Depleted Uranium, Iraq

The amount of devastation caused by the Depleted Uranium (DU) weaponry used against Iraq since the Gulf War is historically unprecedented in modern warfare and its effects on the environment and human population are catastrophic.


In June 2011, the NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI) published a report about the state of depleted uranium in Iraq stating that contamination from Depleted Uranium (DU) is strongly suspected of causing a sharp rise in congenital birth defects and cancer cases in Iraq with many prominent doctors and scientists stating that DU contamination is also connected to the recent emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as illnesses in the kidney, lungs, and liver, as well as a total collapse of the immune system [1]

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Basic Data
NameDepleted Uranium, Iraq
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Nuclear
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific CommoditiesScrap metal
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsNo specific project
Type of PopulationUnknown
Potential Affected PopulationUnknown
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Health

Ministry of Environment

Ministry of Science
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersIKV Pax Christi -

The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution
Potential: Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Genetic contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts
OtherIncreasing rates of cancer
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of Alternatives- Identify and fully clear sites contaminated with DU.

- Develop an integrated harm reduction strategy for DU and other environmental contaminants of war in Iraq

- Monitor populations living near identified contaminated sites and provide DU contamination medical tests for those who were potentially exposed.

- Acknowledge the complex health crisis that has evolved in Iraq since the First Gulf War and 2003 US-led invasion, and provide necessary support to patients and other appropriate actors.

- Conduct further scientific investigations into the possible health and environmental effects of DU in Iraq.

Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The Iraqi government is too slow in taking the necessary measures to deal with the 300 contaminated sites.
Sources and Materials

[2] - Depleted Uranium and Radioactive Contamination in Iraq: An Overview - Prof Souad N. Al-Azzawi (2017)
[click to view]

[1] - NCCI Brief - Environmental Contaminants from War Remnants in Iraq (2011)
[click to view]


[5] - Radiation danger raises concern, controversy in Iraq - Al-Monitor (2017
[click to view]

[6] - University of Babylon Research (2017)
[click to view]

[3] - Iraq littered with high levels of nuclear and dioxin contamination, study finds - The Guardian (2010)
[click to view]

Other Documents

Map showing toxic zones in Iraq The Guardian (2010)
[click to view]

[4] - IN A STATE OF UNCERTAINTY - Impact and implications of the use of depleted uranium in Iraq (2013) The use of depleted uranium (DU) in conventional munitions has generated controversy for more than 30 years. Research

increasingly supports the idea that there may be a link between its use and reports of increasing health problems in

those countries where it has been deployed. Of these, Iraq is by far the most affected country, with large quantities of DU

munitions used in 1991 and 2003. However, uncertainties over its impact and implications remain. This report is one

of the first to attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of the use of DU in Iraq by US and UK armed forces, and the

subsequent actions, or lack thereof, that have been undertaken to address the issue of DU contamination and resulting

exposure to civilians. Furthermore, it will provide an overview of reported health problems that might be related to exposure

to DU, and other toxic remnants of war, and will provide recommendations for next steps to be undertaken in order

to minimise the risks to the civilian population.
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorChristophe Maroun
Last update17/11/2017