More locally, people in nearby villages are already suffering from radiation sickness. International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors, who returned last month, are restricted to securing a small area within the plant.
As many as four hundred looters a day have ransacked the hundred and twenty-acre al-Tuwaitha, the main location of Iraq’s former nuclear weapons programme. Raiders entered by cutting the surrounding barbed- wire fence. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seals placed during past inspections have been tampered with and metal containers of between three and four hundred kilograms of natural and low-enriched uranium and uranium oxide – yellowcake, or processed mined uranium – either stolen or tipped out.
The containers have been used for domestic purposes, such as milking cows and storing drinking water, milk and tomatoes. Some have been recovered by US ofﬁcials.