43 years after the Israeli bombing.. Iraq revives its “nuclear” hopes under international attention

43 years after the Israeli bombing.. Iraq revives its “nuclear” hopes under international attention

2024-04-11 02:28

43 years after the Israeli bombing.. Iraq revives its nuclear hopes under international attentionShafaq News/ Iraq is reviving a previous attempt to use nuclear energy, 43 years after the Israeli bombing of the “Tammuz” reactor located in the Tuwaitha area, southeast of the capital, Baghdad, in the midst of the war going on at that time between Iraq and Iran, and Iraqi officials confirm that the new nuclear energy It will be peaceful, and used in evolutionary fields, including the field of electrical energy.

Since the 1960s, Iraq has tried to officially enter the peaceful and perhaps military nuclear club. At that time, it exploited its scientific human potential and the wealth it possessed to achieve this goal. In early 1975, France agreed to build two nuclear reactors in Iraq in the Tuwaitha area, and they were similar to the nuclear reactors in the Nuclear Research Center. affiliated with the French Energy Agency (CEA), where the first reactor (July 1) had a capacity of 40 MW and the other (July 2) was for training purposes with a capacity of 600 kilowatts.

With the near completion of the construction of the Iraqi reactor, the country witnessed the first qualitative military operation in the world, when the Israeli Air Force was able to completely destroy the Iraqi nuclear reactor on June 7, 1981.

Iraqi steps to return to “peaceful” nuclear activity

On 1/31/2017, the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission Law No. (43) of 2016 was published in the Iraqi newspaper Al-Waqi’ in issue (4431) after it was approved by the Iraqi House of Representatives and ratified by the Presidency of the Republic.

In this regard, Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani announced, on March 18, 2024, Iraq’s intention to practice its nuclear activity for peaceful purposes, nearly 43 years after Israel destroyed the first Iraqi nuclear reactor that was built with assistance from France.

In addition to the Israeli strike, American aircraft destroyed two Iraqi nuclear sites during the 1991 Gulf War.

According to specialists, Iraq has sent the International Atomic Energy Agency its plan from 2023 to 2030, which includes the establishment of nuclear reactors, subcritical systems, and nuclear electrical stations, called the nuclear fuel cycle. The cost of not having nuclear reactors is a loss to Iraq estimated at between 3-5 billion dollars annually. The cost of its construction ranges from $100 million to $200 million, depending on the reactors and their intended purpose, and the need for 5 to 6 years to construct a new reactor.

IAEA “columns” and “turning the page”

Iraq’s steps, it seems, in restoring its nuclear experience are taking place under the watchful eye of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is working with Iraq to dismantle old facilities and establish a peaceful nuclear reactor.

According to the Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, who visited Iraq on April 2, he explained that “Al-Tuwaitha (nuclear reactor), which was once a source of global concern, now symbolizes a hopeful path towards successful treatment, after nearly 43 years since Israel destroyed the first Iraqi nuclear reactor that was built,” indicating that “Iraq today is a new stage in the field of nuclear energy and practicing its nuclear activity for peaceful purposes with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and working to develop a road map to develop Iraq’s work, build infrastructure, and obtain nuclear technology.” In peaceful fields.

These steps by the International Atomic Energy Agency were preceded by the Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in March 2024, sending an official invitation to the Iraqi Prime Minister, Muhammad Shia al-Sudani, to participate in the Nuclear Energy Summit that will be held in Brussels during the same month, while he confirmed that the Agency is awaiting the visit of an Iraqi delegation to its headquarters in The coming weeks to develop a road map to enable the country to obtain nuclear technology in peaceful fields.

Needs assessment and additional support

According to Grossi, who visited Al-Amal National Hospital to manage cancer, indicating that he saw the extent of progress in treatments for the disease.

The agency also announced that it is addressing the gaps in Iraq, and two governorates where there is no radiotherapy center will receive the necessary care. Additional support includes training, capacity building, and the provision of equipment and funding, which is a necessary initiative to bridge the gap in cancer care and provide hope and life-saving treatments to more Iraqis.

