Talk:Osirak

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

old comments[edit]

This article is somewhat biased as it claims that the reactor, because it was under IAEA supervision, was harmless yet the Iraqis always threatened to use it against Israel.

Gotta get used to it. Wikipedia (and most of the users) are anti-Israel. (I, however, am not.) GreatGatsby 19:53, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)

(Unrelated)If anybody disagrees with the correction I made to the part about how the aircraft avoided detection by flying close together, let me know. Raid on the Sun seems to be a pretty accurate account, but you never know. Interesting book, actually. Check it out if you get the chance. RDL-5

Naming[edit]

The spelling is muddle between Osirak and Osiraq. In pretty much all reporting I have seen it's Osirak with good search (while not perfect, indicative) showing Osirak at 113,000 and Osiraq 30,000. I am going to change spellings to what the title is and if there is any objection please raise it here -- however, consistency is key. gren グレン 05:18, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

Hmm, it is not so simple... when I read about how the name came about it said from Osiris and the spelling of Iraq. For the English it's Iraq and for the French it's Irak. The article seemed to imply that Osirak was the French seplling, which I don't believe is true (NYT has 50 results for Osirak and 3 for Osiraq)... so, I will try to make my edits accordingly but, it does seem to be more complex than I had thought. gren グレン 05:22, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

Khidir Hamza[edit]

Since the United States failed to find any evidence for the Iraqi nuclear program described by Khidir Hamza (see Iraq Survey Group), why does Wikipedia still have the February 7, 2003 quote from Khidir Hamza in the Osirak article? --JWSchmidt 04:16, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Seconded. Removed the quote, kept the summary, and added that nothing had been found in the end. David.Monniaux 07:18, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Minor point on the F-117 attack[edit]

The facility, one of Iraq's most fortified targets, was not fully destroyed until another raid, when 48 F-117s targeted the facility 7 more times for over a month as well as 17 F-111Fs weeks later.

Can someone provide a source for this? Only 55 F-117s were made, so I think it's more likely that there were 48 strikes rather than 48 aircraft. Tempshill 20:21, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Iranian attack[edit]

The Iranian attack on the site on September 30, 1980 had little success.

Wow, this attack, predating the Israeli attack, was news to me. Is there an article on the Iranian attack, or a source somewhere? It ought to be described with more than a single sentence. Tempshill 20:22, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

The earlier Iranian attack was not that big of a deal. It did no damage to the reactor. The bombs bounced off the dome and set some nearby petrol tanks on fire. The real significance of the Iranian attack is what the Israelis learned from it, that is, that they would have to dedicate on average 3 bombs per floor of the site in order to adequately penetrate and destroy. 24.193.49.117 18:04, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

What happened to the U-235?[edit]

I've never heard a satisfactory answer to the fate of the HEU supplied by France. I remember news reports stating Saddam Hussein claimed it was destroyed in the Israeli attack. But U-235 cannot be destroyed by non-nuclear means and traces of it in the desert should be easy to detect. --agr 20:27, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Suspicious paragraph[edit]

"However, the plant was under IAEA supervision and was regularly inspected, and there were also French technicians in constant attendance. The supply of HEU as fuel was carefully staggered, and used fuel had to be returned to France, making a diversion of fuel into a weapons program obvious and therefore unlikely; any noticed diversion would have meant an immediate end to further supplies. Similarly, the clandestine irradiation of uranium could not have taken place undetected; the repeated, slow, and costly changing of uranium rods would have been obvious."

This paragraph doesn't sound plausible. The article contains statements by Iraqi scientists that it "got out the immediate danger out of the way. But it created a much larger danger in the longer range", confirming that it was intended for use in a nuclear weapons program. The article also states that that losing the reactor "was a serious blow to the Iraqi nuclear program".

In other words, the paragraph, by suggesting it wasn't possible to use the plant for nuclear weapons, directly contradicts the rest of the article.

