How Many Nuclear Weapons Can You Make from 500 Tons of Yellow Cake?

A recent comment on the blog opined that Bush is a muderous liar and therefore we should leave Iraq now, that there were no weapons of mass destruction, and that history would prove him right. Unfortunately, history is being made every day, and it is proving him wrong. Too bad he isn’t paying attention to what is going on in the world around him.

The major rally cry of the anti-war crowd is “Bush Lied, People Died!” Somehow, they have narrowed down the sole reason for war in Iraq was WMDs. And, they contend, there were none. Therefore, Bush lied to get us into a war for some personal Bush-family vendatta against Saddam Hussein.

Now, if you are some kind of extremist, conspiracy theorist, or just simple minded enough to buy a one-sided argument, that might actually hold water. And if you believe this is the whole story, you probably also believe the Freemasons and the Illuminati are plotting to take over the world. But, that is a far cry from reality. I prefer to base my opinions on something a little more substantial than conspiracy theory and circumstatial evidence.

So let’s focus on the Weapons of Mass Destruction, since that is the main point of contention. Let’s look at what we know about Iraq’s weapons programs. I submit the following as a few examples:

So we know that Saddam Hussein did have programs to develop nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and that these programs did in fact continue on in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions. So, why have these stockpiles of weapons not shown up.

Well, who is to say they haven’t? One specific example comes to mind – al Tuwaitha. The Tuwaitha site was heavily bombed during the ’91 allied campaign, yet, when the allies showed up in 2003, they found that this site had continued to be used to stockpile material as part of an appearent nuclear weapons program.

Here is an interesting statement to consider. It is from M.N.H.Comsan of the Egyptian Nuclear Physics Association, Cairo, Egypt. He states that as of July 10, 2001, all fissionable material had been removed from Iraq.

According to discussions, all nuclear and fissionable materials were removed from Iraq, equipment were destroyed, research in nuclear sciences was severely contracted, and most of scientists left the country. 30 years may be needed for the Al-tuwaitha site to recover and peaceful nuclear activities started again.

How surprised Dr. Comsan must have been at the recent discovery of 500 tons of yellow cake uranium located at the Tuwaitha site, along with 300 tons of radioisotopes including Cesium-137 and Cobalt-60. Both are extremely radioactive substances that are ideal for use in Radiological Dispersal Devices (RDD), or “dirty bombs.” Yellow cake is uranium that has been milled into uranium oxide that can be enriched into weapons grade uranium. The discovery of depleted uranium at the Tuwaitha site indicates that the enrichment process was indeed taking place. A total of 1.8 tons of enriched uranium have been discovered and removed from Iraq since the war started in 2003.

Now, the IAEA knew about the yellow cake after the first Gulf War and they sealed it so that it could not be used by Saddam Hussein. The American Thinker offers this must read article to consider why on earth would the agency charged with preventing nuclear proliferation allow this material to remain in the hands of a dictator that clearly desired to develop nuclear weapons.

History of the al Tuwaitha site up to the 1991 Persian Gulf War

Nuclear material found in Iraq and removed: UN complains about 1.8 tons of enriched uranium the US removed from Iraq

U.S. Rep Pete Hoekstra, R-Michigan visits the al Tuwaitha site:

More information al Tuwaitha from the International Atomic Energy Agency: Nuclear capabilities of Iraq – The IAEA plan of action

More food for thought – 500 tons of uranium is enough to create 142 nuclear weapons

History of Iraq’s nuclear weapons program prior to the Gulf War

No. The liar here was not George Bush. It was Saddam Hussein. He had the base material to manufacture nuclear weapons. 1.8 tons of enriched uranium later, we are lucky he didn’t get that far.

Our next discussion will focus on multiple reports of warheads loaded with sarin from different parts of Iraq. Yet Saddam said he destroyed his sarin loaded weapons a decade ago. If he is not credible on this point, do you actually think he is to be believed in other areas involving WMDs?