Radiation Protection Center

The Radiation Protection Center monitors the radiation background in the Iraqi environment on a daily and continuous basis and conducts radiation surveys for different areas of Iraq. In addition, the Center has a network of early warning systems and radiation environmental monitoring spread out, numbering 21 systems, linked to a central station at the Center’s headquarters. The Center has succeeded By linking the national early warning system with the network of the international radiation monitoring information system and the unified information exchange and reporting system for accidents and emergencies. Iraq, represented by the center, is the third Arab country in this field after Jordan and Saudi Arabia, where data on radiation background is shared throughout the countries of the world on a daily and continuous basis. .

The center also conducts radiological examinations of imported foodstuffs coming from border crossings to ensure that radioactively contaminated materials do not enter Iraq. The center is currently working to enhance the radiological examination capacity at all border crossings within an integrated investment project that includes installing radiation screening gates at all ports and establishing four laboratories. Reference, and linking the network of gates within a monitoring system that is centrally controlled by the center.

In this regard, Dr. Sabah Al-Husseini, Director General of the Radiation Protection Center, said in an interview with Shafaq News Agency, “The use of nuclear energy for the purposes of generating electrical power also has a positive impact by reducing carbon emissions in the country, diversifying the energy supply, increasing its security, and providing environmentally friendly and reliable economic energy.” for the growing population in Iraq,” pointing out that “the center has an important role in monitoring the activities of liquidation of nuclear facilities, radioactive waste management, and activities and practices concerned with nuclear medicine and radiotherapy, and all of these activities are subject to oversight according to instructions and controls prepared in accordance with the quality management system and approved by the International Agency.” For atomic energy.

He added, “Nuclear energy is the ideal choice for the government because it is safe and environmentally friendly. It provides large amounts of electrical energy with almost no harmful carbon emissions. It can also generate large and constant amounts of electricity throughout the year. Therefore, establishing research nuclear reactors has a positive impact through:

1. Providing radioisotopes for therapeutic medical purposes and nuclear medicine.

2. Production of radioactive isotopes for industrial purposes.

3. Research and agricultural uses, combating and reducing pests, and increasing natural resources.

The establishment of nuclear power plants also has an important positive impact by providing environmentally friendly electrical energy and reducing carbon emissions, not to mention the possibility of using it in water desalination as well.

International support and Iraqi losses

According to Al-Husseini also, “There is international support to support the file of Iraq restoring its international status in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” noting that this support emerged through the visit of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, his meeting with the Prime Minister and a number of high-level officials, and his confirmation of the Agency’s keenness to provide The support required for Iraq to possess nuclear technology and establish reactors for research purposes and the production of electrical energy.

As for Iraq’s losses, he adds, “The losses that Iraq incurs annually are priceless, the most important of which is Iraq’s need to import radioactive isotopes used in the medical field to treat cancerous diseases, which can be provided directly to citizens without the need to import them in the event of a national research reactor, as Providing these isotopes at the national level has an important role in reducing the burden on treated patients and their families.

Higher education is on the line

On October 11, 2023, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Naeem Al-Aboudi, announced the fundamental approval to establish a zero-sum nuclear reactor dedicated to scientific research and education for the benefit of university students, indicating that the reactor will provide support to students and researchers at universities, and the site chosen to establish this reactor will be disinfected. of radioactive contamination, and regulatory restrictions on it will be lifted, which will contribute to the development of the scientific research sector in the country.”

Al-Aboudi, who also heads the Atomic Energy Commission, confirmed on March 26, 2023, during a visit to the Russian city of Sochi, that Iraq has a specific strategy in the field of nuclear reactors.

Meanwhile, Al-Aboudi confirmed, on a third occasion with the Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, that “Iraq was one of the developed countries in its quest to possess atomic energy, and now it seeks to be one of the countries that possess nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” indicating that “the former Baath regime was able, with its absurd black policy and its results, to be There is a destruction of all nuclear facilities, but the capabilities and scientists of Iraq are able to restore the right, and nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, in the health and agricultural aspects, must be in the service of the people.”