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550 Metric Tons of Uranium Removed From Iraq

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the war-on-gas-prices dept.

Power 647

Orion Blastar tips us to an AP report that 550 metric tons of "yellowcake" uranium has successfully been removed from Iraq. The operation lasted three months, and it required 37 separate flights and an 8,500-mile trip by boat to reach a port in Montreal. Quoting: "While yellowcake alone is not considered potent enough for a so-called 'dirty bomb' -- a conventional explosive that disperses radioactive material -- it could stir widespread panic if incorporated in a blast. Yellowcake also can be enriched for use in reactors and, at higher levels, nuclear weapons using sophisticated equipment. The Iraqi government sold the yellowcake to a Canadian uranium producer, Cameco Corp., in a transaction the official described as worth 'tens of millions of dollars.' A Cameco spokesman, Lyle Krahn, declined to discuss the price, but said the yellowcake will be processed at facilities in Ontario for use in energy-producing reactors."

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647 comments

Thanks, media, (5, Insightful)

Adreno (1320303) | about 6 years ago | (#24075517)

... for at least keeping this ONE story under wraps until a prudent moment!

Re:Thanks, media, (1, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 years ago | (#24075683)

At least they did .. id have expected them to hide this one until the very end.

Its not the 'smoking gun' that would finally exonerate Mr Bush, but it sure does point in the right direction. ( even tho we went to iraq for several reasons all supported by international treaty violations, its the WMD line item that irrational people seem to desperately latch onto as the ' i told ya so' )

Re:Thanks, media, (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075733)

Yes, the yellowcake we knew they had since the UN inspectors bagged and tagged it a decade and half or so ago.

That's what Bush meant by WMDs...

Why he didn't just say "the WMDs we left there last time" I'll never know.

Re:Thanks, media, (1, Insightful)

mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) | about 6 years ago | (#24075739)

So, I think any rational person would agree Iraq probably has not nuclear weapons, however, as for WMDSs, generally that category includes chemical and biological weapons. Saddam launched mustard gas as the Kurds regularly. Chemical weapon if I ever saw one...

Re:Thanks, media, (5, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | about 6 years ago | (#24076027)


Reminds me of the sketch on Bremner, Bird and Fortune (British satirical show) where the Defence Minister was being interviewed.
Interviewer: How did you know that Saddam had these weapons? Minister: Well, ah... receipts, mostly.

Yes indeed. The UK sold both chemical weapons and obvious CWpn precursors to Iraq.

But before that's used as support for Iraq having WMD (as the USA and UK of course both do), experts agreed that such weapons were volatile and would long since have expired at the time of the invasion of Iraq by the US led coalition in March 2003. Had concern about WMD been the real motivation, then Hans Blix of the UN would have been allowed to finish his inspection. The Iraqis were co-operating after all. However, this couldn't be allowed as he would have returned a verdict of "no WMD" and the US and UK's pitiful excuse would have exploded completely.

The question of why the US has the right to possess the world's largest arsenal yet tell other people they must remain unarmed, is a separate issue, of course. But as there were no WMD (stupid term), it doesn't arise except as a means of highlighting hypocracy.

Re:Thanks, media, (5, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#24076011)

How does it even point in the right direction for exonerating Bush?

Try reading the article. I know it's a lot of words and all that, but persevere till the bitter middle and you will find:

"Israeli warplanes bombed a reactor project at the site in 1981. Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said."

In case your memory needs refreshing, the first US vs Iraq war was in 1991 and there was great worldwide support for it. The next US vs Iraq war was in 2003 and there was not much support for it worldwide (I'm sure you still wonder why).

I bet the most US people seeing the headlines will think a similar way - "Hey Bush was right".

So it's going to be yet another wonderful "mission accomplished" by the "news people". Like shooting fish in the barrel.

Thanks media alright.

Re:Thanks, media, (1, Troll)

Orion Blastar (457579) | about 6 years ago | (#24076047)

Well it is enough to create "reasonable doubt" in any impeachment trial. I think I said that before on Slashdot when many claimed Saddam didn't even have yellow cake uranium, but in the end the truth comes out.

Re:Thanks, media, (0, Troll)

alexj33 (968322) | about 6 years ago | (#24076051)

For all the people who doubted for the last 5 years, we now allow you to put forth your cries of repentance.

Sounds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075529)

delicious

Time to bomb Quebec (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075537)

We can't let those French Canadians have nuclear weapons!

