Monday, August 04, 2003

and it begins ... uranium oxide on sale for $250,000 in Iraq

Scotland's Sunday Herald reported yesterday that some people in Basra are trying to sell uranium oxide which was probably looted from the al-Tuwaitha nuclear site. They also quote Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the IAEA, as saying that approx 400 "radioactive sources" are missing from the site.

The fear is that the uranium oxide could be used to make a "dirty bomb".

Most telling is the following:

... hundreds of villagers who live in the shadow of the barbed wire fences that surround the labyrinth of the nuclear plant had been bathing in and drinking water laced with radioactive contaminants from barrels they had stolen, emptied and used as containers.

The barrels, experts say, had held uranium ores, low- enriched uranium “yellowcake”, nuclear sludge and other by-products. Some villagers have since contracted symptoms attributed to radiation contamination.