I'm removing it unless someone comes up with a source. Ken Arromdee 14:30, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

I think it is up to you to find a source that will justify removing this text (above) from the article. Many of the IAEA reports are now available online, you could start there. You seem to be suggesting that the IAEA plan would have let enriched urainium be diverted to bomb making. Does that really make sense? Their job was to do exactly what is described in the text you want to delete. If you have evidence that the IAEA was not doing this job, then share that evidence. You seem to be ready to interpret "statements by Iraqi scientists" as indicating that IAEA was not doing its job or that IAEA would not have been allowed to continue doing its job once the reactor was started up. I think you have to be careful in what you read into the quoted statements. I think the article should describe IAEA plans to monitor the fuel cycle of the reactor (hopefully preventing diversion of fuel to bombs) but also say something like, "It was feared that IAEA control over the reactor fuel might be lost, so the decision was made to destroy the reactor before fuel was loaded into the core." --JWSchmidt 15:45, 7 December 2005 (UTC)


It doesn't make sense to have quotes from Iraqi scientists describing it as a nuclear weapons program, yet simultaneously say that the reactor could not be used for nuclear weapons. These are contradictory. I don't really know enough to know how to reconcile them, but they obviously have to be reconciled somehow.
I don't think your suggested addition works, because it doesn't address the issue of the scientists. Ken Arromdee 17:29, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
I think we need to question both the sources mentioned in the article and the evidence to support the claim that the reactor could have been used to make bombs. Khidir Hamza and Imad Khadduri --JWSchmidt 05:02, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm deleting the paragraph again. It's unsourced, and it contradicts what was said by the Iraqi scientists, which *is* sourced. "Find the source yourself" isn't acceptable. I'm not required to go find a source myself before removing unsourced material, especially when it contradicts sourced material.
And if you do find a source for it, it needs to be described as a claim by a source, not as an undisputed fact, since it obviously isn't a fact. Maybe something like "Before Iraqi scientists confirmed that the reactor was used for weapons, IAEA claimed that the reactor could not be used for weapons because...." Ken Arromdee 16:17, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
It does little good for Wikipedia editors to push a single point of view that is based on highly questionable sources while mis-representing another point of view. Wikipedia must present all views. I do not understand the demand that sources must be found to support that idea that "IAEA claimed that the reactor could not be used for weapons". Nobody claimed that. The point is that the IAEA had a system for monitoring the fuel cycle. There is no reason not to include that fact in the article. You seem intent on refusing to let that important fact even be introduced into the article. --JWSchmidt 17:00, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

You seem to be saying that the IAEA wasn't a source for the claim that the reactor couldn't be used for weapons. Instead the article was itself arguing that the reactor couldn't be used for weapons and presented the IAEA's monitoring system as proof. If that's so, then you can't include the paragraph. Arguing for a conclusion is original research and is prohibited.

And if you do have some reason to believe the scientists' quotes are unreliable, please add that to the article (with appropriate sources). Ken Arromdee 04:56, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Source verification[edit]

  • "Israeli intelligence agencies confirmed to Menachem Begin Iraq's intent to use the reactor to produce weapons"
  • "It is now known that during the strike preparations, the important question that affected its timing was the estimated time in which the reactor would become "live" and a strike would cause radiation fallout on nearby civilians - that date was assumed to be just a few weeks later. The original plan called for a strike several months earlier."
  • "The loss of the reactor was a serious blow to the Iraqi nuclear program."
  • "When tensions in the Persian Gulf flared up in September 1990, following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the Iraqi government made efforts to recover components from the site. During the Gulf War several months later, the Iraqi nuclear program was put into high gear in order to create a weapon by using radioactive fuel. The site was then targeted by Coalition forces on January 17, 1991, halting the weapons program."

What is a source(s) to support these statements?

increasing the country's involvement [1]
Is this http://cns.miis.edu/ website still working?

--JWSchmidt 18:43, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

The reason I removed the paragraph was not just that it was unsourced but that it contradicted statements that *were* sourced.
If you want to take out statements like "The loss of the reactor was a serious blow to the Iraqi nuclear program" because they contradict the sources too, feel free. However, if they contradict one source but are supported by another, there's a problem--it'd be better to include the statements and refer to both sources. Ken Arromdee 22:34, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
It would not surprise me that, "The loss of the reactor was a serious blow to the Iraqi nuclear program," is true. I just want to find the best available source to support the claim. I can again access http://cns.miis.edu/. --JWSchmidt 22:58, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Power station or research reactor[edit]

I've changed the category. There's no evidence it was a power station, and it seems extremely unlikely. It seems to have been a research reactor. Andrewa 05:42, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Uranium[edit]

According to the german wiki the used uranium was supposed to be shipped back to France once removed from the reactor. Does anyone have information about that? Nevfennas 10:49, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Date Links need cleaned up[edit]

Currently, the year portion of the dates in this article are in a seperate link from the rest of the date. Jon 14:14, 7 June 2006 (UTC)


"Gotta get used to it. Wikipedia (and most of the users) are anti-Israel."

