Russia's Foreign Ministry called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to urgently assess the risk as the United States considers a punitive military strike in Syria over an alleged poison gas attack in its civil war. In a statement to an IAEA board meeting on Monday, US Ambassador Joseph Macmanus said: "It is our view that requests for comprehensive risk analyses of hypothetical scenarios are beyond the IAEA's statutory authority."
“The IAEA will have to review such a request in light of legal authorities, mandate and resources and must determine whether there is a scientific basis for conducting a highly speculative investigation of this kind," Macmanus said, according to a copy of his speech.
Moscow is the Syrian government's biggest ally and arms supplier. The United States supports rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano earlier told the board the UN agency was considering the Russian request.
Nuclear experts say the so-called Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR), a type of research reactor that is usually fuelled by highly enriched uranium, is small and that any radioactive fallout may pose a local hazard. The amount that such a reactor usually holds, about 1 kg of highly enriched uranium, is less than the 25 kg that would be sufficient to build a bomb, they say.


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