Iraq fears ISIS has materials for dirty bombs - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Iraq fears ISIS has materials for dirty bombs

Posted: Updated:
The Iraqi government is calling on the United Nations for help when insurgents seized some nuclear materials from a university. (Source: UNIVERSITY OF MOSUL/CNN) The Iraqi government is calling on the United Nations for help when insurgents seized some nuclear materials from a university. (Source: UNIVERSITY OF MOSUL/CNN)
  • InternationalMore>>

  • Russian investigator hopes to visit jet crash site

    Russian investigator hopes to visit jet crash site

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:49 AM EDT2014-07-31 09:49:41 GMT
    Ukraine's parliament is meeting in special session to decide whether to accept Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's decision to resign.More >>
    A spokesman for Russia's state aviation body says a delegation hopes to visit the site where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in east Ukraine two weeks ago.More >>
  • Malaysian prime minister in Netherlands

    Malaysian prime minister in Netherlands

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:36 AM EDT2014-07-31 09:36:41 GMT
    Malaysia's prime minister has arrived in the Netherlands ahead of a meeting with his Dutch counterpart to discuss plans for repatriating remains of Malaysian victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and...More >>
    Malaysia's prime minister has arrived in the Netherlands ahead of a meeting with his Dutch counterpart to discuss plans for repatriating remains of Malaysian victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and continuing...More >>
  • Israel vows to destroy Hamas tunnels

    Israel vows to destroy Hamas tunnels

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:31 AM EDT2014-07-31 09:31:17 GMT
    Israel's military says it is calling up another 16,000 reserves.More >>
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the military will dismantle the Hamas tunnel network in the Gaza Strip "with or without a cease-fire."More >>

(CNN) - Nuclear materials now in the hands of terrorists in ISIS-controlled Mosul, and Iraq's government is sounding an international alarm, saying terrorists groups seized control of almost 90 pounds of uranium for Mosul University.

The Iraqi government is asking for "help" from the United Nations in a letter obtained by CNN, saying it "needs support to stave off the threat of the use of the nuclear material by terrorists in Iraq and abroad."

"It is a terror factor that you are never going to be able to eliminate, but not many people are going to die from this," nuclear weapons expert and president of Ploughshares Funds Joe Cirincione said.

Nuclear experts say the small amount of uranium seized by insurgents is not enriched and cannot be used to make a nuclear bomb.

"And it requires a huge industrial facility to enrich uranium. It's not something that a terrorist group is capable of," Cirincione said. "It takes tons of uranium of this kind to make enough for one bomb. These guys aren't even close."

Nuclear experts also say the uranium seized is not even enough to combine with conventional explosives to build an effective dirty bomb.

Still, U.S. military officials are telling Congress the threat from terrorists in Iraq, namely ISIS, is growing at an alarming rate as insurgents are capturing traditional weapons in Iraq and sending them into neighboring Syria.

"The equipment that ISIS was able to get a hold of due to their lightning-like success in Iraq is now flowing into Syria. Do you have any information about that," Sen. John McCain asked.

"Senator, I have seen in a classified level, I have seen some of that, that reporting that would indicate it is moving across the former borders there between Iraq and Syria back into Syria," Lt. General Joseph Votel of the U.S. Army said.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.