Skip to comments.Iraq looters exposed to radioactive yellow cake
Posted on 05/10/2003 9:00:23 AM PDT by Lessismore
They wanted water containers; they may have killed the village.
Iraq-Villagers looted a nuclear power facility here during the waning days of the war and instead of treasure, may have made off with death-drums filled with radioactive uranium oxide concentrate, also called yellow cake.
According to officials with the Iraq nuclear energy commission, the storage facility at Zafaraniya was guarded by Iraqi troops until April 4. However, they fled in the face of approaching U.S. Marines.
With the arrival of the Marines, the Zafaraniya facility was nominally under control of U.S. forces. However no special guards were posted and residents of a neighboring village looted the facility on April 6 and 7.
Most of the villagers have only an elementary school education. While they knew the facility was related to nuclear energy, they did not know that radioactive materials were stored there. By April 8, when Iraq nuclear energy commission officials got a handle on the situation, they discovered about 100 drums containing yellow cake were missing.
It appears the villagers did not know what the yellow cake was nor had any interest in it. With only about 60 households, the village did not have piped-in water and the looters wanted to use the drums for water storage.
In what may prove to be deadly errors, they dumped the radioactive substance on land near their village and washed the drums in a local river.
Officials believe the looters inevitably inhaled large quantities of the uranium. To make a bad situation worse, the villagers may have ingested radioactive material after converting the drums to water and cooking oil containers.
Yellow cake is produced when refining uranium ore. Through further processing, it can be used as fuel rods for nuclear reactors or in nuclear weapons.
An official with the Iraq nuclear energy commission said Iraq refined the uranium from imports from Nigeria and Portugal in 1978 for its nuclear development program. About 300 drums of refined uranium had been in storage at Zafaraniya for about 20 years.
The site was visited last January and February by inspectors from the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The inspectors found no safety problems at the facility.
The Zafaraniya facility is located about 30 kilometers southeast of Baghdad and includes an experimental nuclear reactor and research labs.
Considered one of the core components of Iraq's nuclear weapons development program, the facility was bombed by Israel in the 1980s and was hit by U.S. cruise missiles in the 1990s.
The storage facility where the yellow cake was kept was surrounded by a wire fence but the storage facility itself was rusted and rapidly deteriorating.
One of the villagers who took part in the looting said he tasted the yellow powder in the drums because it looked pretty.
But wait, I thought that there was absolutely no proof of Iraqi WMDs!
[The libs have yet to explain why a country with no WMDs has nuclear facilities, WMD researchers, and government people in place that specifically oversee such operations.]
On the other hand, it's best not to ingest the stuff.
Uranium oxide was used to produce a nice yellow ceramic glaze, and some older pottery will make a Geiger counter really tick.
How can you say that, Hans was so busy and he went there in January.
An UNMOVIC missile team traveled 130 km south of Baghdad to inspect the Al Ameen Factory, one of the plants belonging to the Al Rasheed State Company. The factory was involved in the BADR 200 solid propellant missile project before 1991, and has since been responsible for the fabrication of motor cases and nozzles for Iraq's other solid propellant missiles. The team then split into two sub-teams to verify information provided by Al Ameen staff during technical discussions. One sub-team visited the Al Rasheed SC Headquarters, about 30-minute drive from Al Ameen, while the other sub-team drove to the Al Zafaraniya Military College of Engineering, near the Al Rasheed Air Base.
"The Total Perspective Votex derives its picture of the whole Universe on the principle of extrapolated matter analyses.
To explain--since every piece of matter in the Universe is in some way affected by every other piece of matter in the Universe, it is in theory possible to extrapolate the whole of creation--every sun, every planet, their orbits, their composition, and their economic and social history from, say, one small piece of fairy cake.
The man who invented the Total Perspective Vortex did so basically in order to annoy his wife.
Trin Tragula--for that was his name--was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.
And she would nag him incessantly about the utterly inordinate amount of time he spent staring out into space, or mulling over the mechanics of safety pins, or doing spectrographic analyses of pieces of fairy cake.
"Have some sense of proportion!" she would say, sometimes as often as thirty-eight times in a single day.
And so he built the Total Perspective Vortex--just to show her.
And into one end, he plugged the whole of reality as extrapolated from a piece of fairy cake, and into the other, he plugged his wife: so that when he turned it on she saw in one instant the whole infinity of creation and herself in relation to it.
To Trin Tragula's horror, the shock completely annihilated her brain, but to his satisfaction he realized that he had proved conclusively that if life is going to exist in a Universe of this size, then one thing it cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion."
You don't suppose, do you....... :-)
I'll bet the reporter made this up.
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