For the first time since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, United Nations nuclear inspectors are back in Baghdad. The inspectors went to work Saturday trying to determine if nuclear material may have been stolen from a nuclear research facility.
The team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency traveled to the al-Tuwaitha nuclear research facility Saturday in an effort to determine how much nuclear material was looted from the facility and whether any radioactive contamination occurred.
More than 500 tons of natural uranium and almost two tons of low-enriched uranium were stored at al-Tuwaitha, Iraq's former main nuclear research facility, about 20 kilometers southeast of Baghdad.
Saturday the inspectors were expected to survey the site to, among other things, make sure it is safe for them to enter it.
The research complex was looted when the war ended. Coalition forces secured the facility April 7. Since then, about 100 barrels of radioactive material have been recovered.
The mission of the inspectors, which does not include searching for weapons of mass destruction, is being tightly monitored by coalition officials. The inspectors are expected to be in Baghdad about two weeks. The media have been told they will have no access to al-Tuwaitha or the inspectors during their mission.
The visit by the inspectors marks the first time any international inspectors have been allowed in Iraq since just prior to the start of the U.S.-led invasion.