Sunday, July 06, 2008

 

A Brief History of Tuwaitha

This post is in response to the original WizBang article: Where The Hell Did THAT Come From? posted by Jay Tea.

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From the linked AP article:


What's now left is the final and complicated push to clean up the remaining radioactive debris at the former Tuwaitha nuclear complex about 12 miles south of Baghdad.



Question from JT's article:
where did the yellowcake come from?

Answer from globalsecurity.org
"As of 2002, the only known store of nuclear material in Iraq is in heavyweight sealed barrels at the Tawaitha research facility south of Baghdad. It consists of several tons of low-grade uranium and is monitored by an international agency with the full co-operation of the Iraqi regime. Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center, located 18 km SSE of Baghdad, was the main site for Iraqi nuclear program. Tuwaitha is the location of the Osiraq reactor bombed by Israel in 1981."


Another question from JT's article:


WHY is this story coming out now, over five years after we invaded Iraq?

The story of the Tuwaitha reactor and the yellowcake from it is very well documented both before, during, and after the invasion. From the linked AP article, "Tuwaitha and an adjacent research facility were well known for decades as the centerpiece of Saddam's nuclear efforts."
Before the war, the storage facility was sealed by the IAEA and inspectors visited the site as part of their pre-war inspections before the Bush administration asked them to leave.

During the war, it was big news that the Marines had "discovered" the site and explored it, finding high radiation readings.

After the invasion, it was discovered that the Tuwaitha facility had been looted, at least partially, though the US would not allow IAEA members to inspect the facility at the time to see what was missing. The barrels were often taken by locals who just dumped out the yellowcake and used the barrels.

As for this particular story, I would say that it's being reported now because the transport of the yellowcake was just completed on Saturday. It seems like a current event kind of story.

Update
As Ed Davis, a commenter at WizBang, pointed out, the GlobalSecurity.org quote refers to low-grade uranium, not yellowcake. This site has a much more comprehensive list of the material Iraq was know to possess before the Iraq War.

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