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A frightened villager brings the lid of a barrel that contained uranium oxide (yellowcake) taken from the Tuwaitha nuclear facility, that was left unsecured by occupying forces after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The family used this radioactive barrel to store water and are complaining of rashes and skin problems.

Say no to war

Greenpeace is opposed to war, and we don't believe war is the answer to ridding the world of Weapons of Mass Destruction. That's one of the reasons why we took particular issue with the war on Iraq. We joined with people all over the world in months of global action to promote a non-violent solution to the conflict in Iraq.

We believedthe war was more about oil than about effectively dealing with weaponsof mass destruction. It would result in devastating human andenvironmental consequences, and set a dangerous (not to mentionillegal)precedent.

Though the occupyingforces were quick to secure Iraqi oil fields, they neglected tosafeguard dangerous nuclear material. Now that material has made itsway to homes and schools. Weapons of mass destruction, the alleged reason for the war in the first place, were never found.

Uranium and other nuclear material stored under UN control in Iraquntil the fall of Saddam Hussein have been stolen and local residentsare reportedly displaying symptoms of radiation poisoning. Six weeksafter the occupying forces took control of the country, the US finallyconceded that the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic EnergyAgency (IAEA), could return to assess what has been stolen at part ofone site, Tuwaitha. Yet the IAEA has been refused access to the nearbypopulation or to other sites it wants to visit, in contravention of UNresolutions.

We went to Iraq in June 2003 with a small, specialist teamto examine the local environment and to assess the extent of anynuclear contamination. The team took samples of soil and water forlaboratory analysis and conducted on-site monitoring with specialistradiation detection equipment. While the extent of the Greenpeaceradiological survey will not be comprehensive, it will provide someidea of the true level of risk to the people of the area and to theenvironment.

We are calling for a full assessment of the situation at Tuwaitha and other nuclear sites in Iraq:

  • Theoccupying powers must allow the IAEA to remain in Iraq with anunrestricted mandate to test as well as document all nuclear sites.
  • Theoccupying powers must allow the IAEA to oversee an urgent medical andenvironmental assessment of the impact of the radioactive material thathas spread in the local community - a practice that would be standardin any other country and circumstance.
  • A hunt for all the industrial radioactive isotopes in Iraq must be conducted urgently - these are all potential dirty bombs.

The latest updates


We’ve had enough of eating and breathing Chernobyl

Blog entry by Rashid Alimov | 7 April, 2016 4 comments

I’m in the Bryansk region of Russia. Despite being over 180 kilometres from Chernobyl and thirty years after the disaster, my geiger counter still picks up elevated levels of radiation.   This invisible radiation hazard is a...

Military spending is going up. Don’t let it take us down

Blog entry by Jen Maman | 5 April, 2016 3 comments

Weapons spending worldwide increased in 2015 and now stands at a mind boggling $1676 billion, according to a new data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute today. This 1% increase from 2014 marks an...

It's time to talk about Belgium’s nuclear problem

Blog entry by Jan Vande Putte | 1 April, 2016

President Obama invited more than fifty heads of state and heads of government to a summit in Washington DC this week to discuss the risks of nuclear terrorism.  While the official agenda is tackling proliferation of nuclear weapons,...

Marshall Islands vs big nuclear - will the tiny island get the justice they deserve?

Blog entry by Jen Maman | 18 March, 2016 3 comments

In April 2014, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, a tiny island country part of Micronesia, filed groundbreaking lawsuits to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the world’s nine nuclear-armed countries. Now, almost...

Dubious "anti-terrorism" law threatens Brazil’s democratic space

Blog entry by Pedro Telles | 15 March, 2016 2 comments

In the midst of a severe political crisis and seriously threatened by the possibility of an impeachment, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff will soon have to make a decision that puts her once again on a crash course with civil society:...

Fukushima 5 years on

Slideshow | 11 March, 2016

EU deal with Turkey the latest failure in refugee response

Blog entry by Alexandra Messare | 11 March, 2016

No fence is strong enough to forever hold back the tide of human hope. One way or another, the fence will be brought down, breached or circled and the same is true today across Europe – thousands of refugees will not be denied safe...

Fukushima nuclear disaster: 5 years on and no end in sight

Blog entry by Junichi Sato | 11 March, 2016 7 comments

Last month I joined the magnificent crew of the Rainbow Warrior , a team of experts, and Greenpeace colleagues from around the world. For two days we sailed along Fukushima’s beautiful, rugged coast working under rough conditions as...

Chernobyl and Fukushima: side by side

Blog entry by Rashid Alimov | 9 March, 2016 5 comments

30 years after Chernobyl and 5 years after Fukushima, the towns ruined forever by nuclear. A crucifix at the entrance of Pripyat. The town is now a guarded area and entry is via checkpoint. The crucifix is a homage to those who...

Nuclear Scars

Publication | 9 March, 2016 at 7:00

It is 30 years since the beginning of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It is also five years since the Fukushima disaster began. To mark these anniversaries, Greenpeace has commissioned substantial reviews of scientific studies examining the...

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