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Marines hold nuclear site
Pittsburgh Tribune Review ^ | Wednesday, April 9, 2003 | Carl Prine

Posted on 04/09/2003 10:29:29 AM PDT by Ditto

Edited on 04/13/2004 2:02:56 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

SOUTH OF BAGHDAD In a valley sculpted by man, between the palms and roses, lies a vast marble and steel city known as Al-Tuwaitha.

In the suburbs about 18 miles south of the capital's suburbs, this city comprises nearly 100 buildings workshops, laboratories, cooling towers, nuclear reactors, libraries and barracks that belong to the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Breaking News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: altuwaitha; atomic; blix; cia; fedayeen; frenchnuclear; hamza; iaea; iraq; iraqinuclear; marines; nuclear; nuclearweapons; nuke; plutonium; radiation; seegar; semperfi; tierney; tuwaitha; un; unarmsinspections; unarmsinspectors; underground; unfailure; unitednations; unlegsinspectors; usmc; war; warlist; wmd
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To: Tatze
Carl Prine, the author of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review deserves a lot of credit, he broke the story, looks like others are picking it up from him.

I think he did a respectable job in checking his facts, he seemed to have talked to the Marines, and several scientists. Looks like a well researched article.

Amazing that AP, Reuters, CNN, FoxNews,etc. seems like they don't have a clue about this major news.

I am glad that WND picked it up, a lot of people read it, maybe eventually it will show up in the main news media.

This is totally amazing, that it has been ignored.

Thank goodness for Carl Prine, who recognized that this IS a big story.
161 posted on 04/09/2003 6:03:12 PM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: Ditto
162 posted on 04/09/2003 6:04:14 PM PDT by lonevoice
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To: jwalsh07
Read #140, it will turn on the lights.

Thanks! Interesting.

163 posted on 04/09/2003 6:07:51 PM PDT by meyer (how do I turn this thing off?)
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To: demlosers
The mysterious tunnels of Iraq are rumored to stretch for scores of kilometers (miles),...

A little off the topic, but notice how they think that they have to tell us that kilometers are a measurement akin to miles, but they don't tell us what a "score" is.

164 posted on 04/09/2003 6:10:13 PM PDT by meyer (how do I turn this thing off?)
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To: Ditto
You can do a search on "Al-Tuwaitha" at
and find things like this....


Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Center

al-Aseel / al-Diyalla Facility
33°12'30"N 44°31'30"E

The Iraqi nuclear weapons effort, which was directed from the PC-3 headquarters received raw uranium for processing from mines at Ukashat. Seven facilities were promiment in the calutron enrichment program. Four of these facilities, al-Jesira, al-Atheer and al-Rabbiyah and al-Dijjla at Zafaraniyah, had not been identified by American intelligence as being associated with the nuclear weapons program and consequently escaped any significant damage from coalition airstrikes during the Gulf War. The three other facilities -- Tuwaitha, Tarmiya, and al-Fajar -- were previoiusly identified by American intelligence as being associated with the nuclear weapons program and suffered extensive damage during the War. Baghdad was operating approximately 25 calutron units; 20 at Tarmiya where uranium was enriched to 35%, and 5 at Tuwaitha where enrichment levels of approximately 95% were achieved. Another program for the production of uranium under the Petrochemical-3 project used gas centrifuge enrichment, with two facilities at Al Furat and Rashidiya, and a third under construction at Taji.

Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center, located 18 km SSE of Baghdad, was the main site for Iraqi nuclear program. Tuwaitha is the location of the Osiraq reactor bombed by Israel in 1981. The Al Asil General Establishment at Al Tuweitha was the headquarters of the Iraqi Nuclear Commission. Activities included several research reactors, plutonium separation and waste processing, uranium metallurgy, neutron initiator development and work on number of methods of uranium enrichment. The Pure Lead Project at Al Tuweitha was engaged in the development of shielding for the nuclear weapons program.

At a location immediately outside Tuwaitha parts for the enrichment program were reportedly stored. Also outside Tuwaitha is a facility where magnetic coils and insulators were manufactured. Neither of these facilities were bombed during the Gulf War. Facility 416, the storage and warehouse area at Tuwaitha, was not at all damaged during the Gulf War. Facility 405 at Tuwaitha, operated by the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) and the basis for the 411 Program ( the al-Tarmiya enrichment facility), was probably totally destroyed. [GulfLINK]

Experiments on enrichment were conducted in the Laboratory Workshop Building (LWB). Operations in this building focused on the enrichment of uranium work included experiments with centrifuge, electromagnetic separator, and laser separation experiments. Also in this building was a group working on chemical processes using acetone. The "hot laboratories" were located in the lama building. [GulfLINK]

All nuclear fuel at this site was removed under IAEA monitoring. Equipment directly tied to the nuclear weapons program was destroyed in place.

