Yellowcake Update

The International Atomic Energy Agency is confirming that the yellowcake found in Rotterdam came from Iraq, although it is believed that the yellowcake dates from before the Gulf War.

However, the fact that there was any uranium ore in Iraq points to the concept that Hussein was only waiting to reinstitute his nuclear program. The scientific knowledge and technology had been preserved, and the only thing keeping Hussein from developing nuclear weapons were the sanctions – sanctions that were horrendously ineffective and did more to harm the Iraqi people than it did to keep Saddam from obtaining new weapons and palaces. Eventually the sanctions would have been lifted and Saddam could have easily started a nuclear weapons program using the knowledge he had obtained prior to the Gulf War. The only way to ensure that Iraq could not develop nuclear weapons was to ensure that the Hussein regime was no longer in power.

4 thoughts on “Yellowcake Update

  1. Iraq had one uranium mine, which played out in the late 1980s I think, and lots and lots of yellowcake in containers that got looted. So the existence of this doesn’t by itself mean much.

    Which is not to downplay the potential threat that Hussein posed if he had had sufficient WMD materials to constitute a real program.

  2. “the fact that there was any uranium ore in Iraq points to the concept that Hussein was only waiting to reinstitute his nuclear program.”

    Non-sequitor. The fact that the uranium ore was dispersed from Iraq before the first Gulf War suggests a dismantling of the program and nothing else. You can’t say that getting rid of the necessary components for a nuclear device is just the first step to getting them back and starting anew.

  3. Hi Jay,

    I’m coming up today with a weird feeling…what is this yellowcake story all about? The more it could say would be:”the US made the worst mistake in terms of proliferation by attacking Irak; now it’s all around!!”

    But this is not the point. My “problem” is that I don’t like to “give” viewed-pages to Foxnews, plus I don’t like the way it’s written.

    So I go to my french news and press websites, and no one even mention the story…

    Ok, I type “yellowcake + rotterdam” in google, and the only thing it finds is a story from ’99 regarding a shipment from Australia…

    To be sure, I go to the website of the IAEA (, in the news section, and the two top stories of January 15 are: “High Science Inside the Belly of the Alps” and “The Promise of Underground Geological Repositories” (so at least I know the site is kept up-to-date). The press release section doesn’t give any other report on any yellowcake…

    Maybe it’s too early to say, but why only Foxnews talks about it??? (and I’m only living 3 hours away from Rotterdam, so the local news would normally talk about it, which they don’t!!)

    Any idea Jay?

    Oh, and I almost forgot: on foxnews, the ad-banner was a self promoting ad saying: “We report, you decide” !!! 😉 funny isn’t it?

  4. How about The New York Times?

    The Guardian?

    As for disseminating yellowcake, it’s not hard to get. It’s raw uranium ore – you can find it all over Africa, or many countries mine it natively. The trick is *processing* that ore to get the 1% that is weapons-grade, which takes a lot of technical experience and time. So far only Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea have show the ability to do so, although now that they have the chances of the technology spreading just went through the roof.

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