[ RadSafe ] Iraqi Uranium

Dan W McCarn hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Mon Jul 7 13:56:56 CDT 2008

Hi Jim:

I agree the media is sloppy. Having worked at the IAEA for 8 years, most
international reported uranium transfers as yellowcake when reported as
metric tonnes is as metallic U equivalent, not U3O8, for processed
yellowcake.  At least that is my IAEA REDBOOK experience spanning 1980 to
present.  There are exceptions, but generally, that is the rule.  It may in
fact be U3O8 that is being reported, but coming from an international
source, I'd first guess that it would be metallic U equivalent.  But media
reports are vague.

I await Cameco's official statement on quantity.

So it is either expressed as Tonnes U or pounds U3O8. 

The multiplier for pounds U3O8 from Tonnes U is 2600
The multiplier for pounds U3O8 from Tonnes U3O8 is 2205
The multiplier for U in U3O8 is 0.848

Dan ii

Dan W. McCarn, Geologist; 3118 Pebble Lake Drive; Sugar Land, TX 77479; USA 
HotGreenChile at gmail.com   mccarn at unileoben.ac.at   UConcentrate at gmail.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Dukelow, James S Jr [mailto:jim.dukelow at pnl.gov] 
Sent: Monday, July 07, 2008 1:33 PM
To: Dan W McCarn; Radsafe
Subject: RE: [ RadSafe ] Iraqi Uranium

Dan McCarn and the Associated Press wrote:
-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl on behalf of Dan W McCarn
Sent: Mon 7/7/2008 10:20 AM
To: 'Radsafe'
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Iraqi Uranium
Dan W. McCarn, Geologist; 3118 Pebble Lake Drive; Sugar Land, TX 77479; USA 
HotGreenChile at gmail.com   mccarn at unileoben.ac.at   UConcentrate at gmail.com

By my calculation, the 550 metric tonnes U amounts to 1,430,000 lbs U3O8
having a commercial value of $107,250,000 at $75 / lb U3O8.  As memory
serves, I think that most of this material came from byproduct phosphoric
acid production from the marine phosphorites in Iraq similar to those in
Israel and Syria. 

Dan ii


Iraqi uranium transferred to Canada
54 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) - At Iraq's request, the US military recently transferred
hundreds of metric tons of yellowcake uranium from Iraq to Canada in a
secret, weeks-long operation, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.

The 550 metric tons of uranium, which was sold to a Canadian company, was
moved by truck convoy to Baghdad's "Green Zone," then flown by military
aircraft to a third country where it was put on a ship for Canada, said
Bryan Whitman, the spokesman.

"The operation was completed over the weekend, on Saturday," Whitman said.

The yellow cake was discovered by US troops after the 2003 US invasion of
Iraq at the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Facility south of Baghdad, and was
placed under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Yellowcake is a form of processed uranium ore that can be used to make fuel
for nuclear reactors, or if further enriched as fuel for nuclear weapons.

Whitman said the Iraqi government asked the United States for help in
selling and transferring the uranium to another country.

Cameco, a Canadian company, agreed to buy the yellowcake for a reported sum
in the tens of millions of dollars.

The cost to the United States of transferring the uranium came to about 70
million dollars, Whitman said. He said the Iraqi government has agreed in
principle to repay part of the transfer costs.

The US State and Energy Departments also played roles in the operation,
Whitman said. But the Defense Department took the lead in carrying out the
transfer, he said.

It took 110 shipping containers to carry the drums loaded with yellowcake,
he said.
They were transferred by convoy from Tuwaitha to a secure facility within
the Green Zone, the international zone, Whitman said.

Then they were flown by C-17 military transport planes to an undisclosed
third country. Whitman said it took 37 planeloads to complete that portion
of the transfer.

"At this intermediate location the cargo was loaded onto a US-flagged cargo
ship, a military sealift container ship, the USS Gopher State," he said.



Dan's calculations incorporate the assumption that when AP wrote "550 metric
tons of uranium" they were referring to metallic uranium.  It seems more
likely that, with typical media sloppiness in science/technology stories,
AP's reference to "hundreds of metric tons of yellowcake uranium" and "550
metric tons of uranium" are actually referring to the same 550 metric tons
of yellowcake.

Best regards.

Jim Dukelow
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, WA
jim.dukelow at pnl.gov

These comments are mine and have not been reviewed and/or approved by my
management or by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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