Re:Time to bomb Quebec (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075619)

Ontario != Quebec.

Also, as we say in Quebec, "fuck you". Don't you dare compare us to France, it's insulting.

Re:Time to bomb Quebec (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075643)

Insulting to the French maybe. Not you whining crybaby Quebeckers.

But Qwebec uses the French Franc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075763)

Or did you also switch to the Euro-dollar?

Re:Time to bomb Quebec (4, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#24075923)

Don't you dare compare us to France, it's insulting

Yeah it's insulting to be compared to a country with a lasting cultural influence and relevance who doesn't have to spell stop 'ARRET' rather than 'STOP' (as in France) on stop signs to ensure the survival of its dialect among its very population. Half of your cultural impact on the rest of the world was in the movie Titanic's title song.

Tabarnac, you just got pwné!

(Retroactive disclaimer : I'm French, could you tell?)

Re:Time to bomb Quebec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24076087)

Amusing rant indeed :-)

I'm neither French nor Quebecois nor Canadian (however I wish sometimes) but Quebec is way cooler than France...for no obvious reasons though.

Re:Time to bomb Quebec (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#24076165)

Quebec is way cooler than France

Oh, well, I'm not sure that qualifies as an achievement ;-). Disclaimer : this is coming from someone who fled France as soon as possible for Ireland, without any prior knowledge of the country or any job there. That's how cool France is.

So, the Bush Administration WAS RIGHT !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075635)

Yellowcake from Niger (Africa). WMDs !! All TRUE !! Now you know why we RE-elected George W. Bush to FOUR MORE YEARS !! He was right ALL ALONG !! I'd give him FOUR MORE YEARS if he'd wipe out Iran. JeeeeeHAAAHDDDD !!

Re:So, the Bush Administration WAS RIGHT !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075685)

proud to be an american, are you? 4 more years? are you insane?

Re:So, the Bush Administration WAS RIGHT !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075741)

If you consider half the world's population are blooming idiots (IQ 100) ......

This is sarcasm right? (4, Informative)

Woundweavr (37873) | about 6 years ago | (#24076147)

"Israeli warplanes bombed a reactor project at the site in 1981. Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said."

Re:Time to bomb Quebec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075661)

We can't let those French Canadians have nuclear weapons!

Yes, I know you're being funny, but Quebec already has a number of nuclear reactors. I remember going on a tour of one back when I in high school (the 1980s).

Re:Time to bomb Quebec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075821)

"A number of nuclear reactors"? All you can say is that Quebec had at least one nuclear reactor in the 1980s. See this page [york.ac.uk] for background.

Re:Time to bomb Quebec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075903)

"A number of nuclear reactors"? All you can say is that Quebec had at least one nuclear reactor in the 1980s.

No, I can say that Quebec had at least two nuclear reactors in the 1980s. Why? Because I saw two of them with my own eyes.

And I also know that it is bad form to start a sentence with the word because. I don't care.

Re:Time to bomb Quebec (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075667)

Just drop deodorant on them and they'll surrender promptly. After all, then are French Canadians.

Re:Time to bomb Quebec (3, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | about 6 years ago | (#24075841)

"We can't let those French Canadians have nuclear weapons!"

Don't worry. Intel says they've hired Newfies to weaponize it and yellowcake cannon balls aren't much threat...

Re:Time to bomb Quebec (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075885)

You have the support of all Canadians who live outside of Quebec.

Re:Time to bomb Quebec (1)

mistahkurtz (1047838) | about 6 years ago | (#24075953)

no no no. leave quebec out of it, they at least produce good music out of montreal. open game on the rest of the country though. (what do they do there?)

Troll prophylactic... (4, Interesting)

tsm_sf (545316) | about 6 years ago | (#24075545)

From TFA:

And, in a symbolic way, the mission linked the current attempts to stabilize Iraq with some of the high-profile claims about Saddam's weapons capabilities in the buildup to the 2003 invasion.

Accusations that Saddam had tried to purchase more yellowcake from the African nation of Niger -- and an article by a former U.S. ambassador refuting the claims -- led to a wide-ranging probe into Washington leaks that reached high into the Bush administration.

Tuwaitha and an adjacent research facility were well known for decades as the centerpiece of Saddam's nuclear efforts.

Israeli warplanes bombed a reactor project at the site in 1981. Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said.

Re:Troll prophylactic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075663)

Troll prophylactic...

