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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

 

Gil Scott-Heron's anti-nuclear song speaks to us across 40 years

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 28 July, 2014

There aren't many songs about nuclear power, but a very fine one by Gil Scott-Heron shows us things never change. As we've discussed many times on the Nuclear Reaction blog, one of the defining characteristics of the nuclear...

The nuclear industry isn't planning for the next unthinkable catastrophe

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 25 July, 2014 1 comment

A new report from the US National Academy of Sciences says not enough is being done to prevent worst case scenario nuclear accidents. We agree. A year after the Fukushima nuclear disaster began in March 2011… … the Max Planck...

One of life's hard-to-believe moments: Drilling holes in a nuclear reactor

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 22 July, 2014 5 comments

Switzerland's cheese is famous for its holes and now one of the country's nuclear reactors is infamous for the same reason. I don't know about you but I'm terrible at home improvements and DIY. Ask me to hang a picture on the...

Back to the future with Japan's nuclear village

Blog entry by Kazue Suzuki | 16 July, 2014 1 comment

The decision of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) to approve the draft assessment for the two Sendai nuclear reactors in Kyushu is a clear and dangerous signal that Japan's nuclear village – industry, regulators and government –...

TEPCO senior management still out of touch with their victims

Blog entry by Hisayo Takada | 27 June, 2014 2 comments

It has often been pointed out that TEPCO has been badly managed for years and that it caused the triple meltdown of its reactors at Fukushima Daiichi. So, I attended the 90 th Annual General Meeting of TEPCO to see if management has...

A Brief History of Europe's Energy Troubles

Feature story | 25 June, 2014 at 11:00

The Ukraine crisis currently shows just how dependent Europe is, especially on Russian oil and gas. The EU spent a total of EUR 421 billion on energy imports in 2012.

When it comes to nuclear power, small isn't beautiful. Or safe or cheap.

Blog entry by Justin McKeating | 19 June, 2014 8 comments

Not beautiful, safe or cheap: a message to the United States, where the Obama administration has pledged to waste money financing the Small Modular Reactor (SMR). SMRs are supposed to be small and prefab – constructed from parts...

Europe’s ageing nuclear reactors must have an environmental assessment

Blog entry by Jan Haverkamp | 6 June, 2014 3 comments

World Environment Day today was important for European nuclear energy policy, and the triggering issue was in Ukraine. No, it was not because of the G7 meeting talking about the consequences of energy dependence in the shadow of the...

Poland's nuclear energy programme stumbles again: Has PGE lost control of its...

Blog entry by Jan Haverkamp | 22 May, 2014 9 comments

In late February, during one of our regular strolls through the Lubiatowo dunes where the Polish government and the utility PGE are planning to build 3,000 MW of nuclear capacity, we found something peculiar. Bright orange sticks –...

The Chernobyl nuclear disaster: 28 years ago today

Blog entry by Kendra Ulrich | 26 April, 2014 20 comments

Today marks the 28th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe, the worst nuclear disaster in world history. Located in the Ukraine, the massive radioactive releases – 100 times more than the Hiroshima atomic bomb – heavily...

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