"Highly Dangerous" Radioactive Material Stolen In Iraq, "Could Be Used For ISIS Dirty Bomb"

Tyler Durden's picture

Just when it seemed that the Syria's proxy war would remain confined within the "comfortable" realm of conventional weaponry, moments ago Reuters gave the first hint of a potential, and radioactive escalation, when it reported that Iraq is searching for "highly dangerous" radioactive material stolen last year, according to an environment ministry document and seven security, environmental and provincial officials. The loss is significant because in already setting the next steps of the narrative, Reuters reports that the same officials "fear it could be used as a weapon if acquired by Islamic State."

It is unclear why a "highly dangerous" radioactive substance was located in Iraq, but as Reuters adds, the material, stored in a protective case the size of a laptop computer, went missing in November from a storage facility near the southern city of Basra belonging to U.S. oilfield services company Weatherford, the document obtained by Reuters showed and officials confirmed (incidentally this is the same Weatherford which two weeks ago fired 15% of its employees after warning of "lower for longer" oil prices).

Reuters attempts to probe further were promptly contained: a spokesman for Iraq's environment ministry said he could not discuss the issue, citing national security concerns. A Weatherford spokesman in Iraq declined to comment, and the company's Houston headquarters did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

More details on the theft from Reuters:

The material, which uses gamma rays to test flaws in materials used for oil and gas pipelines in a process called industrial gamma radiography, is owned by Istanbul-based SGS Turkey, according to the document and officials.


An SGS official in Iraq declined to comment and referred Reuters to its Turkish headquarters, which did not respond to phone calls.


The document, dated Nov. 30 and addressed to the ministry's Centre for Prevention of Radiation, describes "the theft of a highly dangerous radioactive source of Ir-192 with highly radioactive activity belonging to SGS from a depot belonging to Weatherford in the Rafidhia area of Basra province".


A senior environment ministry official based in Basra, who declined to be named as he is not authorized to speak publicly, told Reuters the device contained up to 10 grams (0.35 ounces) of Ir-192 "capsules", a radioactive isotope of iridium also used to treat cancer.


The material is classed as a Category 2 radioactive source by the International Atomic Energy Agency, meaning if not managed properly it could cause permanent injury to a person in close proximity to it for minutes or hours, and could be fatal to someone exposed for a period of hours to days.

Reuters adds that the ministry document said it posed a risk of bodily and environmental harm as well as a national security threat.

And with this highly radioactive substance stolen, concerns arise that it may have fallen in the hands of ISIS, from where it could promptly be used to make a dirty bomb.

According to Reuters, large quantities of Ir-192 have gone missing before in the United States, Britain and other countries, stoking fears among security officials that it could be used to make a dirty bomb.

"We are afraid the radioactive element will fall into the hands of Daesh," Reuters cited a senior security official with knowledge of the theft, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.


"They could simply attach it to explosives to make a dirty bomb," said the official, who works at the interior ministry and spoke on condition of anonymity as he is also not authorized to speak publicly.

For now, there has been no indication the material had come into the possession of Islamic State, which seized territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014 but does not control areas near Basra. However, in case of a dirty bomb going off somewhere on the Syria-Turkey border, in close proximity to a battalion of Russian solders, well...

Attempts to contain a potential panic appears somewhat muted: the security official, based in Baghdad, told Reuters there were no immediate suspects for the theft. But the official said the initial investigation suggested the perpetrators had specific knowledge of the material and the facility: "No broken locks, no smashed doors and no evidence of forced entry," he said.

Almost as if it wasn't actually "stolen."

Meanwhile, everyone is searing for the deadly substance: "a spokesman for Basra operations command, responsible for security in Basra province, said army, police and intelligence forces were working "day and night" to locate the material. The army and police have responsibility for security in the country's south, where Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias and criminal gangs also operate."

Reuters also notes that ISIS does not actually have to make a dirty bomb with the material: besides the risk of a dirty bomb, the radioactive material could cause harm simply by being left exposed in a public place for several days, said David Albright, a physicist and president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security.

The senior environmental official said authorities were worried that whoever stole the material would mishandle it, leading to radioactive pollution of "catastrophic proportions".