You're assuming trolls know how to read.

Which African nation? (0, Flamebait)

mangu (126918) | about 6 years ago | (#24075843)

tried to purchase more yellowcake from the African nation of Niger

That nation's name is enough to make trolls drool. But, of course, you should have misspelled it with an extra "g"...

Re:Troll prophylactic... (5, Insightful)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about 6 years ago | (#24075861)

What is your point?

Bush did not make an argument about Yellowcake that Saddam had. He said he was buying more... which ... was...a... LIE.

Canada.... (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 6 years ago | (#24075557)

I would have waited until AFTER Dick Cheney left the White House to be seen buying Uranium....esp. with all that oil you have up there......

Re:Canada.... (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 6 years ago | (#24075773)

with all that oil you have up there......

It's not Oil [wikipedia.org] that Canada has that makes us so interested. It is in fact Oil Shale [wikipedia.org] . Which requires one to pay a tremendous cost (water, environment, energy) to develop the Kerogen [wikipedia.org] into usable liquid hydrocarbons.

It's not worth the energy and materials needed IMHO.

Re:Canada.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075869)

Not oil shale - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar_sands [wikipedia.org]

Re:Canada.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075813)

you're aware that canada is one of the largest producer of uranium right?

550 metric tons is a drop in the bucket compared to the ~11500 tons per year production, around 30% of the world's total output

obligatory lame soviet joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075561)

in iraq yellow cakes you

Homer (4, Funny)

mrbill1234 (715607) | about 6 years ago | (#24075569)

Mmmmmmmmm, Yellowcake.

Can we build more nuclear reactors now? (2, Interesting)

w3woody (44457) | about 6 years ago | (#24075589)

According to Xemplar Energy [xemplar.ca] , the energy in one pound of yellowcake is equivalent to the energy in 31 barrels of fuel oil. So that 550 metric tons could keep 30 nuclear reactors going for a year.

Since there is so much yellow cake in the world that they're literally tripping over it in a country everyone knew had none--the stuff must have been naturally occurring and just sitting around in "bunkers" eroded from underground water formations, since we all know Iraq wasn't importing the stuff or planning to use the stuff--it tells me there is more than enough uranium yellowcake in the world to power our needs virtually forever.

Now if we can just build a few more nuclear reactors...

Re:Can we build more nuclear reactors now? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075647)

Furthermore, it's truly quite amazing how Bush manipulated the intelligence to show that Iraq had WMDs, even going so far as to manipulate Russia's, Jordan's, France's et al intelligence to show the same thing. He even went back in time and had the Carnegie Institute write the book Deadly Arsenals which outlined Iraq's WMD program, and of course while he was back in time had the Clinton Administration link Iraq with Al Qaeda just to show off. A truly impressive whitewash that no one has been able to uncover with a 5-second google search.

Re:Can we build more nuclear reactors now? (3, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | about 6 years ago | (#24076045)

As much as I *hate* to stick up for Bush, the truth of the matter is that Saddam bluffed and we called him on it. He did everything he could to make everyone believe he had WMDs.

That still doesn't justify the invasion, and it doesn't justify the continuing occupation.

Re:Can we build more nuclear reactors now? (1)

llamaxing (895844) | about 6 years ago | (#24075815)

More reactors? Excellent!

Re:Can we build more nuclear reactors now? (1)

Scynet85 (933220) | about 6 years ago | (#24076093)

There's a lot more, ironically. Accodring to this Slate article, 64,000 tons of yellowcake is produced worldwide annually: http://www.slate.com/id/2085848/ [slate.com] Puts things into perspective, at least.

Everybody panic! (4, Insightful)

slittle (4150) | about 6 years ago | (#24075593)

While yellowcake alone is not considered potent enough for a so-called 'dirty bomb' -- a conventional explosive that disperses radioactive material -- it could stir widespread panic if incorporated in a blast.

So the primary hazard is mass panic.. exactly the same as a (uranium based) radiological dispersion device (dirty bomb) then. Also not too dissimilar to what the US have been doing for the last 5 years - shooting uranium all over the place.

Re:Everybody panic! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075951)

It is exactly the same danger as dispersing a lot of tiny pieces of paper that have "this paper is ricin contaminated" written on them. Considering that Iran is known to have paper mills...

