nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

United Nations call for clean-up of depleted uranium contaminated countries

flag-UN-Smdepleted-uraniumNew United Nations depleted uranium resolution calls for states to help with clean-up A fifth United Nations resolution has been tabled which calls for states to provide assistance to countries affected by contamination and for research into DU’s health and environmental effects. 17 October 2014 – ICBUW

The Non-Aligned Movement has submitted a fifth resolution on depleted uranium weapons (DU) at the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. As with previous years, new language has been added to the resolution. This year the wording includes a call for states to assist countries affected by the weapons…….http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/new-un-depleted-uranium-resolution-calls-for-clean

October 18, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, depleted uranium | Leave a comment

“Genocide” by birth defects, cancers, in Iraq, due to depleted uranium weapons

Fallujah-babyIraqi Doctors Call Depleted Uranium Use “Genocide” TruthOut  14 October 2014 By Dahr Jamail,  | Report Contamination from depleted uranium (DU) munitions is causing sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq, according to numerous Iraqi doctors.

Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists believe that DU contamination is also connected to the emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.

There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah during 2004, and Basra during the 1991 US war on Iraq.

It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation. Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the first Gulf War in 1991, the country’s rate of cancer cases was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the trend continuing.

The actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research and reporting of cases. Continue reading

October 15, 2014 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, Iraq, Reference | Leave a comment

Birth defects – the effects of depleted uranium on the city of Basra, Iraq

du_roundsIraqi Doctors Call Depleted Uranium Use “Genocide” TruthOut  14 October 2014 By Dahr Jamail

“………..Basra   Iraq’s southern city of Basra was heavily bombarded with DU munitions by US warplanes during the 1991 war.

Al-Ali, an expert oncologist at the Basra Cancer Treatment Center, was heavily involved in working on two birth defect studies carried out in the wake of that war.

“The types of birth defects were hydrocephaly [an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles of the brain], anencephaly [the absence of a large part of the brain and the skull], cleft lip and phacomelia [loss of limbs],” al-Ali told Truthout. “Other consequences are the cancers which increased three-fold during the last two decades.”

He said that clusters of cancers occurring at higher incidence within the same family were another new phenomenon seen in Iraq only after the 1991 and 2003 wars.

“Other diseases related to effects of DU were the kidney failure of unknown cause and stone formation,” he added. “Respiratory problems like asthma and also myopathy and neuropathy are now very common as well.”

In Babil Province in southern Iraq, cancer rates have been escalating at alarming rates since 2003. Dr. Sharif al-Alwachi, the head of the Babil Cancer Center, blames the use of depleted uranium weapons by US forces during and following the 2003 invasion.

“The environment could be contaminated by chemical weapons and depleted uranium from the aftermath of the war on Iraq,” Alwachi told Truthout. “The air, soil and water are all polluted by these weapons, and as they come into contact with human beings they become poisonous. This is new to our region, and people are suffering here.”

According to a study published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, there was a sevenfold increase in the number of birth defects in Basra between 1994 and 2003.

In addition, never before has such a high rate of neural tube defects (“open back”) been recorded in babies as in Basra, and the rate continues to rise. According to the study, the number of hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) cases among newborns is six times as high in Basra as it is in the United States.

Childhood cancer also appears to be unusually prevalent in Basra.

“We have noticed bouts of malignant tumors affecting children’s limbs,” an Iraqi doctor who has worked in various parts of the country for 20 years told Truthout. He requested anonymity for security reasons. “These malignancies are usually of very aggressive types and in the view of the shortage of facilities we are running in our hospitals they usually have a fatal outcome.”

His prognosis was grim.

“The only help we can provide to those children is amputation, which sometimes does nothing but prolonging their suffering, in addition to the great psychological impact on both the child and the parents,” he said. “We know that it is possible to save most of these children in specialized oncology centers by advanced salvage surgery, with the attendant chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Unfortunately, this seems to be a kind fantasy for our government and health administrations, which are currently busy with the large amount of trauma overwhelming our hospitals’ resources.”…….http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26703-iraqi-doctors-call-depleted-uranium-use-genocide

October 15, 2014 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, Iraq | Leave a comment

Time for USA Department of Defense (DOD) to come clean on use of depleted uranium weapons

depleted-uranium-weaponDepleted uranium coordinates needed for clean-up of dangerous sites in Iraq International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the State Department on behalf of itself and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) seeking the firing coordinates of weapons used in Iraq that contained depleted uranium (DU).
25 September 2014 – The CCR

As the US launches new military actions in the Middle East, the groups say getting information about the military’s use of DU in weaponry and its long-term effects is as urgent as ever. According to “In a State of Uncertainty,” a report by the Netherlands-based organization PAX, Iraq has been subject to the largest use of DU munitions of all areas of conflict and test sites, conservatively estimated to be at least 440 metric tons, though the United Nations Environment Programme has estimated an amount up to five times that based on satellite imagery. Iraqi civilians thought to have been exposed to DU and remaining debris have suffered high rates of cancer and birth defects and U.S. veterans report unexplained illnesses.

