BURMA’S NUCLEAR BATTALION
By Roland Watson
August 28, 2010
In June, we published lists of 660 Burma military officers who in 2009 began masters or doctoral programs in Russia at fourteen different technical universities. We now understand that the lists were prepared for
submission to and approval by Russia’s Foreign Minister. They were in English to facilitate this communication.
Of the 2009 class - Batch 9, 111 were directly assigned to the SPDC's nuclear project. We have
also now learned that the mysterious HRD project stands for Human Resources Department, and includes personnel with specialities that suggest links to the other projects (Nuclear, Tunnel, Computer, etc.), but which for some reason did not have such a direct assignment. Of the HRD personnel, over thirty have nuclear relatedspecialities, making a total of at least 140 personnel from the 2009 intake being trained in nuclear science. We repeat, this is conclusive evidence that the SPDC has a clandestine nuclear program, and that it lied to the International Atomic Energy Agency when it said that it did not. We have now received additional hard documentation abut the nuclear program: A construction status report, building plan, and maps, of the #1 Science and Technology Battalion at Thabeikkyin, aka the Nuclear Battalion, and which is believed to be the center of the overall program. The documents that follow are from 2006, and relate to the initial construction of the Nuclear Battalion, including buildings, factories, and road, electricity and water infrastructure. They describe a facility for upwards of five hundred personnel, but which also envisioned a potential ten-fold expansion. We think it likely that much of this expansion has been completed in the intervening years. If so, this answers the question of where the bulk of the scientists trained over the last nine years in Russia (and also the officers known to have studied in North Korea) are working.
Burma’s Nuclear Battalion is located in a mountain valley some twenty kilometers northeast of the town of Thabeikkyin, in the Kyaukkyi Forest Reserve (just southeast of the village of Kyaukkyi). Imagery of the specific location is not available from Google Earth. We sincerely hope that experts tracking the program will use their own imagery services to photograph the facility as it now exists, and make the images public so everyone can see.
Our initial intel about Thabeikkyin (also from 2006) said that there was a uranium milling facility associated with the operation, and which Jane’s Intelligence has now prospectively identified. While we do not have access to Jane’s images, we believe the mill is not at this location. The remote mountain site suggests a different purpose. We unfortunately do not have the internal layouts of the Battalion's factories. However, we do know that the initial design included five factories, a group of three and another group of two, and also that two larger factories were planned. Rather than uranium milling, we believe the Nuclear Battalion’s primary objective is enrichment and weapons development. The refined uranium (yellowcake) for the enrichment program is presumably coming from the mill.
We can also comment that the use of a secret mountain site for uranium enrichment parallels the actions of both Iran and North Korea.
Plan for buildings, lighting, water and sewage for #1 Science and Technology Battalion, Thabeikkyin.
Status report, first phase of building, 3 May 2006
Directive on 12 March 2006 concerning completion of building
Report on 33 KV power line and 33/11 KV, 4MVA substation completion
Outside water supply
Completion of road construction
Building plan for #1 Science and Technology Battalion, Thabeikkyin
Topographical map showing the location of the Nuclear Battalion
Map of the extension of the power lines from the Battalion south to Wabyudaung and also east towards Thabeikkyin