This page has been archived, and may no longer be up to date

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


Children awaiting cremation

Image | 3 December, 1984 at 2:00

Children awaiting cremation. A crowd watches as a man pastes identification labels onto dead children's foreheads. So many thousands had died so suddenly that these sorts of drastic measures were necessary to identify and document as many bodies...

Man carries the body of his wife past the

Image | 3 December, 1984 at 2:00

Man carries the body of his wife past the deserted Union Carbide factory, the source of the toxic gas that killed her the night before.

The morning after

Image | 3 December, 1984 at 2:00

The morning after. Survivors of the disaster stand in front of the Union Carbide factory one day after the lethal gas leak. Their eyes and lungs have been badly damaged by exposure to the gas.

GP activists under barrel dump platfrom GEM

Image | 1 July, 1981 at 3:00

GP activists under barrel dump platfrom GEM preventing nuclear dumping.

Greenpeace vessel Vega boarded by French

Image | 15 August, 1973 at 2:00

Greenpeace vessel Vega boarded by French commandos in Moruroa nuclear test zone. Skipper David McTaggart was hospitalised from his beating by commandos and almost lost the sight in one eye.

Dave Birmingham raises Greenpeace sail on

Image | 1 September, 1971 at 3:00

Dave Birmingham raises Greenpeace sail on Phyllis Cormack.

On board the Phyllis Cormack during Greenpeace

Image | 1 September, 1971 at 2:00

On board the Phyllis Cormack during Greenpeace first protest against nuclear testing off coast of Canada.

Bob Hunter and Ben Metcalfe on the Phyllis Cormack

Image | 9 July, 1971 at 2:00

Bob Hunter on Phyllis Cormack together with Ben Metcalfe en route to Amchitka to oppose US nuclear weapons testing.


Image | 18 December, 1970 at 2:00

Ooops. This 'underground' nuclear test in 1970 went badly. A ten-kiloton weapon, buried 900 feet in the ground, accidentally vented radiation 10,000 feet in the air, exposing test site employees and downwind communities to radioactive fallout.

1371 - 1379 of 1379 results.