USA takes the U out of Iraq

12 July 2004

In total, 1.77 tonnes of 2.6% enriched uranium, 2.5kg of low-enriched uranium and 1000 radioactive sources were removed to an undisclosed DoE site for further characterisation and storage. Isotopes for medical, agricultural and industrial uses remain in the country.

Spencer Abraham, the US energy secretary, described the movement as a major achievement in president Bush’s efforts to keep such materials out of the reach of terrorists and rogue states.

Materials from Iraq’s weapons programme were consolidated and placed under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seal at Tuwaitha during the inspections that followed the Gulf War of 1991. In June 2003, during the chaotic days after the fall of the Ba’athist regime, local people dumped uranium on the ground and used the containers to hold drinking water. The IAEA was then invited back to secure the materials.

The IAEA was informed of the plans on 19 June and the move was made five days before the 28 June handover of sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government.

Steve Kidd April 2004 pullquote
Estimates of when the secondary supplies will run out have been continuously proven wrong, so the era of relatively eay supplies at low prices has become prolonged

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