A second senior environment ministry official, also based in Basra, said counter-radiation teams had begun inspecting oil sites, scrap yards and border crossings to locate the device after an emergency task force raised the alarm on Nov. 13.

Two Basra provincial government officials said they were directed on Nov. 25 to coordinate with local hospitals. "We instructed hospitals in Basra to be alert to any burn cases caused by radioactivity and inform security forces immediately," said one.

Something tells us any burn cases will not afflict local Iraqis; however if we were Russian soliders in Syria or Iraq's vicinity, we would be concerned.

The final word belongs to the abovementioned David Albright who said that "if they left it in some crowded place, that would be more of the risk. If they kept it together but without shielding," he said. "Certainly it's not insignificant. You could cause some panic with this. They would want to get this back."

Unless causing some panic, and a panicked counterresponse, is precisely the intention.

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NoDebt's picture

They stole the Yellowcake that Colin Powell warned us about all those years ago.

Manthong's picture

I’m thinking of crowd funding a potassium iodide kiosk franchise in Paris.. anybody want in?

I figure there will be an expansion market in Tokyo by 2020, too.


froze25's picture

So no forced entry, looks like an inside job probably to facilitate a false flag event.

bbq on whitehouse lawn's picture

How do you false flage glow in the dark paint.

FreeMoney's picture

This sounds like a great excuse to send ground troops to recover the WMD that might fall into enemy hands.  Interesting to note that the material was "stolen" last year, but we are just hearing about it now, just as the Russian/Syrian forces are getting close to victory, and the Saudis and Turks are invading.

Pinto Currency's picture



"Could Be Used For NATO Dirty Bomb"

Check all military cargo planes at the airport.

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) Pinto Currency Feb 17, 2016 12:56 PM

"Radioactive Material Stolen In Iraq"


Ummm... Please.  We **all** know that there are no WMDs or material to make WMDS (never mind that chemical weapon stuff that was actually used on people by Saddam) in Iraq.  Bush lied, people died.  Get with the program, peoples!!!

knukles's picture

By Allah's will we shall free the Jihad and her the Caliphate from the entreaties of the Nonbelievers.
Allah Akbar.
So now how's everybody feel about being sucked into something they didn't want all in the name of rah rah parasitical national pride and angst?

cheka's picture

yellow cake


incubator babies

they hate us for our freedoms

reuters, eh?

Fish Gone Bad's picture

Dirty bombs are just a profoundly stupid idea. Fukushima set off 4 large "really dangerous" dirty bombs and no one cared...

popeye's picture

This is such total BS. 10g of Iridium? According to Wikipedia, 1 120mm Sabot round contains 4500g of depleted uranium. How many Sabot rounds have been fired in Iraq already?


Then theres all the 20, 25 & 30mm incendiary rounds.


So NATO forces have atomised tonnes of radioactive material around Iraq, and now Reuters is worried about the release of 10grams?


I remember a time when Reuters was a dependable news source - now its thoroughly unreliable and often releaases arrant nonsense.

Surviver22's picture
Surviver22 (not verified) popeye Feb 17, 2016 2:06 PM

It's the greatest threat global security has ever faced. 

All the weapons in the world won't matter once this small army kick into gear!


thesonandheir's picture

This story is so hyped, a van full of smoke alarms is just as bad.




Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) thesonandheir Feb 17, 2016 3:18 PM

Obama channels George W. Bush.

Duck and cover!

zeronetwork's picture

Is there a 9/11 II in the making?

. . . _ _ _ . . .'s picture

I don't think quantity matters; with Saudi admitting to having nukes and a false flag in the making, how long before 1) a terrorist strike, and 2) a retaliatory strike by TPTB.

All they want is an excuse. The details aren't important.

NidStyles's picture

Oh gawd, not this WMD shit again...


Who's waiting for images of Jeb looking under the table for them?

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Radioactive material is not stolen, is in refrigerator on apartment balcony. But, if is problem, Boris is put it back.

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

San Fran might be an even better city to visit/live in if one could receive a little prophylactic radiation therapy.  You know, a gentle complement to the nudie-scanners @ the airports.