In April 1991, Iraq’s inventory of safeguarded highly enriched uranium included 35.58 kilograms of U235 which had been irradiated but could not be readily used in weapons production since the fissile material would have been difficult to extract quickly from the irradiated fuel. This material was held at two storage locations: a fuel pond, which contained the reactor core and fuel storage racks; and an emergency storage where fueld from the Tammuz-2 reactor core and associated pond had been transferred during the Gulf War. This emergency storage, designated "location B", consisted of pits in a farmland area a few miles from the Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Center. [IAEA April 1992 ]

During the Gulf War the allied forces bombing of Iraqi facilities inflicted a maximum of 20 percent damage on the Iraqi nuclear weapons development program. Most of the damage occurred in two facilities--the headquarters (HQ) of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program, called the Tuwaitha or al-Diyalla facility, located on the southeastern edge of Baghdad, and the al-Safaa uranium enrichment factory located north of Baghdad. Allied forces bombing inflicted a great amount of damage on Tuwaitha; however, most of the facilities destroyed belonged to the Iraqi Nuclear Power Commission or were administrative facilities. The reactor building and a small test reactor, which remained from the time that Osirak was built both were destroyed. One production unit was damaged. This unit processed spent nuclear fuel and contained two hot cells for this purpose. Bombing of this unit caused some nuclear contamination. Because of the contamination, Tuwaitha was closed for two days after the bombing. The nuclear reactor building was damaged. The reactor inside the building was shut down before the gulf war. [GulfLINK]

The Al Tuwaitha nuclear center was extensively equipped with "hot cells" for dealing with radioactive material, although many were severely damaged during bombing. However, concern remained about possible reconstruction and future use of the undamaged cells. Therefore, during the seventh inspection, these cells were rendered harmless by cutting off the manipulator arms and control wires. Associated glove boxes were rendered useless by pouring cement into them. As a long-term measure, epoxy resin was used along with cement to render harmless the mixers-settlers. The seventh and eighth IAEA inspections revealed special equipment essential to the nuclear weaponization programme for warhead development and assembly as distinct from nuclear material production. Two special video cameras ("streak cameras") were removed from Iraq and other equipment was sealed pending decisions on removal, destruction or monitoring. [IAEA April 1992 ]

Sources and Resources

* Baghdad, Iraq, 12/22/1991

* Major Sites Associated With Iraq's Past WMD
Programs UNSCOM 3 December 1997

* Development of the Al-Tuwaitha Site: What If the Public or the IAEA had Overhead Imagery? by David Albright, Corey Hinderstein, and Khidhir Hamza, April 26, 1999.

165 posted on 04/09/2003 6:16:51 PM PDT by syriacus (Saddam's latest message was a very simple one: ... --- ... ... --- ... ... --- ...)
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To: Carry_Okie
"Nuclear Ractor Surfaces in Iraq"


Exactly. Saddam isn't supposed to have ANYTHING like this. It shows that he was much further along in his nuclear program, than many people thought and it will show the world that if we would had waited another 6 month or a year, it may have been too late.

The fact that the IAEA inspectors were there a couple of months ago and didn't find it, also proves that inspections were useless and those who kept wanting "more time" for the inspectors, will be left with looking as stupid, as they deserve to look, or COMPLICIT with Saddam.

Maybe France did know all about this -- they provided Saddam with the first nukes, maybe that is why Chirac was so adamant. He KNEW what we will find and of course there will be a trail to the source.
166 posted on 04/09/2003 6:16:57 PM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
Sea story?
167 posted on 04/09/2003 6:20:15 PM PDT by relee
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To: Gefreiter
"I hope the Marines were issued the M99A2 Lead-Lined jockstrap"

They don't need one, they have balls of brass !

168 posted on 04/09/2003 6:21:41 PM PDT by SENTINEL (USMC GWI)
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To: demlosers
It is amazing that AP buries this info in a middle of an article, talking about other things. And the title "US Forces go tunneling" doesn't even begin to give the impression of the magnitude of the revelations.

Do you get the feeling that maybe the main media is deliberately trying to bury this (pardon the pun), precisely because it vindicates completely our actions and answers the question "Why Iraq, why NOW?" -- because any later, it would be too late.

Is the media as deluded as the Iraqi info minister, and think that if they don't report it, this won't come out?

I think Rumsfeld is waiting for more info and so on, but I am sure he will mention it at some point.

What IS the matter with the media? They manage to report and hype insignificant things, and ignore a story as big as this.
169 posted on 04/09/2003 6:24:23 PM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: KansasConservative1
Can someone explain all the references to Christmas

Code/inside joke ?

170 posted on 04/09/2003 6:25:19 PM PDT by VRWC_minion (Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and most are right)
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To: meyer
"I suspect that they will want to check it and possibly clear it before reporting it."


That's fine, let them hop to it.
171 posted on 04/09/2003 6:25:27 PM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: FairOpinion
That's fine, let them hop to it.

