Skip to comments.Saddam's 500-ton Uranium Stockpile
Posted on 11/02/2005 7:12:42 PM PST by InvisibleChurch
Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005 9:58 p.m. EST Saddam's 500-ton Uranium Stockpile
Thanks to Leakgate Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's decision to indict "Scooter" Libby last week, Bush administration accuser Joe Wilson is once again the toast of Washington, D.C. - recycling the fifteen minutes of fame he first purchased in July 2003 with the claim that Bush lied about Iraq's plan to acquire uranium from Niger.
Why was Bush's uranium claim so important? Because if true, the mere attempt by the Iraqi dictator to acquire uranium would show that he had clear and incontrovertible plans to restart his nuclear program.
Maybe that's why the press seldom discusses the fact that Saddam already had a staggering large stockpile of uranium - 500 tons, to be exact.
And if his mere intention to acquire uranium was enough to justify fears of Saddam's nuclear ambition, what would the average person deduce from that fact that he'd already stockpiled a huge quantity of the bombmaking fuel?
In its May 22, 2004 edition, the New York Times confirmed a myriad of reports on Saddam's nuclear fuel stockpile - and revealed a chilling detail unknown to weapons inspectors before the war: that Saddam had begun to partially enrich his uranium stash.
The Times noted:
"The repository, at Tuwaitha, a centerpiece of Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program, . . . . holds more than 500 tons of uranium . . . . Some 1.8 tons is classified as low-enriched uranium."
Thomas B. Cochran, director of the nuclear program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Times that "the low-enriched version could be useful to a nation with nuclear ambitions.
"A country like Iran," Mr. Cochran said, "could convert that into weapons-grade material with a lot fewer centrifuges than would be required with natural uranium."
The paper conceded that while Saddam's nearly 2 tons of partially enriched uranium was "a more potent form" of the nuclear fuel, it was "still not sufficient for a weapon."
Consulted about the low-enriched uranium discovery, however, Ivan Oelrich, a physicist at the Federation of American Scientists, told the Associated Press that if it was of the 3 percent to 5 percent level of enrichment common in fuel for commercial power reactors, the 1.8 tons could be used to produce enough highly enriched uranium to make a single nuclear bomb.
Luckily, Iraq didn't have even the small number of centrifuges necessary to get the job done.
Or did it?
The physicist tapped by Saddam to run his centrifuge program says that after the first Gulf War, the program was largely dismantled. But it wasn't destroyed.
In fact, according to what he wrote in his 2004 book, "The Bomb in My Garden," Dr. Mahdi Obeidi told U.S. interrogators: "Saddam kept funding the IAEC [Iraq Atomic Energy Commission] from 1991 ... until the war in 2003."
"I was developing the centrifuge for the weapons" right through 1997, he revealed.
And after that, Dr. Obeidi said, Saddam ordered him under penalty of death to keep the technology available to resume Iraq's nuke program at a moment's notice.
Dr. Obeidi said he buried "the full set of blueprints, designs - everything to restart the centrifuge program - along with some critical components of the centrifuge" under the garden of his Baghdad home.
"I had to maintain the program to the bitter end," he explained. All the while the Iraqi physicist was aware that he held the key to Saddam's continuing nuclear ambitions.
"The centrifuge is the single most dangerous piece of nuclear technology," Dr. Obeidi said in his book. "With advances in centrifuge technology, it is now possible to conceal a uranium enrichment program inside a single warehouse."
Consider: 500 tons of yellowcake stored at Saddam's old nuclear weapons plant, where he'd managed to partially enrich 1.8 tons. And the equipment and blueprints that could enrich enough uranium to make a bomb stored away for safekeeping. And all of it at the Iraqi dictator's disposal.
If the average American were aware of these undisputed facts, the debate over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction would have been decided long ago - in President Bush's favor.
One more detail that Mr. Wilson and his media backers don't like to discuss: the reason Niger was such a likely candidate for Saddam's uranium shopping spree.
Responding to the firestorm that erupted after Wilson's July 2003 column, Prime Minister Tony Blair told reporters:
"In case people should think that the whole idea of a link between Iraq and Niger was some invention, in the 1980s we know for sure that Iraq purchased round about 270 tons of uranium from Niger."
Saddam's Stash/Wilson's Flash Bump.
True story...Don't you remember when the media was in a frenzy about the U.S. "not securing the weapons in Iraq" and there were some weapons "stolen" or "missing" and the Democrats used that as an attack on Bush before the 2004 election? Well that's when we found out there was uranium being guarded in Iraq. I guess only Uranium from NIGER or AFRICA registers to the Left as being capable of creating a nuclear weapon.
Yes, this is true. Saddam was waiting for the sanctions to be dropped first and the spotlight to dim on Iraq before he was going to reinstitute his WMD program. That's why he was involved w/ the Oil for food program...to get in the European's good graces...and hopefully they would drop the sanctions.
that was a different location, not Al Tuwaitha.
the reason this doesn't "register" is that the material at Al Tuwaitha was known and under seal by the IAEA. Its not "fresh WMD", so it doesn't "count" according to the left.
Yes. These were weapons that where under the IAEA's 'control' before the war. Here is a link you might be interested in reading. I used it to stuff in the faces of a few libs on another conservative site last year during the height of their insanity. It is a DOD briefing. Why the IAEA did not remove the stuff long ago is the MYSTERY!
they don't remove or destroy, they just "seal" it and monitor the seals for tampering.
Thanks for the website
In 1999 Iraqi officials visited Niger.
I'm sure these Iraqi officials were not in Niger to sip sweet mint tea.
BTW, Joe Wilson was also in Niger in 1999.
Saddam was in charge of the UN Oil for Food program. Made no secret he would trade with any person or country if they worked to get sanctions lifted.
I agree, if the Niger claim can be shown to be true (it is, if they would debunk the forged documents) - then this would be a "new" WMD claim.
yep..monitor it until they are thrown out or duped. (rolling eyes)
Some of us believe some of the centrifuges and uranium ended up in Libya, and when Quadaffi turned over all he had it was all transported I believe to Fort Knox.
I suggest we lock Wilson up in the Libyan mountain where Nigers uranium was never shipped. We can close the door on this case and as long as nobody outs him. We wont see him again.
BTW..if u read the DOD briefing at the link I provided..there were reports that more yellow cake was found than had been declared or sealed by IAEA it would appear from this briefing during the war.
Here is the relevant paragragh from the briefing FYI:
Q: The other part of the question was, what do you make of the fact that the IAEA inspected this facility in December 2002 and surveyed it and found less stuff than you-all have found now after it was looted?
Senior Military Official: Well, first of all I'd say I have not seen an official inventory. That's part of what this will be. But we had information from a number of sources as to what we thought was there, and we actually found more than what we thought was there. What we thought may not have been absolutely accurate, because we didn't have that official inventory. But it also probably wouldn't be useful to speculate about what might have -- how the additional stuff might have gotten there. We'll wait until the inventory is done.
there was a story floating around a while back that they were taking some of this material to Oak Ridge, to get a chemical signature on it, to see if it matched the material the material that Libya gave up - which would show that the Libyan program was linked to Iraq. I never heard anything about that story again.
you are very informed on this topic, I haven't seen you posting before on threads regarding this topic (could be my bad memory).
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