Paveway IV's picture

Ir-192 decays relatively quickly. Even if the source was freshly-irradiated when it was stolen (unlikely), it only has between 1/2 and 1/4 of it's original radioactivity by now. This is what the Ir-192 source carrier looks like, or this - inside the case is a flexible cable like this. The actual chunk of Iridium is the size of a BB.

While it's not an insignificant amount, you could hardly make a dirty bomb out of it that would have much effect. Here's an account of a guy bringing a source home and leaving it on a shelf in his bedroom. One has to presume he found it and had no idea what it was.

/CASE REPORTS/ /ACUTE RADIATION SYNDROME/ An industrial source (6x10+11 Bq (16.3 Ci)) was taken home by a worker and remained undiscovered for 80 days, the approximate half life of iridium-192. The father placed the source on a shelf near his bed in a room where he, his wife, and four children, 4, 5, 7, and 8, slept on floor mats. The grandparents slept in a second room. A cousin was also present. One month after the father brought the source home, he started to have nosebleeds, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; he stopped working and stayed home. He rapidly exhibited alopecia and erythema of the right thigh which worsened in a few days and were later described as necrotic by his relatives. The situation worsened until he was so weak that he stayed in bed 24 hr/day. He died 44 days after the beginning of his exposure. The main cause of death appeared to be sudden and massive pulmonary bleeding. The whole family was rapidly decimated. The youngest daughter died a month after the father's first symptoms, followed by the pregnant mother and the remaining three children within the next 10 days. After the father's death, two relatives came for the funeral and stayed in the house for a significant period, and both died. The three surviving members of the family, the grandparents and cousin, were hospitalized. The grandmother presented clinical symptoms of aplasia, paleness, and hematomas; she had a total alopecia and her hematopoiesis was significantly depressed; she developed severe bacteremia in the hospital probably related to the iv line. The grandfather did not present any clinical signs related to irradiation although his blood counts were subnormal. The cousin's hematological findings showed signs of moderate hypoplasia with slight anemia and neutropenia. It was estimated that 90% of the grandmother's marrow received > 3 Gy with a mean dose of 7 Gy and a cephalic dose of 12-14 Gy. The cousin had a much lower dose, with a mean of 3 Gy. The prognosis was optimistic for the cousin but more reserved for the grandmother because of her age, clinical conditions, and the severity of aplasia. After 60 units of platelet transfusion and 6 units of red blood cell concentrates, signs of bone marrow repair began to appear; hematopoiesis was finally stabilized on day 50 after her last exposure. The cousin's peripheral reticulocytes and neutrophil counts improved within a few days although repair was still incomplete after 2 weeks. /Iridium-192/

[Gusev, I.A., Guskova, A.K., Mettler, F.A. (eds) Medical Management of Radiation Accidents. Second Edition. CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL. 2001, p. 253] **PEER REVIEWED** 

Finally, this is what happens [not safe for squeamish] if Boris carries a freshly-irradiated source around in his back pant's pocket for a few hours... so, seriously.. don't. Boris: remove kebob from premesis. Put in neighbor's refrigerator until eBay sale finalized and PayPal clears. 

Sothis's picture

It's a radiography source.  While it's not *harmless*, it's not really that harmful.  If those sand-eaters detonated it in a dirty bomb, it *might* double the naturally occurring radiation in the area of the fallout...  which is basically just a waste of a perfectly good source.  It's the equivalent of ISIS breaking into a dentist's office and stealing the XRay equipment. 

Dr. Spin's picture

Citations pleeze...


TuPhat's picture

You don't need citations if you know anything about this type of radioactive source.  It's basic knowledge for anyone that works with them.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Exposure to this type of radiation is not so very bad. Is like go to office of doctor and receive X-ray… again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again...

Augustus's picture

yes, Boris.

Except that no one goes in for a two hour X-ray session every day.  And no ome, other than someone who stole the materiial, will have a continuous exposure to this material either.  If it is scattered widely there would be no harm.  If the entire quantity remains together then it gives little possibility of exposure harm.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

So doctor is make X-rated pictures for website?

"Physicien sans moral Frontiers"?