They're hoppin'!

172 posted on 04/09/2003 6:26:44 PM PDT by meyer (how do I turn this thing off?)
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To: syriacus
So according to the FAS info, this site should be completely harmless.

Oviously it is far from that. Which goes back to how much Saddam was able to accomplish without most people being aware of it. OR they were aware and still didn't want us to go in.

Let's attack France next!
173 posted on 04/09/2003 6:28:02 PM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: kneezles
You gotta see this thread, bro...
174 posted on 04/09/2003 6:28:10 PM PDT by HiJinx (SFC, USA (Ret))
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To: FairOpinion
Do you get the feeling that maybe the main media is deliberately trying to bury this...

It won't matter if the media is under reporting this story if this is the real McCoy. The story will eventually explode.

175 posted on 04/09/2003 6:29:35 PM PDT by demlosers
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To: VRWC_minion
"Can someone explain all the references to Christmas"

"Code/inside joke ? "

The planned to send the card over here for us with the ready nuke to wish us "Merry Christmas"?

Remember the concern about the Soviet Union was that they would attack Christmas Eve?
176 posted on 04/09/2003 6:30:18 PM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: Gefreiter
Second, tell me again why Iraq, with #2 oil reserves on the planet, needs a nuclear reactor?

Because Chirac said they needed one.

177 posted on 04/09/2003 6:30:31 PM PDT by cinFLA
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To: demlosers
"The story will eventually explode. "


Better not use words like "explode" where nukes are concerned.
178 posted on 04/09/2003 6:31:54 PM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: XJarhead
Yes -

Rad levels high enough to give a person the symptoms described (vomiting after less than 3 hours exposure merely by walking INTO A ROOM with unshielded nuclear material) ARE found only after direct exposure to pre- and post-processed (exposed rad waste products) nuclear fuel. Consider that you can spend days (weeks even) camped out in a shutdown commercial power plant reactor and not get enough radiation exposure to cause vomiting. You can even spend days inside a US fuel-reprocessing plant and not get enough exposure to cause that kind of sickness.

Rad levels this high are NOT found in ANY power plants of ANY size at ANY location when the plant is shutdown. (Outside of the core itself that is - but, since exposed nuclear fuel IS the definition of a reactor core, what the inspectors missed/deliberately ignored is residue of their nuclear weapons program.) This type of contamination is like what was found when the Chernobyl reactor burned uncontrolled in the open air - and deposited raw chunks of core waste products on the fire fighters and plant workers.

The French have a good, reliable, safely controlled reactor program. They designed and built the Iraq reactor - and they DO NOT leave this kind of radiation exposed and unprotected. Power reactors of ANY NATION do NOT leave this kind of radioactive material levels stored in drums in underground caverns.

Covert, hidden fuel re-processing plants do.

Vomiting within 3 hours in healthy adult males from whole body gamma radiation occurs in fields higher than 300-600 Rads/hour. This is the ONLY radiation that a person could get exposed to by simply walking into a warehouse.

Heck, you don't get 600 Rad fields SWIMMING in the spent fuel pools of commercial reactors. (Diving to the bottom of the pool - maybe ..... Draining a commercial fuel pool, then walking between the exposed rods - well, that equals what the Marines are said to have found: stored exposed nuclear fuel, either before or after reprocessing for extracting the Pu239 for bombs.)


Then again, the UN inspectors were told to inspect the reactor site; and (technically speaking) these storage areas WERE outside of the fenced area of the reactor site. So I guess maybe the UN inspecctors were right: The hidden Iraq nuclear material WAS NOT stored at the site. The stored material was NOT in the area bombed either as the source you cited indicated - it was UNDERGROUND near the area that was bombed. And you don't need to be rock climbers to go underground and walk into a secret storage area. you just need unfettered access to the site, and a willingness to go look.

I agree, the nuclear material was not stored at the reactor site. It was stored under the site.

Or "next to" the site. ot outside the site.

Or something. Depends on what "is" is, I suppose.
179 posted on 04/09/2003 6:45:51 PM PDT by Robert A Cook PE (I support FR monthly; and ABBCNNBCBS (continue to) Lie!)
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To: FairOpinion
I think Rumsfeld is waiting for more info and so on, but I am sure he will mention it at some point.

Right. Don't worry, the truth will out. But don't get your hopes up too much, because the hard left will never believe any of it. In the meanwhile, early WMD reports are almost sure to be in error -- and I think I'm paraphrasing Rummy here.

The Iraqi nuclear program is superbly documented (read the book about it by Khidhir Hazma). So there is little suspense involved in this finding the smoking gun business. The Saddamites may have smuggled some of their bombmaking gear to Syria, but eventually we will find most of it.

180 posted on 04/09/2003 6:51:52 PM PDT by Steve Eisenberg
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