The government of Iraq, through the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) is decommissioning Iraq’s former nuclear facilities. The 18 former facilities at the Al-Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center near Baghdad include partially destroyed research reactors, a fuel fabrication facility and radioisotope production facilities. These 18 former facilities contain large numbers of silos and drums of uncharacterized radioactive waste and approximately 30 tanks that contain or did contain uncharacterized liquid radioactive wastes. Other key sites outside of Al Tuwaitha include facilities at Jesira (uranium processing and waste storage facility), Rashdiya (centrifuge facility) and Tarmiya (enrichment plant). The newly created Radioactive Waste Treatment Management Directorate (RWTMD) within MoST is responsible for Iraq’s centralized management of radioactive waste, including safe and secure disposal. In addition to being responsible for the uncharacterized wastes at Al Tuwaitha, the RWTMD will be responsible for future decommissioning wastes, approximately 900 disused sealed radioactive sources, and unknown quantities of NORM wastes from oil production in Iraq. This paper presents the challenges and progress that the RWTMD has made in setting-up a radioactive waste management program. The progress includes the establishment of a staffing structure, staff, participation in international training, rehabilitation of portions of the former Radioactive Waste Treatment Station at Al-Tuwaitha and the acquisition of equipment.

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