Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


June 28, 2010

Please forward widely.

The Democratic Voice of Burma has published photos and other documentation from their source, Sai Thein Win, about the SPDC's nuclear ambitions. Former IAEA Director Robert Kelley has examined this evidence and concluded that the ruling generals have “a clandestine nuclear program.”

Mr. Kelley also graciously noted that the new evidence confirms what groups such as Dictator Watch have previously revealed, albeit without tangible backing.

After being asked by the IAEA on June 14th to explain itself, the SPDC responded on June 19th that it did not have such a program:

“... the allegations made by the international media against Myanmar regarding the nuclear programme are groundless and unfounded; that no activity related to uranium conversion, enrichment, reactor construction or operation has been carried out in the past, is ongoing or is planned for the future in Myanmar...”

Dictator Watch is now in a position to prove that this is a bald-faced lie. We have secured hard evidence that confirms, and from a completely different direction, that the SPDC has nuclear designs. Evidence of this has actually been piling up for years, but our new documentation makes it incontrovertible.

We have obtained lists of the 660 students who constitute 2009's Batch 9 of the SPDC's State Scholar Program to Russia, and who are enrolled at a total of 14 different universities; as well as a list of 50 more students, we suspect from Batch 8, at one of the universities.

The lists give each student's name, passport number (for one institute we even have images of their passport ID page), rank in the Burma Army (for many), area of study, and, most importantly, the SPDC project for which they are being trained and their detailed educational specialties. From Batch 9, 111 of the students, or 17%, are assigned to the "Nuclear" project. Some individuals assigned to other projects also have nuclear related specialties.

We have previously published information that the total State Scholar population, since its inception in 2001 (when Burma reached an agreement to purchase a nuclear reactor from Russia), is as high as 5,000 people. The figure for Batch 9 makes this estimate appear completely reasonable. Without doubt, hundreds and hundreds of people have been trained since 2001 for the Nuclear Project.

Some of the identified specialties are also quite revealing:

- Production of uranium
- Purification of uranium
- Nuclear power plant and installation
- Nuclear reactor control system
- Spent fuel reprocessing

Under a project called HRD, we find production of uranium metals, and zirconium cladding for enriched uranium fuel; under Computer Control, data processing in nuclear experiments; and under Rocket, fabrication of uranium plutonium mixed nitride.

While no one is openly being trained in “bomb-making,” the skills being taught in Russia would certainly prepare some of the students for the basics of atomic weapons manufacture. Also, as we have previously reported, a smaller group of Burmese students has studied in North Korea. We have further learned that teams of North Korean and Chinese experts are now in Burma, although their precise activities are unclear: The Chinese technicians may be working on conventional heavy weapons, not nuclear.

An open question is where all of the nuclear specialists are being employed. Such a large group implies that there are many different facilities in operation. It also likely means that the Nuclear Project is broader than what seems apparent from the documentation of Sai Thein Win. There clearly remains a lot of investigation to do.

Indeed, we believe a close review of the lists will enlighten technically informed readers of many elements of the SPDC's overall military modernization program. If you know the general projects, and the specific areas of study, you should be able to deduce much about what is planned if not already underway.

The projects listed include: Nuclear, HRD, Rocket, Tunnel, various computer including Super Computer, Aero, Air Base, Navy Base, Hydro, Geology, Road and Bridge, and Medical.

In light of all of this, it is an outright lie for the SPDC to say that it does not have a nuclear program. The IAEA and the International Community should reject the junta's statement and instead pursue the most vigorous steps to unveil, and counteract, its efforts to develop or otherwise obtain atomic weapons.


Moscow State Pedagogical University passports

Moscow State Pedagogical University

Moscow State University

State Technical University - MADI

Moscow Aviation Institute

Moscow Institute of Aviation Technology

Moscow Institute of Electronic Technology

Moscow State University of Railway Engineering

Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys

Moscow Power Engineering Institute

Moscow State Mining University

Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology

St. Petersburg State Marine Technical University

Moscow State University of Technology - Stankin

Moscow Institute of Electronic Technology - suspected Batch 8