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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

 

Fact not fiction: Renewable energy is safer than nuclear power

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 23 May, 2013 17 comments

Take a look at what Jan Bens, chief of Belgium's nuclear watchdog FANC, had to say about wind turbines the other day: "The harbour of Antwerp is being filled with windmills, and the chemical industry is next to it. If there is an...

Nuclear power is safe and pigs can fly

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 21 May, 2013 4 comments

That’s the lesson Greenpeace Sweden sent to the nuclear industry once again today as we flew our paramotor glider over the unprotected Ringhals nuclear power plant in southwest Sweden, near Gothenburg. With simple gear and without...

Japanese and French companies to build Turkey’s nuclear reactors: What could go wrong?

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 4 May, 2013 1 comment

Look at what we have here: A $22 billion dollar deal for a Japanese-French consortium to build Turkey’s second nuclear power plant. What could possibly go wrong? Let’s see, shall we? The French company contracted to help...

27 years since Chernobyl and what have we learned?

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 26 April, 2013 29 comments

April 26th marks the 27th anniversary of the devastating accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. The radiation released into the atmosphere by the exploding nuclear reactor found its way across Ukraine, Belarus,...

Nuclear accidents: the guilty should pay, not the innocent

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 24 April, 2013 7 comments

One of the many outrageous scandals surrounding the Fukushima nuclear crisis is the way the people of Japan have had to bail out TEPCO, the utility whose negligence allowed the accident to happen. Just this week we’ve seen how ...

Japanese court’s verdict on request to shut down nuclear plant puzzling

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 18 April, 2013

The law in any country can be a complex business. That said, the verdict on Tuesday by a court in Japan to allow the Ohi nuclear reactors to stay open is especially puzzling. Green Action, a campaign group, filed a lawsuit asking...

Redirect military expenditure to ensure a sustainable future

Blog entry by Kumi Naidoo | 18 April, 2013

Article originally published in the Guardian. Last year $1.75tn was spent on the world's military, according to new estimates released this Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPRI). Seems like a lot? Let me...

Will a court help Japan avoid the next Fukushima Disaster?

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 15 April, 2013 1 comment

The verdict in a lawsuit launched by a group campaigning against the restarting of two reactors may answer that question soon. The group, Green Action , filed a lawsuit asking the court to shut down the only two operating reactors...

Nuclear safety? Depends on who you ask

Blog entry by Shawn-Patrick Stensil | 9 April, 2013 5 comments

Nuclear safety regulators from around the world are in Canada’s capital this week to discuss what lessons they should learn from the Fukushima disaster. It’s a bad choice of venue. Canada’s approach to nuclear safety isn’t one to...

Uranium mining stopped in Australian national park

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 26 March, 2013

Wherever uranium miners move in to do what they do, human rights have a tendency to move out. That’s why the victory of Jeffrey Lee, who has secured protection for his land from uranium mining at Koongarra in Australia , sends a...

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