Re:Everybody panic! (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about 6 years ago | (#24076033)

I dont buy this idea that yellowcake uranium would not pose human health risks. Its a heavy metal, and there are reports of damage to internal organs and harm from it. Breathing this stuff would also be bad. The DU you mention has been used extensively in iraq since 1991 and there has been a drastic increase in cancer and birth defects in iraq since. The DU produces levels of radioactivity far higher than safe limits. The use of DU is truly a crime against humanity, it is the same as litering the country with landmines so people are being blown up long after you have left, in fact far worse. the DU will be there for billions of years and it is very hard to decontaminate an area compared with demining. The people in the area suffer terribly from the diseases from DU exposure. It is as bad as the agent orange atrocity we inflicted on the people of vietnam, and perhaps worse.

Quick question (2, Insightful)

edalytical (671270) | about 6 years ago | (#24075595)

Is there any radioactive material that is potent enough for a dirty bomb? Wouldn't blowing the material up just spread it out so that it's doesn't emit enough rem to do damage?

Even if you could find a material potent enough how would you store it? How would you move the bomb into a strategic position without killing yourself from radiation poisoning?

I think a dirty bomb is about the dumbest idea I've ever heard.

Re:Quick question (4, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 6 years ago | (#24075679)

You choose a material that is biologically available. Then that brings strong alpha emitters up close to cells in the body. For example you might want something that could replace small amounts of calcium in people's bones and teeth with a radioactive isotope. Or something that would replace carbon in the fat in internal organ, skin and brain. That way when you spread the radioactive material far it can quickly be concentrated into human beings doint maximum damage. It also can decimate the environment due to bio-accumulation.

Re:Quick question (2, Insightful)

kesuki (321456) | about 6 years ago | (#24075789)

there is at least one radioactive element dirty enough.

do you remember the UK person who was 'poisoned' on an airplane with a microscopic dose of a radioactive element and then died 2 weeks later, as well as the person who targeted him? (apparently the assassin got enough contact with the stuff to die himself!) very nasty, the main problem being, how do you refine enough of that highly toxic stuff, since only machines can safely handle the stuff,

oh yeah, i think it's also very rare, and perhaps a byproduct of manufacturing weapons grade radioactive stuff.

but IMO if you really want to be a terrorist, instead of focusing on humans, you'd try to get mad cow diseased meat into the US food supply. as i recall, just from 3 cows with the disease caused japan to stop importing US beef, imagine if you could get a hundred cows of diseased meat into the food supply!

the Us beef industry would practically collapse, nobody would want to import US beef. even Americans might stop eating so much beef, if the problem kept cropping up.

Re:Quick question (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 6 years ago | (#24076183)

> Is there any radioactive material that is potent enough for a dirty bomb? Wouldn't blowing the material up just spread it out so that it's doesn't emit enough rem to do damage?

Plutonium would do quite nicely, even if it wasn't radioactive, its toxicity would be enough.

Re:Quick question (1)

hardburn (141468) | about 6 years ago | (#24076203)

Is there any radioactive material that is potent enough for a dirty bomb? Wouldn't blowing the material up just spread it out so that it's doesn't emit enough rem to do damage?

Yup. A dirty bomb is unlikely to have significant direct impact. However, it would have a big secondary psychological impact of causing mass panic. So it's a terror weapon rather than anything a legitimate military would use.

Wow. So a lot of that was much ado about nothing? (1, Insightful)

Sj0 (472011) | about 6 years ago | (#24075597)

So all the fuss about Bush lying about Saddam trying to get large quantities of yellowcake was pretty much blustering and arm waving on both sides of the political aisle over nothing, eh?

I mean, if the guy already had 550 tonnes of the stuff, why should the right make it a big deal that he's looking for more? I'm certain you can get enough fissionable material from 550 tonnes of yellowcake to make a good bomb or two.

Also, on the left, if the guy already had 550 tonnes of the stuff, why make this big deal out of the fact that it turned out to be a lie that he was trying to acquire more? If a guy already has a gun with half a clip in it, does it really make him less dangerous if he's not out looking for the rest of the clip?

Re:Wow. So a lot of that was much ado about nothin (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075617)

Well, as the old proverb goes, "Better half a clip than no clip at all."

The point was the lie itself (5, Insightful)

MarkusQ (450076) | about 6 years ago | (#24075719)

why make this big deal out of the fact that it turned out to be a lie that he was trying to acquire more?

