May 29, 2003

Human nightlights illuminate village
Locals find that no power = no problem!

'There are still traces of yellow-brown powder around the side of the big rusty drum where Ali Awad stores gasoline. Ali says he bought it from a looter. His neighbors think he took it himself. The 50 gallon drum had been full of heavy yellow powder, Ali recalled, but the looter emptied it onto the floor of the store at the Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center one day in mid-April when local people literally dismantled Iraq's largest nuclear site. The powder could, however, eventually kill Ali and many other locals. It is mined uranium ready for enrichment. Ali dismisses the talk of danger. "People here use the barrels for drinking water, and they're all right," he says.'

"Hey," said an anonymous soldier, "if they've got radiation poisoning, they're probably too sick to shoot the stuff at us."

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