DU is but one example of the toxic legacy left by our wars in Iraq,” said CCR Attorney Jeena Shah. “Veterans who served in Iraq are suffering side effects, while many Iraqis still live surrounded by piles of metal debris left over from the war and with soil and ground water potentially contaminated by DU. The only way to deal with its effects and to ensure it is cleaned up is to have a full accounting of where weapons containing DU were deployed.
DU is a byproduct of enriched uranium and is used in armor-piercing weapons due to its high density. When DU hits a target, its fragments burn and vaporize into a fine dust. If a person inhales, ingests, or is exposed by radiation to DU, radioactive material can be absorbed into the lungs, bone, kidney, skeletal tissue, reproductive system, brain, and other organs. A report recently published by the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons concluded after reviewing approximately fifty peer-reviewed studies on DU that it is clearly a genotoxic agent, known to be involved in the development of cancer and potentially responsible for genetic damage. Some of the wreckage left behind from the war has entered the unregulated trade in scrap metal, sometimes even made into cooking pots. No safe levels of exposure to DU have been established, and researchers advise that all exposure should be avoided. Iraq and other UN member states have called for the banning of DU and the issue will be before the United Nations in October…….http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/depleted-uranium-coordinates-needed-for-clean-up

September 26, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Is USA again using depleted uranium weapons in Middle East?

depleted-uranium-weaponUS urged to clarify depleted uranium policy as A-10 gunships deploy to the Middle East http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/us-to-deploy-a-10-gunships-to-the-middle-east 23 Sept 14

The decision to deploy A-10 gunships in the regional conflict against Islamic State has raised fears of the further use of depleted uranium in Iraq, and potentially in Syria.
23 September 2014 – ICBUW

The Pentagon has announced plans to send 12 A-10 gunships from the 122nd Fighter Wing to an unspecified location in the Middle East as part of its wider campaign against Islamic State (IS) fighters. The aircraft, which can fire 30mm DU cannon rounds, are designed for use in close air support of grounds troops. However President Obama has given assurances that US troops will not be involved in ground combat operations during the conflict.

In June, Iraq called for a global treaty ban on DU, highlighting the need for technical assistance for clearance and urging the UN and member states to act with more urgency on the issue. The renewed use of DU on its territory when contamination from 1991 and 2003 remains unresolved would be politically problematic. ICBUW strongly urges the US not to use DU and to state publicly that it will not do so. The arrival of the A-10s in the Middle East will coincide with debate over a fifth UN General Assembly resolution expressing concern over DU weapons.

With the aircraft not due in the Middle East until mid-October, there is an opportunity for US campaigners to seek clarification on whether DU will be used. Those in countries forming part of the new coalition, such as France and the UK, should ask their governments whether they endorse any use of DU by US forces in the conflict.

US DU usage policy unclear

The deployment may provide a new test for US policy on DU use – namely when does it view its use acceptable or unacceptable. Following the short-lived use of A-10s in Libya in 2011, the US claimed that no DU had been used – although reserved the right to use it in future. Concern over the potential use of DU in Libya had been raised by parliamentarians in a number of NATO countries, including the UK and Belgium. Analysts expressed surprise at the US decision, as tackling Libya’s armoured vehicles seemed like a logical use for the A-10, a role for which the US claims DU ammunition is critically important. This remains the political line although information revealed earlier this year demonstrated that DU was also used against non-armoured targets, unmounted troops and buildings in Iraq in 2003.

A-10 aircraft fire 30mm PGU-14 armour piercing incendiary DU ammunition from a cannon fitted beneath the cockpit. The GAU-8 cannon normally fires a standard combat mixture of PGU-14 and PGU-13 high explosive rounds, which are pre-loaded on an ammunition belt before the plane takes off. The A-10 has been responsible for more DU contamination than any other platform. In the case of Libya, and if the US statement was correct, then it was the first public acknowledgement by the US that A-10s were being loaded only with the high explosive PGU-13 rounds during combat of this type, although the practice has previously been identified in photographs of A-10 units in Afghanistan.

