Dump Uranium on the Ground at Iraqi Nuclear Plant
emptied barrels containing low-grade uranium on the ground, and then took
them to use for the storage of food and water.
Iraqi villagers who stole uranium-tainted barrels from a former nuclear facility near Baghdad may face health problems within months, health experts said.
Reports were circulating that three people died last week after being contaminated by something stolen from the Al-Tuwaitha site. Workers at the site said that the looters did not appear to be after the uranium, but only the containers that it was stored in.
Employees said that thieves emptied barrels containing low-grade uranium on the ground, and then took them to use for the storage of food and water.
Workers at the site
said that they then buried the uranium.
The complex, one of Iraq's largest, was extensively pillaged several days ago but the looting is still going on.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, has expressed concern over the potential hazards.
"We don't consider it necessarily a problem of nuclear proliferation but it could be a problem of health and safety and environmental contamination," spokesman Mark Gwozdecky for the agency said.
The agency has asked the United States for access to the site to verify what may have been looted but so far permission has not been granted.
"Coalition forces have secured the facilities that housed the natural and low enriched uranium that was at those sites," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.
The Washington Post recentely reported that a Pentagon team sent to examine a radioactive waste dump in Iraq found it so heavily looted they could not tell whether dangerous materials had been taken.
Since the combat ended last month, Pentagon experts have visited seven of Iraq's nuclear program sites. None of the sites are intact and two had been plundered extensively.