United Nations nuclear inspectors are scheduled to arrive back in Iraq this week for the first time since the US-led invasion.
Scientists from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will check reports of widespread looting at Iraq's largest nuclear site.
There are no plans yet for them to resume the hunt for banned weapons of mass destruction which was suspended on the eve of war.
The visit follows reports that looters have removed nuclear containers from the sprawling Tuwaitha nuclear facility possibly to store water, fuel or even milk.
Correspondents say there are also fears that stolen items could end up being used to make a "dirty bomb", in which conventional explosives are used to scatter radioactive material over a wide area.