At issue is therefore whether the US has set itself a voluntary code of conduct that determines whether DU use is acceptable or not in any given conflict. Perhaps it is cost/benefit analysis of perceived military necessity versus impact on public relations? The calculation underlines the continuing global stigmatisation of the weapons, which is also reflected in the increasingly large majorities voting in favour of DU resolutions at the UN General Assembly. It is highly likely that, given the level of concern about the weapons in the region, any use of DU by the US would be a propaganda victory for IS.

September 24, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Depleted uranium munitions threaten anyone near to them for a long period

depleted-uranium-weapon

Radiation Being Emitted by Consolidated Quantities of Concentrated “Depleted” Uranium Ammunition Not Yet Used in Battle Affects:

1. Workers in ammunition manufacturing facilities, military and civilian.

2. Truck drivers, both military and civilian who transport these munitions.

3. Anyone else military or civilian who must spend long hours in close proximity of

stockpiled concentrated “depleted” uranium ammunition.

4. Workers, military and civilian engaged in demilitarization of DU munitions.

A few examples of those who are likely to be at high risk are:  anyone who sat on ammo boxes for long periods of time; pilots of A-10 Thunderbolt Warthogs and Apache Helicopters, as they sat right over their payloads of 30mm concentrated DU munitions while on sorties.

 

highly-recommended         DU – You Don’t Have To Inhale Or Ingest It For It To Make You Sick, Veterans Today, by Elaine A. Hunter Concentrated “Depleted” Uranium Munitions Emit: Alpha + Beta + Gamma rays + Neutrons + X-rays, Can Wreak Havoc in the Human Body While Waiting to be Used in Battle!

From Multiple Horses’ Mouths:  More, Much More on Ignored and Suppressed US Government and Military Data that Show the Threat of Harmful Effects of “Consolidated Quantities” of Concentrated “Depleted” Uranium (DU) Munitions

Heads up people concerned about the harmful effects of concentrated “depleted” uranium munitions, this is very important. This article is not an easy read.  If you or anyone you know and love has been around “consolidated quantities” of concentrated  “depleted” uranium (DU) munitions please read it anyway. They are a threat to the health of workers, military and civilian, national and international while they are in fabrication, transit or just sitting around waiting to be used in battle. The concentrated DU in munitions is not inert; it does not suddenly become radioactive only when it is fired in battle.

When I plugged in to what is broadcast on the internet, I was mystified that all the concern was about DU inhaled, ingested or embedded as fragments. Those aspects ARE important, without a doubt, and the most obvious. Yet unless the rest of the story is made known, the rest of the causes of illnesses and deaths of those exposed to concentrated DU will continue to be ignored. The rest of the story is this: it is not necessary for the munitions to be used in combat for them to make a person sick, even sick unto death…….. Continue reading

September 20, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, depleted uranium, Reference | Leave a comment

Depleted uranium as a carcinogen and genotoxin

depleted-uraniumMalignant Effects: depleted uranium as a carcinogen and genotoxin http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/malignant-effects

The purpose of this report is to introduce the reader to the growing weight of evidence relating to how DU can damage DNA, interfere with cellular processes and contribute to the development of cancer. The report uses peer-reviewed studies, many of which have been published during the last decade and, wherever possible, has sought to simplify the scientific language to make it accessible to the lay reader.
29 August 2014 – ICBUW

A PDF version of Malignant Effects is available to download at the end of this article.

Executive summary
What is depleted uranium?

Depleted uranium (DU) is a by-product of the uranium enrichment process. It is used by a number of states in armour-piercing tank shells and bullets.

The use of DU weapons is controversial because DU is radioactive and chemically toxic. Its use can generate particles that can be inhaled or ingested. DU creates large quantities of contaminated wreckage and hotspots of persistent contamination that present a hazard to civilians long after conflict ends. Continue reading

September 2, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, depleted uranium, Reference | Leave a comment

Internal radiation emitters causing cancers, birth deformities: depleted uranium’s legacy in Iraq

Fallujah-babyDepleted Uranium And The Iraq War’s Legacy Of Cancer, Mint Press News,  Depleted uranium was used in Iraq warzone weaponry, and now kids are playing in contaminated fields and the spent weapons are being sold as scrap metal. By   @FrederickReese | July 2, 2014 As instability in Iraq is forcing the United States to consider a third invasion of the Middle Eastern nation, the consequences of the first two invasions are coming into focus. For large sectors of the Iraqi population, American intervention has led to sharp spikes in the rates of congenital birth defects, premature births, miscarriages and leukemia cases.

