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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Dear CASI list, The recently posted article "Probe Casts Doubt on Iraq Nuclear Security" (Associated Press, April 15) I found particularly disturbing. In 1996, I interviewed the late Maurizio Zifferero, an Italian national and former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who helped establish the permanent Nuclear Monitoring Group in Iraq after the fist Gulf War. He directed thirty IAEA inspections in Iraq over the course of five years. (My article first appeared in the January/February 1997 issue of Fellowship, the magazine of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and was reprinted in the book Metal of Dishonor, Depleted Uranium, published in 1997 by the International Action Center.) The reason I interviewed Zifferero is because of my concern about the boasts of General Norman Schwarzkopf reported in The New York Times on January 31, 1991, that "every target that we have attacked, be it nuclear, chemical or biological, we have very carefully selected the destruction means, okay, after a lot of advice from a lot of very, very prominent scientists. So we selected the destruction means in such a way that we absolutely almost to a 99.9 percent assurance have no contamination." During the first Gulf War, the U. S. became the first nation in history to bomb an operating nuclear reactor when it destroyed the reactor at the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center in Iraq, which is on the left bank of the Tigris just ten kilometers southeast of Baghdad. Zifferero described the center as being "equipped with three nuclear research reactors [like those found in many American universities], French-supplied Tammuz 1 and Tammuz 2 and the Russian supplied IRT-5000. "Of these," Zifferero said, "only the Russian was in operation at the onset of the [first] Gulf War, the French ones having been destroyed (without release of radioactivity) in an Israeli air raid in June 1981 while they were still in the cold commissioning phase." As I say in my article, there was "negligible" contamination at Tuwaitha, however, only because the bombs missed the reactor core. Zifferero told me that he thought it was a miracle that the Russian reactor core escaped destruction. "Having seen the devastation produced at Tuwaitha by the coalition bombs, I am skeptical about the story of precision targeting there. It was, I am convinced, sheer chance. Or how would one explain bomb craters scattered around Tuwaitha in free areas between buildings?" Zifferero said that "under IAEA's supervision, the most dangerous material--the spent Russian reactor fuel--has been safely removed from Iraq in the course of 1993 and 1994 and sent back to Russia. All of it is accounted for and none is missing." The now defunct Arms Control Research Center (ARC) noted that Russia did not initially want Iraq's nuclear waste back. But the Russian Mayak Combine at Kyshtym in the Urals finally agreed to accept it. ARC said at the time that Kyshtym is described as "the world's most radioactive site." According to Zifferero, at that time, the only other radiation sources at Tuwaitha had been a "steady production of radioisotopes for medical uses, gram quantities of plutonium in addition to a 'stock' (my quotes) of depleted, natural and enriched uranium," which were under IAEA safeguards. Perhaps that "stock" contained the yellowcake mentioned in the AP article that turned up in the scrap metal from Jordan. For, as the AP article reports, since the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003, the U. S. has not allowed the IAEA into the country. It is my hunch, and, of course, that is all that it is, that it is not terrorists that have "removed equipment" and even "entire buildings" in Iraq but desperate Iraqis who have looted places like Tuwaitha, not understanding the dangers in the material they handled. I remember reading an article after the second Gulf War started that some poor Iraqi families had dumped out whatever was in the cauldrons they found at the nuclear center to use them for cooking. Keep the faith, Suzy Kane _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk