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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

 

The Fukushima nuclear waste crisis is a human rights violation

Blog entry by Shaun Burnie | 15 December, 2017

Nuclear waste storage area in Iitate, Fukushima prefecture in Japan (Oct 2017). Traditional early morning Japanese breakfast, briefing on objectives, equipment check and drive into the beautiful mountainous forests of this region:...

7 air pollution hacks to help protect your family

Blog entry by Richard Casson | 11 December, 2017 1 comment

One question we often get asked at Greenpeace is: “what's the best way to protect myself from air pollution?” With news articles warning that  5.5 million people worldwide die prematurely every year  as a result of breathing...

The mysterious radioactive cloud—why the ruthenium-106 story matters

Blog entry by Jan Haverkamp, Andrey Allakhverdov | 27 November, 2017 7 comments

A week ago, the Russian meteorological service, Roshydromet, reacted to a month-long standing request for information from Greenpeace. It triggered extraordinary interest among journalists world-wide in a rather unknown bit of nuclear...

Nuclear security: power plants are poorly protected against malicious acts

Blog entry by Mehdi Leman | 10 October, 2017 2 comments

The nuclear power plants around us are “ The Sword of Damocles ” over our heads. A new report by independent experts, submitted to authorities in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg, questions security at French and...

"...People have become a sort of radioactive waste."

Blog entry by Jan Haverkamp | 29 September, 2017 7 comments

Those words were spoken to me by the Russian human rights lawyer, Nadezhda Kutepova. For years she, with her NGO, Planet of Hopes, defended people who suffer in one of the most radioactively polluted places on this planet: the area...

The beginning of the end for nuclear weapons

Blog entry by Jen Maman | 20 September, 2017

"I have been waiting for this day for seven decades and I am overjoyed that it has finally arrived,” said Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow in July, when a new treaty banning nuclear weapons was agreed at the United Nations in New...

Can the world come to its senses on nuclear weapons?

Blog entry by Bunny McDiarmid | 29 August, 2017 3 comments

Looking back, one of the key moments that was to define both my professional and personal path was the moment I stepped onto the small atoll of Rongelap, in the Pacific Ocean. It was 17 May 1985 and I was 24 years old. At first...

72 years after Hiroshima, where is Japan’s commitment to end nuclear weapons?

Blog entry by Yuko Yoneda | 4 August, 2017

Even with the passing of the UN’s Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, Japan still remains an outlier, betraying the hopes of atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki . It started with just 12 of them. With a bold mission, this...

Historic day at the UN: Nuclear weapons are now banned under international law

Blog entry by Jen Maman | 7 July, 2017 3 comments

Today at the UN Headquarters in New York, a global treaty banning nuclear weapons has been adopted.  This is an historic moment: according to the treaty, to possess and develop nuclear weapons is now illegal under international law.

Chernobyl: lessons not learned

Blog entry by Rashid Alimov | 25 April, 2017 2 comments

A greyish brick building with a bust of Lenin in front of it. A school in Stariye Bobovichi in the Bryansk region of Russia. There could be something nostalgic about this picture, were it not for the feeling of danger it gives. When...

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