According to Iraqi government statistics, the rate of cancer in the country has skyrocketed from 40 per 100,000 people prior to the First Gulf War in 1991, to 800 per 100,000 in 1995, to at least 1,600 per 100,000 in 2005.

The culprit behind all of these health issues is depleted uranium, a byproduct of uranium enrichment. With a mass fraction a third of what fissile uranium would have, depleted uranium emits less alpha radiation — up to 60 percent less than natural uranium, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. This “relative” safety offered a rationale for many nations — particularly, the U.S. — to put the waste material to use.

As depleted uranium is 1.67 times denser than lead, a depleted uranium projectile can be smaller than an equivalent lead projectile but produce similar results. This smaller size means a smaller diameter, less aerodynamic drag and a smaller area of impact, meaning that depleted uranium bullets can travel faster and inflict more pressure on impact, causing deeper penetration. Additionally, depleted uranium is incendiary and self-sharpening, making depleted uranium ideal for anti-tank ammunition. It is also used as armor plating for much of America’s tank fleet.

The problem with using depleted uranium, however, lies in the fact that depleted uranium is mostly de-energized. In practical terms, depleted uranium can have — at a minimum — 40 percent the radioactivity of natural uranium with a half-life that can be measured in millennia (between 703 million to 4.468 billion years). While the depleted uranium presents little to no risk to health via radiation due to its relatively weak radioactivity, direct internal contact with the heavy metal can have chemical toxicity effects on the nervous system, liver, heart and kidneys, with DNA mutations and RNA transcription errors being reported in the case of depleted uranium dust being absorbed in vitro.

While depleted uranium is not as toxic as other heavy metals, such as mercury or lead, pronounced toxicity is still possible through repeated or chronic exposure………http://www.mintpressnews.com/depleted-uranium-iraq-wars-legacy-cancer/193338/

July 9, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, health, Iraq, Reference | Leave a comment

Netherlands reveal facts on US use of depleted uranium weapons in civilian areas

depleted-uraniumUS fired depleted uranium rounds in civilian areas during 2003 Iraq campaign – report http://rt.com/news/167220-depleted-uranium-us-iraq/ June 20, 2014 US-led forces in Iraq used depleted uranium weapons in civilian-populated areas during the 2003 military campaign, according to a new Dutch NGO study that also exposes a lack of adequate cleanup efforts by the invading troops.

Depleted uranium used by US forces blamed for birth defects and cancer in Iraq

For the first time the location of several sites where the invaders fired some 10,000 depleted uranium rounds were released by the Dutch Defense Ministry, and published in a study by Dutch peace group PAX.

Most of the DU rounds fired by the US-led coalition were in heavily populated areas, the group says. Samawah, Nasiriyah and Basrah are just some urban areas where ammunition was deployed – with around 1,500 anti-armor rounds fired directly at Saddam Hussein’s infantry forces. The GPS coordinates of DU rounds were initially handed over to the Dutch Defense Ministry because the Netherlands was worried about the potential contamination of its own troops in the country. The ministry later shared the information with PAX under a freedom of information law.

Most of the firing locations remain unknown, as more than 300,000 DU rounds are believed to have been fired by US-led coalition.

NGO says that the health risks of more than 440,000 kg of DU fired by Western forces remains unclear, as “neither coalition forces nor the Iraqi government have supported health research into civilian DU exposure.”

“Coalition forces were aware of the potential health and environmental impact of DU munitions, yet refrained from undertaking the necessary clean-up of DU outside their own bases,” a summary of the report reads.

Wim Zwijnenburg, the author of the report, said the US Air Force knew of the consequences of using DU ammunition.

“The use of DU against these targets questions the adherence of coalition forces to their own principles and guidelines. They should be held accountable for the consequences,” Zwijnenburg said, citing a 1975 memo from the Air Force Office of the Judge Advocate that restricted the use of such ammunition.

“Use of this munition solely against personnel is prohibited if alternative weapons are available,” the memo said, because of “unnecessary suffering and poison.”

