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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. Most recently, 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 believed the war was more about oil than about effectively dealing with weapons of mass destruction. It would result in devastating human and environmental consequences, and set a dangerous (not to mention illegal) precedent.

Though the occupying forces were quick to secure Iraqi oil fields, they neglected to safeguard dangerous nuclear material. Now that material has made its way 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 Iraq until the fall of Saddam Hussein have been stolen and local residents are reportedly displaying symptoms of radiation poisoning. Six weeks after the occupying forces took control of the country, the US finally conceded that the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), could return to assess what has been stolen at part of one site, Tuwaitha. Yet the IAEA has been refused access to the nearby population or to other sites it wants to visit, in contravention of UN resolutions.

We went to Iraq in June 2003 with a small, specialist team to examine the local environment and to assess the extent of any nuclear contamination. The team took samples of soil and water for laboratory analysis and conducted on-site monitoring with specialist radiation detection equipment. While the extent of the Greenpeace radiological survey will not be comprehensive, it will provide some idea of the true level of risk to the people of the area and to the environment.

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

  • The occupying powers must allow the IAEA to remain in Iraq with an unrestricted mandate to test as well as document all nuclear sites.
  • The occupying powers must allow the IAEA to oversee an urgent medical and environmental assessment of the impact of the radioactive material that has spread in the local community - a practice that would be standard in 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


Greenpeace stands with Médecins Sans Frontières

Blog entry by Mike Townsley | 5 October, 2015 1 comment

Greenpeace extends its deepest condolences to all of the families of those whose lives were lost as a result of the horrific bombings of the international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)  hospital in Kunduz,...

Joni Mitchell: A tribute to the artist

Blog entry by Rex Weyler | 2 July, 2015

On 31 March, 2015, Joni Mitchell – who helped launch Greenpeace with a 1970 benefit concert, and emerged as one of the greatest songwriters and performers of the last 50 years – experienced a brain aneurysm. Friends found her...

Military spending: $1.8 trillion spent on the WRONG things

Blog entry by Jen Maman | 13 April, 2015 5 comments

I watched a short documentary last week about a young boy in Uganda named Locheng, who dreams of learning how to read and write ( watch it if you can, it's only 12 minutes but is very powerful). Primary school in his village costs the...

The strong arm of the Grrrowd

Blog entry by Kumi Naidoo | 26 March, 2015 10 comments

Grrrowd is a powerful new model for crowdfunding legal cases involving human and environmental rights. It's the Kickstarter of class action suits, the Indiegogo of good cases for good causes. It's the place where a poor Mexican...

Are limits to growth real?

Blog entry by Rex Weyler | 17 January, 2015 3 comments

In 2002, global warming denialist and anti-environmental gadfly Bjørn Lomborg consigned the 1972 book, The Limits to Growth, to "the dustbin of history." However, 42 years of data now appear to vindicate the book’s premise, that the...

2014: A Year In Pictures

Slideshow | 19 December, 2014

This generation will ban nuclear weapons

Blog entry by Jen Maman | 10 December, 2014

Nearly 25 years after the end of the Cold War there are still estimated to be 16,300 nuclear weapons at 98 sites in 14 countries.  Rather than disarm, nuclear armed states continue to spend a fortune maintaining and modernising their...

Lima: A positive end to a breakthrough year for the climate movement?

Blog entry by Daniel Mittler | 28 November, 2014 6 comments

There is no question: 2014 has been a key year for the politics of climate change already, even before the latest round of climate talks get under way in Lima, Peru, next week. This is the year that you, and people like you, turned ...

Month In Pictures - October

Slideshow | 31 October, 2014

Month In Pictures - September

Slideshow | 4 October, 2014

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