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Iraq is now effectively a nuclear wasteland, between the unimaginable consequences of this and the DU weapons used (2000 tons of DU dust left, according to the Royal Society, as oppose to a confirmed 325 tonnes in Gulf war 1) who is accountable? 'Retirement plans ...'? Whoever is responsible should be shot. Though it will be little comfort to the Iraqis as they die in vastly greater numbers of radiation sickness and their genetic integrity is sullied for all time. And as for the 'liberators': I'd be out of there, big time. f. Published on Saturday, May 10, 2003 by the Washington Post Seven Nuclear Sites Looted Iraqi Scientific Files, Some Containers Missing by Barton Gellman BAGHDAD -- Seven nuclear facilities in Iraq have been damaged or effectively destroyed by the looting that began in the first days of April, when U.S. ground forces thrust into Baghdad, according to U.S. investigators and others with detailed knowledge of their work. The Bush administration fears that technical documents, sensitive equipment and possibly radiation sources have been scattered. If so, there are potentially significant consequences for public health and the spread of materials to build a nuclear or radiological bomb. President Bush had said the war was fought to prevent the spread of "the world's most dangerous weapons." Iraq's nuclear research headquarters at Al-Tuwaitha. Looters are carting off whatever they can carry from the nuclear site. (AFP/File/Awad Awad) It is still not clear what has been lost in the sacking of Iraq's nuclear establishment. But it is well documented that looters roamed unrestrained among stores of chemical elements and scientific files that would speed development, in the wrong hands, of a nuclear or radiological bomb. Many of the files, and some of the containers that held radioactive sources, are missing. Previous reports have described damage at two of the facilities, the Tuwaitha Yellowcake Storage Facility and the adjacent Baghdad Nuclear Research Center. Now, the identity of three more damaged sites has been learned: the Ash Shaykhili Nuclear Facility, the Baghdad New Nuclear Design Center and the Tahadi Nuclear Establishment. All of them have attracted close scrutiny from the International Atomic Energy Agency and from U.S. analysts who suspected that Iraq, despite IAEA inspections, was working to develop a bomb. The identities of two other sites, also said to have been looted, could not be learned. Army Lt. Col. Charles Allison, who led the U.S. survey team at Ash Shaykhili, said in an interview that its "warehouses were completely destroyed" by ransacking and fire. A Special Forces soldier, part of another team that reached Ash Shaykhili before Allison, said "they were supposed to store all their enrichment processing machinery there, but it was all gone or badly burned." Alarmed by similar reports about the two Tuwaitha-area sites, IAEA's director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, sent a letter Monday pressing earlier demands that the United States grant the agency access to Iraq's nuclear sites. He has previously asserted that the IAEA has sole legal authority over the sites under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and U.N. resolutions. But an adviser to ElBaradei said late Thursday that "we have got no official reply" from the United States. Ash Shaykhili, 10 miles southeast of Baghdad, was the legally designated repository of heavy equipment used in Iraq's former nuclear weapons program. Some of the equipment was destroyed when Israel bombed the Osirak reactor in 1981 and when the United States bombed a Russian research reactor there 10 years later. Other gear had been seized and rendered useless by IAEA inspectors between 1991 and 1998. Subject to regular inspection by the nuclear watchdog agency, Ash Shaykhili held destroyed centrifuges once used to enrich uranium, disks and machinery used in an alternate enrichment process called electromagnetic isotope separation, key components of the bomb-damaged reactors, vacuum pumps and valves. Experts said it may have held small radiation sources, but not in significant quantities. Allison's U.S. survey team sought evidence that the site concealed other, forbidden activities, particularly in an underground space that U.S. intelligence thought suspicious. But when Allison arrived on April 24, he found it "so looted that it was just basically warehouses with all kinds of crap all over the floor," he said. "If there was something there it's long since gone." Another site known to have been damaged is the Baghdad New Nuclear Design Center. A prominent yellow building, the center housed the key personnel responsible for the crash program that nearly succeeded in building a nuclear bomb in 1991. That program, known by the code name Petrochemical Three, or PC-3, demonstrated Iraqi mastery of three different nuclear enrichment technologies: fabrication of finely milled uranium or plutonium spheres for the core of a fission bomb and the makings of a sophisticated implosion device to detonate the weapon. Many of the principal scientists and technicians of PC-3 moved to jobs at the new nuclear design center. They formed an umbrella organization for electrical, mechanical and chemical engineering research, all potentially useful for a nuclear weapon. But IAEA inspectors watched the work carefully, and an expert with detailed knowledge of the results said the agency "didn't find anything that indicated ongoing prohibited activities regarding nuclear weapons." Last month U.S. Central Command sent the Pentagon's Direct Support Team to survey the site. Sources said they found it looted and collected little that would help resolve U.S. suspicions about what was being done there. They declined to detail the damage. The third site that was badly damaged is the Tahadi Nuclear Establishment. Jacques Baute, who heads the IAEA's Iraq Action Team, made that site his first stop when IAEA inspections resumed Nov. 27, according to press accounts. Tahadi was thought to be a potential location of renewed weapons activity because, like the Baghdad center, it employed some of Iraq's leading weapons scientists. Unlike the Baghdad center, it housed substantial dual-use equipment, capable of both permitted and prohibited work. Tahadi hosted magnetic research and development of high-voltage power supplies. Those can be used as components of a program to enrich uranium to weapons grade. An expert on Iraq's weapons program with close ties to the IAEA said in an interview that the site was "at the top of the list" of sites that might be involved in prohibited centrifuge work. The Bush administration accused Iraq of attempting to import specialized aluminum tubes for such a centrifuge cascade, but the IAEA said they were not suitable. The administration sought evidence at Tahadi, but the Direct Support Team found little left. At the Baghdad site and Tahadi, experts said there might have been small radiation sources to calibrate instruments, but nothing in quantity. At two other looted sites, Tuwaitha's Location C and the Baghdad Nuclear Research Center nearby, there were significant quantities of partially enriched uranium, cesium, strontium and cobalt. U.S. survey teams have been unable to say whether any of those radiation sources were stolen. According to witnesses, Allison's survey team reached both of these sites on April 10, the same day that ElBaradei cited them as the two most important for U.S. forces to protect. But because of continuing debate within the Bush administration over whether to enter without IAEA inspectors present, Allison received a hasty order to withdraw. When Allison was told to evacuate all U.S. personnel, including troops providing security at the perimeter, he grew agitated, witnesses said. "Whoever gave that order better check his retirement plan, because if we leave this place open somebody is going to lose their job," he told an officer at the ground forces operations center of Central Command, according to two witnesses. Allison confirmed the gist of the conversation. Eventually Central Command relented and ordered a company of the 3rd Infantry Division to guard both Tuwaitha-area sites. But the twin complexes, about a square mile each and half a mile apart, were far too big for the force left in place. Soldiers posted there permitted Iraqi civilians who said they were employees to enter freely. Looting at both places continued last Saturday, when a Washington Post reporter spent four hours at the site. Daoud Awad, who ran the electrical design department at Tuwaitha, said in a brief interview that he "saw with my own eyes people carrying the containers we used to put radioactive materials in." The containers slightly resemble jugs commonly used for milk, he said, "and they didn't know what was inside." "I saw some papers on an experiment, and the people threw the papers on the floor and took the table," he said. "If they knew how valuable the papers were, they would have kept the papers, not the table." "How could they leave a place like this without protection?" he asked. "It's not an ordinary place. It's too dangerous." Staff researcher Robert Thomason in Washington contributed to this report. © 2003 The Washington Post Company ### _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk