Disputed Target in the Desert

From the outset, Iraq has claimed that the nearly completed, $260 million French-built research reactor, scheduled to be activated this summer was intended only to train Iraqi scientists and technicians in nuclear technology. A facility was first discussed in 1974 by then French Premier Jacques Chirac and Iraq's Saddam Hussein. The final agreement led to the erection of the 70-MW reactor at the Tammuz nuclear center in the desert at El-Tuwaitha. It was supported by an 800-kW minireactor, separately housed and untouched by the raid, that was used for minor experiments and to prepare radioactive materials.

Italian workers at the center...

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