The International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors has decided to refer Syria to the UN Security Council.
A narrow majority of 17 mostly Western countries on the 35-country IAEA governing board voted in Vienna in favor of censuring Damascus for secretly building a reactor.
Russia and China opposed the U.S.-sponsored resolution.
The IAEA says a Syrian site destroyed in a 2007 Israeli raid was probably a nuclear reactor which should have been declared.
Syria insists that the Dair Alzour site was a nonnuclear military site.
The push comes amid a separate effort by European nations to have the Security Council condemn the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for its crackdown on protesters.
Syria's Ambassador Bassam Sabbagh called the decision "regrettable," but pledged to continue working with the IAEA.
compiled from agency reports