According to an earlier PAX report, more than 300 sites in Iraq are currently contaminated with depleted uranium and it would cost at least $30 million to clean up.

June 24, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, Iraq, USA | Leave a comment

Depleted uranium’s massive death toll

du_roundsDEPLETED URANIUM: Leaving An Eternal Legacy Of Environmental Radioactivity Wherever It’s Used In War http://stateofthenation2012.com/?p=5585 June 1, 2014 by State of the Nation 2014 THE GREATEST CRIME OF HISTORIC TIME by Victor Connor

“The greatest crime against humanity in all historic time has now been committed by the United States government. It dwarfs Joseph Stalin’s killing of 7,000,000 Ukrainians in the 1930s and Adolph Hitler’s killing of 6,000,000 Jewish people in the 1940s. This crime will cause the premature deaths of TENS of MILLIONS of people and will give a horribly debilitating disease to TENS of MILLIONS more. It is indiscriminate mass murder – genocide. My statements may be dramatic, but they are absolutely true. “Since October of 2001, the United States military has used approximately 3,000 tons of depleted uranium munitions against people in Afghanistan and Iraq. This will soon cause serious health issues including respiratory disease, kidney problems, rashes, birth defects, and the number of cancers of these people will jump to over 500,000 each year.

How do I know this? Because the United States military used 375 tons of depleted uranium munitions against Iraq in 1991, and the cancer rate in children measured in Iraqi hospitals rose from 32,000 per year in 1990 to 130,000 in 1997. According to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official reports, U.S. casualties from Gulf War 1 now exceed 180,000 and already over 30,000 are now disabled from Gulf War 2. We’ve now used eight times what we did in 1991 and radiation has long been known to cause cancer. This is well known by our federal government. Continue reading

June 2, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, depleted uranium | Leave a comment

As weapons companies make money, depleted uranium destroys lives

Depleted Environment, Depleted Lives

du_roundsUranium Weapons Still Making Money, Wreaking Havoc http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/15/uranium-weapons-still-making-money-wreaking-havoc/ by JOHN LAFORGE   The US Army has awarded General Dynamics a $12 million contract to deconstruct and dispose of 78,000 depleted uranium anti-tank shells. The Pentagon’s May 6 announcement calls for “demilitarization” of the aging shells, as newer depleted uranium rounds are added to the US arsenal.

In the perpetually profitable business of war production, General Dynamics originally produced and sold some of the 120-millimeter anti-tank rounds to the Army. One of the richest weapons builders on earth, General Dynamics has 95,000 employees and sells its wares in 40 countries on six continents.

The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons in Manchester, England, reports the armor-piercing shells to be disassembled are thought to be the large 105-millimeter and 120-millimeter anti-tank rounds. Depleted uranium, or DU, weapons are made of extremely dense uranium-238. More than 700,000 tons of DU has been left as waste in the US alone from the production of nuclear weapons and nuclear reactor fuel rods. The urankum-238 is left when fissionable uranium-235 is separated for H-bombs and reactor fuel. DU is only ‘depleted’ of this U-235. It is still a radioactive and toxic heavy metal. A tax and ecological liability, DU is given away free to weapons builders.

The Pentagon is replacing older DU shells in spite of international appeals for a moratorium on their use. The military is set to buy 2,500 large anti-tank rounds just this year at a cost of $30 million or over $10,000 each from Alliant Tech Systems, formerly of Minneapolis.
In 1991, during its 40-day, 1,000-sorties-per-day bombardment, between 300 and 800 tons of DU was blasted into Iraq by US forces. Another estimated 170 tons were used in the 2003 bombing and annexation. Toxic, radioactive contamination left from the use of these weapons (the DU burns and turns to dusty aerosol on impact) has been linked to the skyrocketing incidence of birth abnormalities in southern Iraq and to the Gulf War Syndrome among tens of thousands of US combat veterans.

After the US/NATO bombardment of Kosovo in 1999, our DU weapons were discovered to be spiked with plutonium and other isotopes. This news created a political uproar in Europe and led to the admission by the US Energy Department that “the entire US stock of depleted uranium was contaminated” with plutonium, americium, neptunium and technetium. United Nations investigators in Kosovo found sites hit with DU to be poisoned with all four isotopes. The Nation magazine reported that about 150,000 tons uranium-238 was dirtied with plutonium-239 and neptunium-237 and that “some apparently found its way to the Persian Gulf and Balkans battlefields.” (Robert Alvarez, “DU at Home,” The Nation, April 9, 2001, p. 24)

European papers shouting “Plutonium!” in headlines saw US and NATO officials rushing to microphones to claim with straight faces that their shells contained “mere traces of plutonium, not enough to cause harm,” and that the highly radioactive materials “were not relevant to soldiers’ health because of their minute quantities.” But plutonium is 200,000 times more radioactive than U-238 and ingesting less than 27 micrograms of plutonium-239 a millionth of an ounce — will cause lung cancer.

(One indication of just how poisonous these weapons are is that in 30 years of resisting nuclear weapons and the war system, the only ‘not guilty of trespass’ verdict I ever won from a jury followed a protest at Alliant Tech over its DU program. The jury agreed with four of us that since poison weapons are banned by the Geneva and Hague Conventions our action was an attempt at crime prevention.)

Long-term disposal plans for the uranium from 78,000 shells were not outlined by the Army. Uranium in the shells is often alloyed with titanium or molybdenum, and if these metals are not recycled, they could become part of our vast stockpile of DU, requiring indefinite storage as intermediate-level radioactive waste. Other parts of the munitions are currently disposed of as low-level rad’ waste in spite of the plutonium content.

May 16, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Depleted uranium pollution of Hawaii by Pentagon’s dirty bombing

depleted-uraniumThe Pentagon’s Dirty Bombers: Depleted Uranium in the USA, Aletho News By David Lindorff – 10/26/2009 The Nuclear Regulator Commission is considering an application by the US Army for a permit to have depleted uranium at its Pohakuloa Training Area, a vast stretch of flat land in what’s called the “saddle” between the sacred mountains of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on Hawaii’s Big Island, and at the Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu. In fact, what the Army is asking for is a permit to leave in place the DU left over from years of test firing of M101 mortar “spotting rounds,” that each contained close to half a pound of depleted uranium (DU). The Army, which originally denied that any DU weapons had been used at either location, now says that as many as 2000 rounds of M101 DU mortars might have been fired at Pohakuloa alone.

But that’s only a small part of the story.

The Army is actually seeking a master permit from the NRC to cover all the sites where it has fired DU weapons, including penetrator shells that, unlike the M101, are designed to hit targets and burn on impact, turning the DU in the warhead into a fine dust of uranium oxide. Hearings on this proposal were held in Hawaii on Aug. 26 and 27.

Uranium particles, whether pure uranium or in an oxidized form, are alpha emitters, and can be highly carcinogenic and mutagenic if ingested or inhaled, since they can lodge in one part of the body—the kidney or lung or gonad, for example—and then irradiate surrounding cells with large, destructive alpha particles (actually helium atoms), until some gene is compromised and a cell become malignant.

Among the sites identified by the NRC as being contaminated with DU are:

Ft. Hood, TX
Ft. Benning, GA
Ft. Campbell, KY
Ft. Knox, KY
Ft. Lewis, WA
Ft. Riley, KS
Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD
Ft. Dix, NJ
Makua Military Reservation, HI

Other locations identified as having DU weapons contamination are:

China Lake Air Warfare Center, CA
Eglin AFB, Florida,
Nellis AFB, NV
Davis-Monthan AFB
Kirtland AFB, NM
White Sands Missile Range, NM
Ethan Allen Firing Range, VT
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

An application for a 99-year permit to test DU weapons at the NM Inst. Of Mining and Technology claimed that that site’s test area was “so contaminated with DU… as to preclude any other use”!

DU weapons have also been used by the Navy at Vieques Island off Puerto Rico (the Navy claimed it was a “mistake.”)………. http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/the-pentagons-dirty-bombers-depleted-uranium-in-the-usa/

May 10, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, Reference, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

The Pentagon in denial about the harmful effects of depleted uranium

depleted-uraniumThe Pentagon’s Dirty Bombers: Depleted Uranium in the USA, Aletho News By David Lindorff – 10/26/2009 “……The Pentagon continues a long history of claiming that DU–which is the uranium that is left after the fissionable isotope U-235 is removed to make nuclear fuel and bombs–is not dangerous, although this official stance is belied by the warnings it has given to its troops (though not to civilians in battle zones), to stay well clear of tanks and other equipment destroyed by US tanks, which used DU weapons as the ordnance of choice in both the Gulf War and the current Iraq War. During both wars, DU ammunition was used by Army and Marine tanks, by the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the A-10 ground support jet, the Marine Harrier jet, and specially equipped F16 fighter jets. The Navy also switched from DU ammunition to tungsten ammunition in its Phalanx anti-missile ship defense system because of health and environmental concerns with the DU ammo.

In both wars, a high percentage of troops have returned with many physical ailments–auto-immune problems, cancers, and later, birth defects in offspring–which have been referred to as Gulf War and now Iraq War Syndrome. As many as a quarter of returning vets from the Gulf War have reported strange illnesses and cancers and the numbers are rising for Iraq War vets. As well, statistics from the National Institutes of Health show that counties hosting bases and test facilities where DU has been uses also show high cancer rates. This is certainly true for Hawaii’s Big Island, which has the highest cancer rates for the Hawaiian archipelago. Meanwhile, the lung cancer rate for the Ft. Knox area is 105-127 per 100,000 for the 2001-2005 period, high by state and national standards. The rate is among the highest in the state of Washington for Pierce County, where Ft. Lewis is located.

The Pentagon denies that it uses depleted uranium in bombs, missiles and cruise missile warheads, but military personnel have reported their use in all three delivery systems, and reports exist of DU bunker-buster bombs, DU-tipped penetrator warheads on Tomahawk cruise missiles and on some air-to-ground missiles.

It’s a good bet that all US munitions containing DU have been widely tested at various US military bases and testing grounds.

The bottom line is that at the same time that US government is continuing to warn about the danger of terrorists acquiring the materials to make a “dirty” bomb that could spread radioactive material in the US, the US military has for years been doing exactly that, and continues to do so, with no intention to clean up its messes, many of which are allowing depleted uranium to percolate into ground water or flow down streams to more populated areas.

Of course, it could have been worse. The M101 mortar that litters Pohakuloa was actually designed as a range-finder for the Davy Crocket mortar, which back in the late 1950s and the 1960s, and up until 1971 was designed to allow infantry troops to fire a small “tactical” nuclear mortar shell at targets just one to two miles distant. Some 700 of these “little nukes”, that had a power of “just” several kilotons or less, were made and actually made their way into the arsenals of troops in Europe and elsewhere during the Cold War. Fortunately there are no reports of any of them having been fired off at any of the military’s firing ranges–especially given that their radiation effect radius was larger than their firing range, meaning that launching one was an automatic suicide mission.

(Actually firing it would have been suicide.)

Then again, the Pentagon doesn’t exactly have a sterling record about telling the truth where nuclear weapons and DU weapons are concerned. (You start to notice as you look into this stuff that with uranium weapons, the military’s attitude towards troop safety is not a whole lot better than its attitude towards the people at the downrange end of the line.)

Nor is the NRC to be relied on to protect the American public. As an administrative judge wrote in a ruling on a case involving DU contamination at Jefferson Proving Ground in Indiana, the NRC exhibited a “more than casual attitude with regard to decommissioning of sites on which radioactive materials remain as a potential threat to public health and safety and to the environment.”

In another case, involving cleanup of the ShieldAlloy Metallurgical Corp.’s site in Newfield, NJ, where DU weapons were made, a judge said, “at the very least, the (NRC) staff has countenanced…a situation that will leave the citizens in the area surrounding the activity site in doubt for close to two decades regarding what measures will ultimately be taken for their protection.” http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/the-pentagons-dirty-bombers-depleted-uranium-in-the-usa/

May 10, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, Uranium, USA | 1 Comment

What to do with 40,000 depleted uranium rounds scattered around Serbia?

depleted-uraniumSerbian Minister, UN representatives discuss depleted uranium http://inserbia.info/today/2014/03/serbias-minister-un-representatives-discuss-depleted-uranium-sites/sites BELGRADE – Serbia’s Minister without portfolio for Kosovo-Metohija Aleksandar Vulin has discussed with UN representatives in Belgrade the progress made in research on locations in Serbia where higher levels of depleted uranium have been detected. Vulin on Thursday met with Peter Due, the Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office in Belgrade, and UN Resident Coordinator Irena Vojackova-Solorano, the Serbian government’s Office for Kosovo-Metohija said in a statement.

Following field research in 1999 and 2002, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) published reports on locations with higher levels of depleted uranium, the statement said.

During the 1999 bombing campaign, NATO forces used banned depleted uranium ammunition and Yugoslav Forces figures said that 30,000 to 50,000 rounds of depleted uranium ammunition were scattered on 112 locations across the country, but mostly in Kosovo-Metohija.

