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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

 

Divert excessive weapon spending to achieve clean energy future

Blog entry by Jen Maman | 14 April, 2014 2 comments

According to new figures released on Monday, last year a whopping US$1747 billion was spent on armies across the world. Modest decreases in spending in austerity hit Western Europe and reduced spending in the US, which is still the...

How Germany is revolutionising its energy system. And who's standing in the way.

Blog entry by Karsten Smid | 9 April, 2014 6 comments

As the UN climate panel meets in Berlin this week to finalise its report on options for combating climate change, here's how Germany is rising to the challenge. Rapidly reduce your reliance on coal? AND phase out nuclear power at...

Japan offers us hope in the face of more bad news from the IPCC

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 2 April, 2014

The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released this week makes for grim reading. The attitudes and behaviour of humanity is going to have to change and quickly if we are to save ourselves...

Japan should not be a nuclear playground

Blog entry by Kumi Naidoo | 24 March, 2014 26 comments

Op-ed originally published on Kyodo News. A busy playground beams with hope and echoes with giggles. It was in this safe place, three months after the disaster, that I heard infectious ripples of laughter from children going back...

The mythologies of thorium and uranium

Blog entry by Jan Beránek | 24 March, 2014 108 comments

Thorium and uranium represent the heaviest naturally occurring elements on Earth. Both were named after ancient gods: Uranus was the principal Greek god of the sky while Thor was the Norse (and broadly Germanic) god of a thunder. ...

The Nuclear Security Summit fails to address the big hazards

Blog entry by Jorien de Lege | 20 March, 2014 2 comments

World leaders are coming together at The Hague in the Netherlands next week for the Nuclear Security Summit to talk about what Barack Obama called "one of the greatest threat to international security": nuclear terrorism. That does...

Greenpeace activists occupy France's Fessenheim nuclear power plant to say "Stop...

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 18 March, 2014 2 comments

Around 60 Greenpeace activists from 14 countries entered France's Fessenheim nuclear power plant this morning to send the message that the ageing plant should be closed. Our people unfurled a banner next to the Fessenheim Number 1...

Don't Forget Fukushima

Slideshow | 11 March, 2014

Fukushima: we must not forget!

Blog entry by Dr. Rianne Teule | 11 March, 2014 9 comments

“Forgetting Fukushima makes it more likely that such a nuclear disaster could happen elsewhere,” said Mrs Tatsuko Okawara, one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Fukushima accident that began on 11 March 2011. Though...

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