Maybe because the lie was used to trick the American people into starting a war that has cost us hundreds of billions of dollars, wrecked our economy, undermined our position in the world and put us in a far less secure position, killed hundreds of thousands of people, destabilized the middle east, and lined the pockets of the friends and supporters of the people who told the lie with money stolen from the US treasury on the basis of that lie?

The problem was it was a lie, crafted and used to achieve a specific dishonorable result. The fact that other claims that could have been made about superficially similar subjects were true (and were known to be true at the time) has absolutely no bearing on the situation.

--MarkusQ

Re:The point was the lie itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075807)

Why is parent modded redundant. GP asked, P answered.

Re:The point was the lie itself (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075827)

"...has absolutely no bearing on the situation."

Bullshit. This is just one of the things that proves that Saddam had what we thought he did.

All you're rattling on about this and that has "no bearing on the situation", as you put it.

Sorry, but you're just wrong. You're too blind with hate to see that.

Re:The point was the lie itself (-1, Flamebait)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | about 6 years ago | (#24076113)

The problem was it was a lie,

President Bush didn't lie about anything re:Iraq. If you've got a problem with anything he said, take it up with the intelligence community.

Screaming "he lied! he lied!" doesn't make it so. Much like a fat man wanting to believe the tray of cookies he just ate are calorie free doesn't make it to. ;)

mmm. Cookies....

Re:Wow. So a lot of that was much ado about nothin (5, Informative)

default luser (529332) | about 6 years ago | (#24075769)

Further: the reason Saddam had the Yellowcake was because he was actually putting together a nuclear reactor [wikipedia.org] back in the 1980s. Thanks to bombings by Israel and the US, Saddam had no choice but to sit on the damaged reactors and fuel, and try to build a nuclear research program.

The fact that the nuclear fuel he'd had for years is completely unenriched just tells you how little cash he had to spend on the program. Simple fact: nuclear programs are fucking expensive, because enrichment is not a simple process. This is why I laughed my ass off when Bush claimed that Iraq might have a nuclear program to fear, even after we bombed them to the stone age in 1991, and then strangled their international trade for the next decade. Complete bullshit!

It was in Iraq but Saddam coudln't get it (5, Informative)

jfengel (409917) | about 6 years ago | (#24075809)

From TFA:

U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said.

This was old yellowcake from the first Iraqi attempt at a nuke plant (which the Israelis bombed in 1981). Saddam couldn't use it because there were UN inspectors watching it.

So it was plausible that he might want some, but not true that he tried to get it from Niger. That was concocted evidence.

Re:Wow. So a lot of that was much ado about nothin (2, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 6 years ago | (#24075915)

I mean, if the guy already had 550 tonnes of the stuff, why should the right make it a big deal that he's looking for more? I'm certain you can get enough fissionable material from 550 tonnes of yellowcake to make a good bomb or two.

Nuclear bombs aren't like gunpowder. You can't build them by mixing uranium with charcoal in your backyard.

And that assumes you have uranium at all. The yellowcake would have to be heavily refined ("enriched") first, by spinning it in a centrifuge an unbelievable number of times to separate the heavier isotopes from the lighter ones. It takes years to produce any appreciable amount of weapons-grade uranium. So Yellowcake is about as easy to turn into nuclear weapons as raw iron ore can be turned into fighter airplanes: You need knowledge, manpower, technology and years of work.

That's why the claim that Saddam was trying to buy yellowcake was not so much a big deal but rather ridiculous - whether or not it was true, he couldn't have done anything useful with that stuff for many years, during which he could not have kept his intentions hidden.

Re:Wow. So a lot of that was much ado about nothin (2, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | about 6 years ago | (#24076003)

So Yellowcake is about as easy to turn into nuclear weapons as raw iron ore can be turned into fighter airplanes

Heh. I'd love to see the airplane you'd make out of iron. Iron is very very heavy. A better way to put it would have been "...as raw bauxite can be turned into fighter airplanes", as they are largely made of aluminum, not iron.

The cake wasn't a lie? (3, Funny)

mseidl (828824) | about 6 years ago | (#24075607)

I'm shocked.

Re:The cake wasn't a lie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24076083)

Well played, good sir.

Like comparing rust to steel (5, Insightful)

MarkusQ (450076) | about 6 years ago | (#24075611)

Yellowcake also can be enriched for use in reactors and, at higher levels, nuclear weapons...

