Nuke 'yellowcake' from Iraq found?

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Lefty Wilbury, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. Lefty Wilbury
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    Lefty Wilbury Active Member

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    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=36632

    Nuke 'yellowcake' from Iraq found?
    IAEA probing discovery of uranium oxide in shipment of scrap steel

    Posted: January 15, 2004
    9:25 p.m. Eastern



    © 2004 WorldNetDaily.com

    A shipment of scrap steel believed to be from Iraq contains radioactive material known as yellowcake, according to a recycling company in the Netherlands.

    The shipment was passed on from a Jordanian metal dealer who claims he was unaware it included uranium oxide, the Associated Press reported.

    The material, which can be used to make nuclear weapons, was at the center of a controversy last year over President Bush's reference in his State of the Union address to a report Iraq was seeking to purchase it in Africa.

    Key documents supporting the claim were found later to be forgeries, but the U.S. said its original information about the alleged attempt to buy yellowcake from Niger came from British intelligence. The UK's Foreign Office still stands on its claim.

    Paul de Bruin, spokesman for Rotterdam-based Jewometaal, told the AP he has dealt with the Jordanian dealer for 15 years, and the man is convinced the material came from Iraq. De Bruin has been told to not reveal the dealer's name, however, because the find is being investigated.

    Uranium oxide is not radioactive, experts say, but with advanced technology can be processed into enriched uranium, suitable for a nuclear weapon.

    The Dutch Environment Ministry confirmed yesterday Jewometaal reported the find Dec. 16, the AP said.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency visited Rotterdam Wednesday but had no further comment, the newswire reported.

    Environment Ministry spokesman Wim Van der Weegen said the material was discovered in a small steel industrial container used to connect pipes or electrical wires.

    Dr. Alan Ketering, a researcher at the nuclear research plant at the University of Missouri-Columbia, told the AP yellowcake has no non-nuclear industrial use. It would be strange to find it in random scrap metal, he said.
     
  2. Lefty Wilbury
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    Lefty Wilbury Active Member

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    http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-eur/2004/jan/15/011504943.html


    Source of Rotterdam Yellowcake Probed
    By TOBY STERLING
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - A recycling company found uranium oxide - a radioactive material also known as yellowcake - in a shipment of scrap steel it believes originally came from Iraq, the company said Thursday.

    Paul de Bruin, spokesman for Rotterdam-based Jewometaal, said that the shipment was passed on last month from a Jordan metal dealer who was unaware it contained any forbidden materials.

    "I've dealt with this man for 15 years and he says he's sure it came from Iraq," De Bruin said. He said Jewometaal had been asked not to reveal the name of the Jordanian exporter while the find was being investigated.

    Nuclear experts say that although not highly radioactive, uranium oxide can be processed into enriched uranium usable in a nuclear weapon - but highly advanced technology is needed.

    The Dutch Environment Ministry confirmed Thursday that Jewometaal reported the unusual find on Dec. 16. After a preliminary investigation by a company that specializes in removing radioactive waste, the Dutch government decided to call in the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate further.

    A spokesman for the IAEA confirmed the agency had visited Rotterdam on Wednesday but had no further comment.

    Environment ministry spokesman Wim van der Weegen said scrap metal companies in the Rotterdam port, which is Europe's largest, report around 200 findings of radioactive material per year, often from old hospital equipment or normal industrial uses.

    But the finding of an estimated two pounds of uranium oxide is odd, Van der Weegen said.

    Experts said that around 2 pounds of yellowcake, the amount found, would not be useful for either a bomb or fuel.

    Dr. Alan Ketering, a researcher at the nuclear research plant at the University of Missouri-Columbia, said yellowcake contains less than 1 percent of U-235 used in nuclear weapons. He said it would need to be refined many times with sophisticated technology before it was dangerous - and the amount found in Rotterdam would not be nearly enough.

    "Anybody can dig it up and purify it to make the yellow stuff," he said. "It's the separation of U-235 that people are concerned about."

