Earlier, it had reported that:
. . . the IAEA has learned that the original tolerances for the 81 mm tubes were set prior to 1987,and were based on physical measurements taken from a small nu mber of imported rockets in Iraq’s possession. . . .
Based on available evidence,the IAEA team has concluded that Iraq’s effor ts to
import these aluminium tubes were of centrifuges and,moreover,that
not likely to have been related to the manufacture
achieved the programme.
considerable re-design needed to use them in a revived centrifuge However,this issue will continue to be scrutinised and invest igated.
[IAEA, ’The Status of Nuclear Inspections in Iraq:An Update’, 7 March 2003 ]
The IAEA summarised these findings as follows:
There is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import aluminium tubes for use in centrifuge enrichment. Moreover,even had Iraq pursued such a plan,it wou ld have encountered practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuges out of the aluminium tubes in question.
[IAEA, ‘The Status of Nuclear Inspections in Iraq:An Update’, 7 March 2003 ]
We have heard from the ISG that they have “found no indications that the high-strength 81 mm aluminium tubes Iraq has sought since 1999 were intended as gas centrifuge rotors in a uranium enrichment programme”. The ISG has not uncovered design drawings for a gas centrifuge with an 81 mm rotor nor procurement or production of other necessary equipment, material, machinery, or centrifuge parts - such as end caps, magnetic suspension bearings, motor stators, and vacuum casings. Captured documents and interviews with Iraqi scientists and engineers have all indicated that the aluminium tubes were used to make 81 mm tactical battlefield rockets. The ISG is continuing to investigate whether there was high-level Iraqi intent to divert post-1999 tubes from the rocket programme to gas centrifuge use.
Nevertheless, there remain unanswered questions about the use of the aluminium tubes for rocket casings. There is consensus among rocket experts that steel would be a more suitable material for such casings and that the manufacturing tolerances are far more precise than would be justified for such a use. But we were informed that at least one US rocket uses casings made from the same high-strength aluminium. The tubes are of the same dimensions and material as a stockpile of well over 50,000 tubes declared by Iraq to the United Nations and the IAEA in 1996 and connected to production of Iraq’s 81 mm Nasser multiple rocket launcher (which appears to have been based on the Italian 81 mm Medusa rocket system). Iraq’s rocket production plant had, according to Iraqi records, used almost twice as many such tubes between 1989 and 1996.
The evidence we received on aluminium tubes was overwhelmingly that they were intended for rockets rather than a centrifuge. We found this convincing. Despite this, we conclude that the JIC was right to consider carefully the possibility that the tubes were evidence of a resumed nuclear programme, and that it properly reflected the doubts about the use of the tubes in the caution of its assessments. But in transferring its