JuliaS's picture

One time my dentist had a new digital x-ray machine installed instead of the old analog one. He kept taking snapshots of my teeth over and over, and eventually confessed he couldn't figure out how to save files. Told me not to worry, because it was supposedly outputting 1/10th as much radiation as the old thing ... said it after about 20 failed attempts.

The upside is that I no longer have to use the headlights in my car at night. I just open my mouth.

Baby Bladeface's picture
Baby Bladeface (not verified) TuPhat Feb 17, 2016 2:28 PM

Good resource informational on radiation accidents non-military, descriptive of accidental type, casualties, radioisotopes involved:


Including link here wikipedia story on accident Goiania, Brasil year 1987, probably represents results similar of dirty bomb worst scenario case:


Augustus's picture

Sothis is certainly correct.  the only harm would come to someone who was exposed for a fairly long time to the full load of the concentrated material.  Scattering it out with a "dirty bomb" would not cause any harm.  Other radioactive materials are regularly used in very small quantities in well logging.  Don't eat it or carry it around in your pocket.

zhandax's picture

10 grams may make a couple of cases of dirty bullets, or a somewhat lethal sack of potatoes.  More common core 'breaking news'.

FireBrander's picture

I suggest they begin the search in the EU; if fleets of Toyota trucks can travel from Texas to Syria unimpeded, then surely a little "highly dangerous" radioactive material can find it's way to the EU through its open borders.

ShrNfr's picture

Sure is doing a hecka job isn't he??

knukles's picture

Barack is gonna change your lives.
     -Mike Obama

                        Mission Accomplished
                      Heck iof a Job, "Brownie"

junction's picture
Who at Reuters is reading my postings?  I mention a "dirty bomb" in a posting I made Sunday dealing with Syria and the next thing you know, Reuters has an article on missing "dirty bomb" material (missing since November) that gets the banner spot on the Drudge Report today.   Sun, 02/14/2016 - 12:57 | 7185151 

Thought For The Day: Unless something off the charts happens, such as Saudi's insane ruler Salman ordering his CIA proxy agents to detonate a “dirty bomb” in Texas, the war for Syria will eventually end.  Then what happens to mercenaries the United States and the Gulf states funded?  There isn’t much demand in the West for Captagon snorting snipers who have no job skills and can only speak Arabic.  Many of the mercenaries are disease vectors, they have hepatitis, HIV, TB, bizarre STDs and some diseases pretty much unknown to Western medicine.  Establishing a “cordon sanitaire” around the North African and Middle Eastern countries bordering the Mediterranean is not possible unless NATO establishes a ring of ships near the African shore permanently, forcing smugglers to use a land or air route to try to cross into Europe. 

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

US State Dept: "It's nothing.  Probably for an ISIS hazing party for new members."

"Fresh cookies, anyone?"

sgt_doom's picture

SGS Turkey?

Isn't that where members of Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, work at?

Yes, I believe so????


Soul Glow's picture

And so the rumor begins....all that they need is a match now.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Allow me to translate;

"The mother of all False Flags is coming."

hedge accordingly.

IridiumRebel's picture

In order to save th country, we had to nuke the country.

LawsofPhysics's picture

moreover, if the perps are actually identified and caught, there will be no trial, they will be "buried at sea" in "accordance with tradition"...


cheka's picture

or the story IS the false flag

Bay of Pigs's picture

"We false flagged some folks..."

HowdyDoody's picture

The real question is: is this vetted moderate radiation or radical extremist radiation?


Normalcy Bias's picture

An ISIS Dirty Bomb?!

This definitely means that Obama will secure the border with Mexico!

Urban Redneck's picture

Why didn't Barry invade Mexico back in (coincidentally) November 2015 when the (cartels?) stole 40 grams of Cobalt 60 at GUNPOINT?

Why doesn't DC they invade Texas or Oklahoma every time some roughneck forgets to lock the truck box containing the DIRTY BOMB INGREDIENTS before off-roading back to the nearest paved road after a field inspection?

Some presititute has her panties in a bunch today...

ShrNfr's picture

The assholes did not know what they stole and opened the container. The rest is glow in the dark.

Yen Cross's picture

  You're on the roll today LoP ;-)