    However, he said there was no obvious non-nuclear industrial use for yellowcake and it would be strange to find it in random scrap metal.

    The material was found in a small steel industrial container apparently used to connect pipes or electrical wires, Environment Ministry spokesman Van der Weegen said.

    He said it wasn't yet known where the yellowcake originated.

    "It could be from anywhere in the world," Van der Weegen said. After testing, the material was shipped to a nuclear waste plant in the Netherlands.

    Jordan does not have any known nuclear power plants or weapons and is a signatory to the nuclear test ban treaty.

    President Bush came under heavy criticism last year when he asserted in his State of the Union address that Iraq was shopping in Africa for uranium yellowcake - intelligence that turned out to be based on forged documents.

    The original suspicions apparently came from a British dossier and Britain's Foreign Office continued to maintain Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Niger, although no evidence was offered.

    Last year, the United States agreed to pay $3.4 million to install radioactivity detectors in Rotterdam to scan a fraction of the 6 million containers that pass through it annually for hidden radioactive material.

    However, scrap metal companies are already outfitted with detectors, and Jewometaal found the radioactive material with its own equipment.
     
  3. Lefty Wilbury
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    Lefty Wilbury Active Member

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    http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGA0R96IIPD.html

    IAEA Confirms Yellowcake Found in Rotterdam Likely From Iraq
    By Toby Sterling Associated Press Writer
    Published: Jan 16, 2004

    AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog confirmed Friday that Iraq was the likely source of radioactive material known as yellowcake that was found in a shipment of scrap metal at Rotterdam harbor.

    Yellowcake, or uranium oxide, could be used to build a nuclear weapon, although it would take tons of the substance refined with sophisticated technology to harvest enough uranium for a single bomb.

    A spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency said the Rotterdam specimen was scarcely refined at all from natural uranium ore and may have come from a known mine in Iraq that was active before the 1991 Gulf War.

    "I wouldn't hype it too much," said spokeswoman Melissa Fleming. "It was a small amount and it wasn't being peddled as a sample."

    The yellowcake was uncovered Dec. 16 by Rotterdam-based scrap metal company Jewometaal, which had received it in a shipment of scrap metal from a dealer in Jordan.

    Company spokesman Paul de Bruin said the Jordanian dealer didn't know that the scrap metal contained any radioactive material. He said the dealer was confident the yellowcake, which was contained in a small steel industrial container, came from Iraq.

    Jewometaal detected the radioactive material during a routine scan and called in the Dutch government, which in turn asked the IAEA to examine it.

    Fleming said the agency will compare the chemical composition of the sample to other samples of ore taken from Iraq's al-Qaim mine, which was bombed in 1991 and dismantled in 1996-97.

    She estimated that the Rotterdam sample contained around 5 1/2 pounds of uranium oxide.

    President Bush came under heavy criticism last year when he asserted in his State of the Union address that Iraq was shopping in Africa for uranium yellowcake - intelligence that turned out to be based on forged documents.

    AP-ES-01-16-04 1204EST
     
  4. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Confirmed by AP... very interesting. I wonder if they have found more of it. Obviously, the 5 1/2 pounds is not enough for a nuclear weapon, but I wonder if they would attempt to make a dirty bomb out of such material?
     
  5. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    it would have to be processed first and I think I read that they didn't have the technology for that.
     
  6. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    Yes, the Foreign Office still stands by its claim because Tony Blair's political ass is on the line.
     
  7. bamthin
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    If Iraq was mining this stuff domestically in 1991 before the mine was destroyed I can't see how they could determine when it was mined or imported. U-238, the principle component of yellow cake, has a half-life of like 4.5 billion years.

    What I found alarming was the amount of depleted uranium that is littering Iraq now. Like 75 tons of it. I guess there is some question as to how dangerous this stuff is if it is inhaled or ingested. It is linked to kidney damage and cancer. I sure hope the US does their best to clean all that stuff up.

    -Bam
     

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