VIENNA — Secret documents and hundreds of photos smuggled out of Myanmar by an army defector indicate its military regime is trying to develop nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, a former senior United Nations nuclear inspector said yesterday.
Robert Kelley said the evidence he has seen and heard from the defector is the most compelling yet to support suspicions that Myanmar is interested in atomic arms. “This is probably the best source . . . since Mordechai Vanunu,’’ he said, referring to the former Israeli nuclear technician whose leak to a British newspaper revealed details of the Jewish state’s nuclear program and led to the now generally accepted belief that Israel has nuclear weapons.
Kelley, who came to the International Atomic Energy Agency after working at Los Alamos, retired from the Vienna-based IAEA in 2008 after holding senior positions. He was commenting on a report he coauthored that was released yesterday by the Democratic Voice of Burma, an expatriate media group located in Norway.
The report said the defector had been involved in the nuclear program and smuggled out extensive files and photographs describing experiments with uranium and specialized equipment needed to build a nuclear reactor and develop enrichment capabilities. But the report concluded that Myanmar is still far from producing a nuclear weapon.