Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility
The Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility adjacent to the Tuwaitha "Yellow Cake Factory" contains the remains of nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

s bombed by Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in 1981 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in 1991. It was used as a storage facility for spent reactor fuel
Radioactive waste
Radioactive wastes are wastes that contain radioactive material. Radioactive wastes are usually by-products of nuclear power generation and other applications of nuclear fission or nuclear technology, such as research and medicine...

 and industrial and medical wastes. The radioactive material would not be useful for a fission bomb, but could be used in a dirty bomb
Dirty bomb
A dirty bomb is a speculative radiological weapon that combines radioactive material with conventional explosives. The purpose of the weapon is to contaminate the area around the explosion with radioactive material, hence the attribute "dirty"....

. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

, the facility was heavily looted by hundreds of Iraqis, though it is unclear what was taken.

Until 1991, the facility was a nuclear research facility supposedly under the direction of Khidir Hamza
Khidir Hamza
Khidir Hamza is an Iraqi scientist who worked for Saddam Hussein's nuclear programme in the 1980s and early 1990s. Following the Gulf War, he left Iraq in 1994 and went into exile in the United States. He provided testimony to Western intelligence agencies suggesting that Hussein's weapons of mass...

. The facility is surrounded by a sand berm
A berm is a level space, shelf, or raised barrier separating two areas. Berm originates in the Middle Dutch and German berme and came into usage in English via French.- History :...

 four miles (6.4 km) around and 160 feet (50 m) high, and contained the French-built research reactor Osiraq, destroyed by Israel in 1981.

In April 2003, U.S. Marines discovered the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center and told reporters that they may have discovered a secret nuclear facility. The AP cited an expert who said that such a claim was implausible, and suggested that what actually happened is that the Marines broke the IAEA seals "designed to ensure the materials aren't diverted for weapons use - or end up in the wrong hands. 'What happened apparently was that they broke IAEA seals, which is very unfortunate because those seals are integral to ensuring that nuclear material doesn't get diverted,' the expert said, speaking on condition of anonymity."

On May 3, 2003, a detachment of U.S. Army Special Forces led by United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

Commander is a naval rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. Commander is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the armed forces, particularly in police and law enforcement.-Commander as a naval...

 David Beckett and eight nuclear experts from the United States Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

's Direct Support Team conducted a survey of the facility, finding the looting
Looting —also referred to as sacking, plundering, despoiling, despoliation, and pillaging—is the indiscriminate taking of goods by force as part of a military or political victory, or during a catastrophe, such as during war, natural disaster, or rioting...

, similar to the situation in the nearby Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center
Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center
The Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center is the main nuclear site in Iraq that was involved with handling nuclear material. It was started in 1967 when three main nuclear facilities and waste location were put in operation. These were the IRT 2000 research reactor, the radioisotope production building...


During the initial months of the occupation, Tuwaitha was protected by American forces and administered by contractors from the Raytheon Corporation. Complete control of the facility was turned over to Iraqi authorities in the Summer of 2004.

External links and references

Satellite Images of the Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility

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