I doubt that somehow. Most probably dont care either way and just take what they read in the press. However in the face of a typically pro israel media its good to see some alternate positions to the " white western people and jews are good and democratic and can have a nuclear capability and do whatever the hell they want - everyone else = corrupt terrorist comunist crazy bad". Oh and only Americans can sell dangerous highly expensive profitable stuff to foreign powers in exchange for cheap oil not those terrible French.

  • Ummm, except for the fact that one F-14 without replacement parts is no where near as bad as a nuclear reactor that could easily be used to make nuclear weapon materials. Especially to a potential enemy. Whereas the USA will usually only sell to people we are currently friendly with (even though some of those went enemy later). Ergzay 03:01, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Neutrality[edit]

I suggest that a "the neutrality of this article has been questioned" to this page. It seems that the general opinion of the article is against the bombing, when in fact that is just the "public opinions" of the politicians. Many of them were quite happy about this, INCLUDING the french prime minister, Chirac, among others. Now I was just watching a Military Channel one hour documentary on the Israeli strike, while I realize this is going to be skewed in the other direction, it seems of a vastly different opinion than this page. One question I have is, why are we taking the opinion of a physicist about this issue, why would he know anything about it, even if he had visited the site. I see attempts at the page of neutrality but it still seems these are just stick-ins to try and make it look neutral. There are no arguments FOR the destruction of the reactor. Of interesting note is how the show says that Suddam had already started the building of a facility to convert the spent nuclear fuel into plutonium. The show notes how most politicians were against it publicly but widely for it privately. If any want to see this it is going to be on military channel again on the 25th Thursday. The show is titled "Raid on the Reactor." The page might also note that when the strike was done it was done purposely on a Sunday when most of the french scientists were off duty and also how the nuclear fuel supply was undamaged so as to not spread it all over and irradiate the site. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ergzay (talkcontribs) 09:10, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Reactor power level[edit]

I've reverted a recent edit. The article now shows that the reactor was 40 MW. I've seen academic sources in support of both 70 and 40 MW, but I think the consensus is that the Israeli's overestimated the reactor's power level. I have sources if anyone objects to this change. Dchall1 (talk) 05:32, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Shouldn't you just include the sources anyways, regardless of what you're changing, whether people object to your changes or not? Put them in. -- Vedexent (talk) - 18:55, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Better yet, as you've " seen academic sources in support of both 70 and 40 MW", mention the fact that there is disagreement as to the reactor design's possible output, and put references for both views in, plus references for the "consensus ... that the Israeli's overestimated the reactor's power level" (consensus implies more than one person agrees to this, so that shouldn't be hard). -- Vedexent (talk) - 18:57, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Reactor design, plutonium production, factual & neutrality issues[edit]

The materials test reactor (MTR) was a French design of a type called Osiris [...note this is not sourced...] Despite Iraqi claims that the plant was for peaceful use, it was an unusual choice — an MTR design is useful for countries with established nuclear reactor construction programs, being used to test and analyse the effects of neutron flux upon metals used in reactor components. However, MTR is not particularly useful to countries which have no established reactor programs, unless they are interested in transmuting U238 to Pu239 to make a bomb, via the high neutron flux characteristic of an MTR.5

However, 5 does not exactly say that; just that Osiraq could "conceivably supply" weapons-grade material by "the irradiation of targets of natural or depleted uranium inside the reactor." By contrast, according to Harvard physicist Richard Wilson, in a paper presented to the World Federation of Scientists,

The nuclear research reactor OSIRAK was NOT like the DIMONA reactor, which was a heavy water cooled reactor and a near copy of the French OSIRIS reactor but was a light water cooled reactor explicitly designed to be unsuited for making plutonium.(7) This view was held by many authorities.(8) (9) (10) Jafar had written a report on the subject which confirms this view(11). I was convinced when I visited the bombed reactor in 1982(12). This point should not be a matter of dispute for any nuclear physicist or engineer who can easily do the calculations for him(her)self. Indeed, I know of no calculation, accurate or otherwise, that claims differently.