Why do people always feel the need to stress that yellowcake could be made into weapons, no matter how far from being a weapon it presently is? It's like saying:

Rust also can be smelted for use in cast iron lawn ornaments and, at higher levels, steel tools...

...though making a high quality steel tool from rust is significantly easier than making a weapon from yellowcake. The ubiquitous anti-nuke meme (it's radioactive, be afraid!)? Or just boilerplate like measuring energy use in average households equivalents or heavy things in adult male elephants?

-- MarkusQ

Re:Like comparing rust to steel (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 years ago | (#24075791)

Not trying to be a smart-ass here, but can you name another reason for a country to actively obtain and store uranium ( in any form ) other then to use it for either power generation or weapons?

Its not like it was just laying around, like the rusty lawn ornament example you give in comparison. ( nor is anyone collecting the rust...)

Re:Like comparing rust to steel (1)

Anonymatt (1272506) | about 6 years ago | (#24075893)

Your point makes sense regarding how we think of most world leaders, but I always think of dictators as being the particularly nasty little kid down the block. You remember the kid that would be mean to animals and collect pieces of contraband just for the hell of it. A collection of useless, unrelated doo-dads shown off with a slightly malevolent vibe: "I stole this from a construction site. Here are some shotgun shells. A page from a porno mag. A pocket knife. A [souvenir] bullwhip." Or maybe I'm totally naive.

Re:Like comparing rust to steel (2, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 years ago | (#24075959)

Uranium, due to it's huge number of electronic states, actually makes a pretty good radiation shield. It also makes decent fishing weights, armor plates.. a number of uses of uranium are listed here [wikipedia.org]

Re:Like comparing rust to steel (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075999)

It's remnants from when Saddam did have a nuclear program. From the article,

Israeli warplanes bombed a reactor project at the site in 1981. Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said.

Re:Like comparing rust to steel (0)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 6 years ago | (#24075865)

Why do people always feel the need to stress that yellowcake could be made into weapons, no matter how far from being a weapon it presently is?

The answer to this is that yellowcake was being accumulated by a madman who would have made it into a weapon given enough time.

Re:Like comparing rust to steel (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | about 6 years ago | (#24075971)

How much time exactly? Because it took Kim Jong Il decades with a lot of help and huge portions of the country's budget (at the expense of its people) going towards making a bomb that most scientists agree was a dud. Making a nuclear weapon takes extreme precision and careful refining. Just because Saddam had the material doesn't mean he had the ability or the resources to weaponize it. He may have wanted to do so, I don't know, but his ability to do so wasn't very likely.

Fixed that for you (2, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | about 6 years ago | (#24076071)

The answer to this is that yellowcake had been accumulated by a madman who would have liked to make it into a weapon if he had been given enough time which he wasn't.

The yellowcake in question has been sitting there for close to twenty years, maybe longer. Sadam might have had dreams of making a weapon with it back in the 1980's, when he had (or thought he had) support from the US, but the program was shut down dead by the early nineties and never got going again. Nor would it have even without the US led invasion and occupation. To say that it "was being accumulated," etc. grossly misstates the actual situation.

--MarkusQ

Re:Like comparing rust to steel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075871)

Maybe because the HARDEST part of the process is getting the yellowcake?

Your comparison is really not an apt one, hopefully this will clear it up a little.

Nuts (5, Informative)

MarkusQ (450076) | about 6 years ago | (#24076009)

Maybe because the HARDEST part of the process is getting the yellowcake?

Nuts. Unless you've got some super secret enrichment technique that you haven't shared with the rest of us, you are quite simply dead wrong. Yellowcake is just a mix of uranium salts, and making it is no more complicated than any typical mining operation; drill some holes, crush some rock, and leach the minerals out with a suitable leaching agent. Dry the result and repeat. You don't need specialized equipment, or even a great deal of skill. It is a low tech, low precision step.

Enrichment, on the other hand, is a bear, requiring precision engineering, lots of finiky equipment, and a great deal of skill.

--MarkusQ

Re:Like comparing rust to steel (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | about 6 years ago | (#24075925)

So you're saying that the yellowcake is a lie?

But wait..they said (-1, Flamebait)

bricko (1052210) | about 6 years ago | (#24075639)

But wait...Murtha and the Dems said they didnt have any Nuclear material.... Can it be that he is full of S***. And how is that Haditha thing working out Big John...heh. Wrong again...

Re:But wait..they said (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075665)

Uhhh, we knew he had this stuff, from when the israelis blew up their nuke plane in the 80s. I take it you didn't RTFA?

