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U.N.: Site similar to nuclear reactor

WASHINGTON — A Syrian facility that Israel bombed last year had similarities to a nuclear reactor, and chemically processed uranium particles were found at the site, but a final determination can't be made until Syria provides "the necessary transparency," a United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency report said Wednesday.

A separate report from the agency said an investigation into Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program is deadlocked. Iran continues to defy U.N. Security Council demands to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for nuclear weapons.

Satellite imagery from the Syrian location near Dair Alzour suggests that the construction site "appears to have been similar" to the layout of a nuclear reactor, the report said. Syria denies having a nuclear program.

The reports served as stark reminders of one of the thorniest security issues that will confront President-elect Barack Obama — global nuclear proliferation, particularly Iran's refusal to suspend the uranium enrichment program that it kept secret for 18 years.

Iran says it's legally producing low-enriched uranium fuel for power reactors; U.S. and other Western officials contend that Tehran is pursuing the capability to make highly enriched uranium used in the explosive cores of nuclear bombs.

Iran has refused to halt its enrichment program, despite being hit with three rounds of U.N. economic sanctions and punitive measures by the United States and the European Union.

U.N.: Site similar to nuclear reactor 11/19/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 10:01am]
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