7. Yves Girard, "Un neutron entre les Dents" (1997) Editions Rives Droite, Paris, France. Girard explained this point in more detail to Paul Lochak and myself at a private dinner on 1995
8. Report to UN Security Council by Dr Ecklund, Director-General of IAEA. 19th June 1981
9. Paper by Dr Gruemm, IAEA Bulletin, December 1981
10. Testimony in US Congress by Dr Herbert Koutz and Dr Eugene Weinstock, nuclear proliferation experts from Brookhaven National Laboratory July 1981
11. Jafar D Jafar and Imad Khaddouri "The possible production of Pu239 from the IRT 2000 (OSIRAK) reactor" Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission report October 1978 made public in 1983
12. Richard Wilson "A visit to the bombed nuclear reactor at Tuwaitha, Iraq," Nature, 302, March 31, 1983

http://www.physics.harvard.edu/~wilson/publications/OSIRAK(2)#N_7_
<eleland/talkedits> 15:15, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

At the graduation of Yeshiva University in 1982, Senator Mark Hatfield, not particularly known for his support of Israel, was the speaker. He said he was interested in why the condemnation was so light, and did further research. The part I remember was that he asked the Library of Congress what a country like Iraq would use a reactor like that for, and they said, basically, "a bomb". This is all OR (I attended thay year, which was the year prior to my graduation), but perhaps there are published accounts of that address. P.S. Was it called Tammuz 1 or Tammuz 17? Mzk1 (talk) 15:17, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Jordan[edit]

"The strike force flew 680 miles (1,100 km) across Jordan, Saudi Arabia and into Iraq to bomb the target". Did they fly over Jordan? The map seems to show that they specifically went out of their way to avoid Jordan... probably because they were at war with Jordan at the time. Any confirmation with this? gren グレン 05:07, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Inspection by Dr. Richard Wilson[edit]

I added back the reference to the inspection by Richard Wilson in 1983. This was deleted by Jkp1187, who said "Removing questionable reference to Nature magazine. Cite to the magazine itself (if you've checked it), not to a secondary source." Point taken, so I removed the reference to Nature and just cited the book it came from. My original intent was to balance out the uncited claim that the strike was a "serious blow to the Iraqi nuclear program". Since my sentence is backed up by someone's published research, I believe it is valid and should remain. Zatoichi26 (talk) 01:12, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

A published book is better. Thanks. Did Wilson publish his findings in a report someplace? Would much prefer to cite to that if possible. Jkp1187 (talk) 23:19, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for long delay in responding. Chomsky's book says the report was published in the journal Science, however I don't have access to it.Zatoichi26 (talk) 18:43, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Oops - Make that "Nature", not "Science". Zatoichi26 (talk) 18:43, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Never inaugurated[edit]

The article writes:"Osirak, also spelled Osiraq, (French: Osirak; Iraqi: Tammuz 1, اوسیراک), was a 40 MW light-water nuclear materials testing reactor (MTR) in Iraq. It was constructed by the Iraqi government at the Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center, 18 km (11 miles) south-east of Baghdad in 1977. " Well, this reactor never was really inaugurated.The construction begans in 1977?Reading the article I think so.201.8.242.50 (talk) 01:46, 27 April 2009 (UTC)agre22

Merge proposal: Operation Opera to Osirak article[edit]

Both articles are pretty much on the same subject, and duplicate most information (aftermath, debate over Osirak's capabilities, etc.). I suggest merging them. Alternatively, wiki can prune both articles (e.g. leave discussion of Osirak's capabilities in the Osirak article and discussion of Opera's aftermath at the Opera article?), but these are IMHO so intertwined I feel a merge is more appropriate. 79.176.8.207 (talk) 04:49, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Having duplicated essentially all necessary information from the Osirak article, and added it to this article, I definitely think a merge should be made. Shoplifter (talk) 07:32, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

I've duplicated the sourced content merged the articles. Shoplifter (talk) 16:53, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Excellent. I'd rather have had the merge in the opposite direction, but it's your call as you did the work... 79.176.35.39 (talk) 08:30, 14 December 2010 (UTC)