A small team of U.N. nuclear experts arrived in Baghdad on Friday to start a damage assessment at Iraq's biggest nuclear facility, left unguarded by American forces during the early days of the war and then pillaged by villagers.
The arrival of the team marked the first time since the Iraq war began that representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations' nuclear agency, returned to the country.
Iraqi scientists who have surveyed the damage at the Tuwaitha plant said looters left behind piles of uranium and spilled radioactive materials, AP reported.
The IAEA experts returned to Iraq despite US efforts to keep them out. But, U.S. military commanders acknowledged earlier this week that they were unequipped to handle the nuclear site.
"I know that the Tuwaitha facility is larger than the assets we have now in country to deal with it," said Lt. Gen. David McKiernan, commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq.
Thus, the Pentagon limited the number of IAEA staff to seven and said the assessment would have to be completed within two weeks. (Albawaba.com)
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