On the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Vulin discussed with the UN representatives the progress made in research on locations with higher depleted uranium levels in the territory of central Serbia, but also in Kosovo-Metohija.

Such research is helpful not only to Serbia, but also to other countries, Minister Vulin said.

Vojackova-Solorano said that the reports were the first of their kind and that the time has come to monitor the situation again, especially if the Serbian government has evidence of an impact of the bombing campaign on the health of the population in Serbia, the statement said.

She said that the UN agency will strive to provide support to Serbia’s health care system in the coming years.

Due also inquired about the progress in the technical negotiations on establishing the community of Serb municipalities and organising judicial authorities in northern Kosovo-Metohija.

Minister Vulin reiterated that any armed force in Kosovo-Metohija other than Kfor – the force envisioned by UN Security Council Resolution 1244 – is absolutely unacceptable to Serbia.

March 29, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, EUROPE, Uranium | 1 Comment

The global menace of uranium

Uranium – the ‘demon metal’ that threatens us all, Ecologist,  Chris Busby, 1st January 2014   Ingested Uranium is linked with health impacts far greater than is explained by orthodox risk models. Chris Busby explains how the ‘demon metal’ does its damage – and why the nuclear industry is desperate to hide the truth.  I am going to ramble about a bit here, but it’s a bit of a rambling tale, which I hope will come together at the end………

Fallujah – shake, bake, irradiate    In 2009 I helped organize the first study of cancer and infant mortality in Fallujah Iraq – a paper which has now had 27,000 accesses and 18,000 downloads from the journal website and has been something of a phenomenon in the media (though not of course the BBC).

cancer_cellsThe results showed an enormous increase in cancer, and this was most clear for in children (0-14) where the rate was 12.6 times the expected and in leukemia in young adults 0-34 where the rate was 38 times the expected.

Now these are pretty astonishing findings. The biggest leukemia increase in Hiroshima was about 17-fold, and this was ascribed to radiation exposures. But whatever caused this in Fallujah, also increased rates of congenital defects in the newborn and altered the sex ratio at birth.

Fallujah-babyThe sex ratio, the number of boys born per 1000 girls, fell from 1050 to about 800, a signal of genetic damage. We looked for the cause of this genetic damage in the hair of the mothers of the birth defect children and found a huge excess of Uranium. This result also caused a splash, with 16,000 accesses to the paper since its publication in 2011.

depleted-uraniumUranium weapons cause genetic damage   Of course, these Fallujah studies just confirmed what the Iraqi doctors had been saying ever since Gulf War 1 when the US vapourised about 350 tons of the stuff over the Iraqi population. Uranium weapons were causing the genetic damage.

There were reports of similar effects in the Balkans and in Gulf war veterans and their children. Discussion can be found in these papers and the third one, where the congenital malformation rates are calculated.

The UK Gulf veterans are now in their 40s and are beginning to develop cancer. There are studies showing that US veterans have had children with birth defects. I have been involved in a number of Gulf war cancer cases in Ministry of Defence Pensions appeals, and notably in a coroner inquest in 2009 into the death of Gulf Veteran Stuart Dyson.

He died from colon cancer at the young age (for that disease) of 40, and the jury concluded that his cancer was caused by Depleted Uranium exposure, a finding that caused severe headaches for the Secretary of State for Defence.

Atomic-Bomb-SmBomb test veterans  It is not only the Gulf veterans that were exposed to Uranium. The atmospheric nuclear tests involved huge bombs that were constructed entirely of Uranium.

The UK Grapple Y 3 megaton test on Christmas Island in 1958 (video here ~ 1 minute) involved a 4 ton lump of the stuff that was atomized by the explosion and created a black rain of Uranium oxide nanoparticles that fell from the sky (along with fish that had been sucked from the sea into the cloud).

The nuclear test veterans have suffered all the same effects: cancers and a whole range of health problems. And birth defects in the children. I know about the birth defects as a result of an epidemiological study I carried out with Mireille de Messieres in 2007. This showed a 9-fold excess risk of a congenital defect in the children and an 8- fold excess in the grandchildren.

And I know about the Uranium in the bombs and the black rain as it is evidence in the case I am currently fighting in the Royal Courts of Justice in a nuclear test veteran Pensions Appeal……..http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2205213/uranium_the_demon_metal_that_threatens_us_all.html

 

January 2, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, Uranium | 2 Comments

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 860 other followers