It's about time... (5, Insightful)

stebalo (316987) | about 6 years ago | (#24075651)

It is gratifying to hear we've disassembled the last remnants of Iraq's non-existent WMD program.

Re:It's about time... (5, Interesting)

brunes69 (86786) | about 6 years ago | (#24075891)

Its easier to make WMD out of oil (napalm) than it is to make them out of yellowcake.

This stuff was most certainly never going to be used in any kinds of weapons program. Iraw never had the facilities to process this stuff at the levels required, and even if they did it would probably be cheaper and easier to just buy black market soviet stuff en masse.

Black Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075691)

Yellowcake nigga - http://www.spike.com/video/2795970/ [spike.com]

Oblig (0, Troll)

Alarindris (1253418) | about 6 years ago | (#24075693)

So the yellowcake isn't a lie?

Re:Oblig (-1, Troll)

Orion Blastar (457579) | about 6 years ago | (#24075831)

Wikipedia claims that Iraq having yellowcake is a lie [wikipedia.org] and any evidence that Iraq has yellowcake was a forgery and part of fraud. Oops, guess they missed 550 metric tons of that stuff. Saddam must have hidden in in 'dat CIA napkin, so the UN couldn't find it. :)

RTFA (5, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#24075907)

RTFA: "Israeli warplanes bombed a reactor project at the site in 1981. Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said."

But I guess many stupid/ignorant people will read the headlines and "understand" it the same way you did.

No wonder Bush got re-elected.

Re:RTFA (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24076175)

But I guess many stupid/ignorant people will read the headlines and "understand" it the same way you did.

What is more tragic, is that the guy who made a comment you replied, is the same guy who submitted the story.

Re:Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24076099)

So you submitted an article you have not read?

Canadian menace? (1)

brunokummel (664267) | about 6 years ago | (#24075699)

The Iraqi government sold the yellowcake to a Canadian uranium producer, Cameco Corp.

OMGWTFBBQ! Canada has bought iraqi Yellowcake??
I guess we can't blame them anymore... [youtube.com]

Re:Canadian menace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075799)

Think of your children pledging allegiance to the maple leaf. Mayonnaise on everything. Winter 11 months of the year. Anne Murray - all day, every day.

WMD argument ender (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | about 6 years ago | (#24075727)

Even if this yellowcake was a WMD, it wouldn't be harmful on its own. The only WMD we ever had to worry about is the "Death to America" attitude. All the physical WMD's in the world won't kill many people if they're not wielded with the motive to kill.

Again fraightening with terrorism! (0, Troll)

Fri13 (963421) | about 6 years ago | (#24075749)

it could stir widespread panic if incorporated in a blast.

Hmm... I always tought that radiation on blast, would stir death and not panic...

This is AGAIN one f*ck* way try to control readers to get them fear someone.... Why someone dont shoot few people from U.S congress? Why people on control dont fear the people around them who are carrying guns, it is bigger change to get shot there than someone would get delivered dirty bomb to U.S! (actually, it is very easy to deliver, problem is just to get such thing ;)

Re:Again fraightening with terrorism! (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | about 6 years ago | (#24075881)

Im not sure I understand everything you said, but in general a dirty bomb would need to be concentrated enough that it wouldnt just disperse and dilute itself when set off. The real danger is, wait for it, the terror and panic of the people (thats where the name t-e-r-r-o-r-i-s-t comes from...) Just hearing that there was "nuclear material" in the bomb that went off down town would cause mass panic and chaos. I wouldnt be surprised to see more death/destruction from the rioting trying to get out of town then the actual bomb itself. In that way, even a weak dirty bomb that could be made from this type of cake is STILL a WMD.

But lets just move along. Nothing to see here. Ignore it cause it at least somewhat vindicates Bush and the invasion. We can't allow that now can we?

What the FUCK! (5, Funny)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 6 years ago | (#24075811)

so now we're led to believe that CANADA is pursuing nuclear weapons?

They just purchased 550 Metric tonnes of yellowcake uranium from a supposed Terrorist state and we're just letting them do it?

Canada is a ticking bomb here people!

We need to attack Ontario now!

Why isn't bush willing to protect us from these terrorists?

Re:What the FUCK! (1)

novakyu (636495) | about 6 years ago | (#24076069)

Why isn't bush willing to protect us from these terrorists?

