Iraq says it located missing radioactive material
search

Iraq says it located missing radioactive material

Iridium-192 belonging to Turkish oil company found near gas station 3 months after it disappeared from US-owned facility

Iraqi security forces, in charge of the port security, take part in an exercise to simulate a terrorist attack on February 8, 2016 at the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr near the southern city of Basra. (AFP / HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI)
Iraqi security forces, in charge of the port security, take part in an exercise to simulate a terrorist attack on February 8, 2016 at the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr near the southern city of Basra. (AFP / HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI)

BAGHDAD — Iraqi authorities on Sunday recovered radioactive material that had gone missing in the country’s south more than three months earlier, the environment ministry’s spokesman said.

“We found the radioactive material that was lost by a Turkish… company,” Amir Ali Hassoun told AFP.

The material “still had the same properties and did not lead to the injury of anyone,” Hassoun said.

He said the environment ministry will keep the material — Iridium-192 — until it can be returned to its owner, which another official earlier said was Turkish firm SGS.

The material was found near a wall at a gas station in Zubair, a town near the southern port city of Basra, Hassoun said.

Mahdi Raykan, the head of the Zubair security committee, confirmed that the material was found in the town, and said it was recovered following a tip that a strange item was at the site.

Khajak Ferweer, the head of the Basra environment commission’s radiation department, said the material belonged to SGS which had a contract with US oil and gas services company Weatherford.

It was Weatherford that reported it missing on November 15.

Ferweer said that exposure to the missing material, which he said amounted to at most several grams of Iridium-192, can lead to burns in the short term and cancer over a longer period, but that it cannot be used to manufacture a weapon.

A security official said the material was part of a device used to test welded portions of pipes for leaks or other weaknesses.

The south is home to the heart of Iraq’s oil industry, which supplies the vast majority of government funds, and most of the country’s crude is exported via Basra.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments