N-experts warn of 'dirty bomb'

Seeking to mend ties with the West, Gadhafi agreed in 2003 to abandon efforts to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons — a move that brought him in from the cold and helped end decades of Libyan isolation.

A six-month popular insurgency has now forced Gadhafi to abandon his stronghold in the Libyan capital but continued gunfire suggests the rebels have not completely triumphed yet.
Olli Heinonen, head of UN nuclear safeguards inspections worldwide until last year, pointed to substantial looting that took place at Iraq’s Tuwaitha atomic research facility near Baghdad after Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003. In Iraq, “most likely due to pure luck, the story did not end in a radiological disaster.”

In Libya, “nuclear security concerns still linger,” the former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

Libya’s uranium enrichment program was dismantled after Gadhafi renounced weapons of mass destruction eight years ago. Sensitive material and documentation including nuclear weapons design information were confiscated.

But the country’s Tajoura research centre continues to stock large quantities of radioisotopes.

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