The Democratic congress. They are not letting him declare war on Canada. Darn those Democrats.

Wouldn't be surprised (3, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | about 6 years ago | (#24075817)

In order to keep up appearances, the American government will be forced to give Iraqis some sort of democracy, and they (as a Shia majority) will absolutely elect someone friendly to their neighbor Iran. This was probably pre-emptive move to get the uranium out the grip of Tehran.

As we all know, countries cannot be left to conduct business on their own terms, because it could possibly be harmful to the only interests that matter: ours.

The Rev. Moon to the rescue (1)

grolaw (670747) | about 6 years ago | (#24075851)

AP is owned by The Washington Times, which, in turn is owned by the Unification Church - headed by Rev. Moon.

Murdoch-Moon / same coin different sides.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Myung_Moon [wikipedia.org]

Re:The Rev. Moon to the rescue (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 6 years ago | (#24076085)

You're thinking of UPI.--United Press International.

The Associated Press, or AP is a cooperative owned by the media organizations that contribute to it.

This Depot Was Already Known (3, Informative)

qazwart (261667) | about 6 years ago | (#24075899)

Sadam had declared this depot of uranium during the last Gulf War. It was put under U.N. jurisdiction and monitored for years.

Sadam had lots of weapons and stockpiles that were put under U.N. seals, and monitored by personnel and remote cameras. These depots were located all over Iraq and most were intact when the U.S. invaded. Fortunately, this nasty stuff stayed in the depot despite all the chaos.

Unfortunately, much of the material that was under U.N. jurisdiction did disappear right after the U.S. invasion. In one depot, the U.S. troops acknowledged that a long range rocket depot was still intact, left for the Battle of Bagdad, and when they came back, it was all gone. This particular depot was about 50 miles from the Iraq/Iran border, and there is some thought that maybe the Iranians saw their chance to grab some "Weapons o' Mass Destruction" before anyone noticed. Then again, Iraqis may have entered this compound and sold its contents for scrap. We will never know.

depleted uranium (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24075957)

all the while - pumping the countryside full of depleted uranium [globalresearch.ca] ... :-P

depleted uranium (3, Insightful)

johnrpenner (40054) | about 6 years ago | (#24075981)

all the while, pumping the iraqi countryside full of depleted uranium [globalresearch.ca] ... :-P

Some more links for your enjoyment (0, Troll)

Orion Blastar (457579) | about 6 years ago | (#24076019)

Proof that Saddam had calutrons [nuclearweaponarchive.org] that could be used to enrich yellow cake uranium to weapons grade. Someone in Switzerland tried to tell the UN about it, and cites independent research as well.

Bill Clinton said the same thing in 1998 [youtube.com] so this is not made up.

The Iraqi nuclear program in the 1980s. (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 6 years ago | (#24076063)

Yes, Iraq did have a nuclear program, back in the 1970s and 1980s. It didn't go well. They couldn't get any of the separation processes to work. A mid-level physicist in the program defected to the US and wrote a book about it, which gives a view of the strange world of working for Saddam Hussein. If he was annoyed at a manager, he sent them to a torture camp to be tortured for a while, then put them back to work. If they did well, he gave them one of his ex-mistresses.

Iraq tried to build calutrons [newscientist.com] , which do isotope separation in one or two steps but can process only tiny amounts of material. So it's necessary to build a large number of them to enrich enough uranium for a weapon. The US built some sizable calutron plants during WWII, but they were too slow to be useful when fed with natural uranium. They were used as a final upgrade step for uranium partially enriched in the gaseous diffusion plants. None of the other nuclear powers ever bothered much with calutrons, except little research-sized units. Iraq never actually built enough calutron capacity to accomplish much.

Iraq's yellowcake (uranium oxide, unenriched) is left over from that era. Extraction of yellowcake from raw ore is an ordinary chemical process [chemcases.com] , usually performed somewhere near the mine. It's the first and easiest step of the process, and that's as far as Iraq got.

Before the Freepers crow... (1)

Woundweavr (37873) | about 6 years ago | (#24076173)

Israeli warplanes bombed a reactor project at the site in 1981. Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said.

Of course, they likely won't let the facts dissuade them.

FINALLY, DUBYA HAS PROOF!!! (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about 6 years ago | (#24076189)

Finally, George Dubya Bush has proof that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. All that yellowcake was just sitting around for Sadam to dig up and make a dirtybomb from it. :P
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