The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed a report that 380 tons of explosives are missing from a key former military installation in Iraq.

IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei is expected to brief the United Nations Security Council later today (Monday) on the disappearance of the explosives.

The New York Times quotes experts as saying the missing explosives are of a type that could be used to demolish buildings, produce missile warheads or possibly trigger a nuclear weapon.

U.S. officials are said to have been informed several weeks ago that the explosives had disappeared from Iraq's Al Qaqaa military storage facility. The newspaper says the site was supposed to be under U.S. military control, but it has been extensively looted (and was not secure as recently as Saturday).