original structure, with the exception that the roof is vaulted instead of flat. The photo was taken from space on Wednesday.

Given the international uproar that unfolded after the bombing, “we can assume it’s not a reactor,” said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that has analyzed the Syrian site.

If international inspectors eventually get to the site, he added, they will have a more difficult time looking for nuclear evidence. “The new building,” he noted, “covers whatever remained of the destroyed one.”
I don't know why they assume that Syria wouldn't have the gall to build another nuke plant on the same site. But one thing is for sure: If they are building a nuke plant there, the IAEA led by their 'brother' ElBaradei won't find it:
Mohamed ElBaradei, who directs the atomic agency, this week told Al-Hayat, an Arabic-language newspaper based in London, that his agency wanted to inspect the site.

“So far, we have not received any information about any nuclear programs in Syria,” he said, according to a transcript posted on the newspaper’s Web site. Dr. ElBaradei said he had asked for the Syrians’ permission “to allow the agency to visit the facility and to verify that it was not nuclear.”

He added: “The Syrian brothers did not allow us to visit and inspect the location.”

While some analysts have suggested that the new building might slow down international inspectors, Dr. ElBaradei said in the interview that his agency had sensitive “technologies to assure that the location did not host a nuclear facility.”

The satellite photographs, he added, led experts to doubt “that the targeted construction” was in fact a nuclear reactor.
It's hard to hide a nuclear plant these days. Why no one can find the ones in Iran is beyond me. But I'm sure ElBaradei has the answer. Just like he has the answers for Syria.


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