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Utah state regulators reject EnergySolutions’ request for burying depleted uranium

Utah says no to EnergySolutions accepting depleted uranium from military, but will it change course in the future? Salt Lake Tribune, By Brian Maffly 26 Oct 18  Radioactive munitions won’t be buried in Utah’s West Desert anytime soon after a decision issued Thursday by state regulators, who rejected EnergySolutions’ emergency request to accept several thousand tons of armor-piercing projectile points made of heavier-than-lead depleted uranium.

The radioactive-waste processor had petitioned the Department of Environmental Quality for an exemption to Utah’s provisional prohibition on burying depleted uranium, or DU. But agency staff and outside consultants concluded metallic DU is more hazardous and unstable than EnergySolutions had characterized it in its presentations.
The company has failed to demonstrate that the “exemption will not result in undue hazard to public health and safety or result in undue hazard to the environment,” Stephen Marschke, nuclear engineer with SC&A Consulting, told the Waste Management and Radiation Control Board.
The panel voted unanimously Thursday to reject the military ordnance, which grows more radioactive over time.
Board members said they were uncomfortable authorizing such waste before DEQ completes its long-running “performance assessment” of the Clive facility, 80 miles west of Salt Lake City, where EnergySolutions hopes to bury far more DU oxide, a granular waste product from the uranium-enrichment process……..
The environmental group HEAL Utah leads a campaign against the firm’s DU proposals, arguing this waste, while not highly radioactive now, poses a dire threat to future inhabitants of Skull Valley because the material becomes dangerous, and eventually deadly, over thousands of years……… https://www.sltrib.com/news/environment/2018/10/25/utah-says-now-now/
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October 27, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, USA | Leave a comment

On September 26, 1983, Stanislav Petrov saved the world

September 28, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, history, PERSONAL STORIES, politics international, Reference, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

EnergySolutions wants exemption from Utah law restricting import of depleted uranium

September 21, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Depleted Uranium and the movement to ban radioactive weapons

“Nuke ‘Em All, and Let Allah Sort It Out”, History News Network   by William Schroder, 1 June 18  

“……….A left over by-product of Cold War weapons building, thousands of tons of Depleted Uranium(DU) – only 60% as powerful as natural uranium and therefore useless to the thermonuclear arms industry – pile up in temporary storage facilities such as Yucca Mountain, Nevada and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington. What to do with it? In the late 1950s, U.S. and U.K. weapons experts discovered a use for at least some of it. Far denser than lead, a DU coating gives conventional rockets, missiles and small arms ammunition extraordinary armor penetrating capability, a definite advantage against Soviet tanks and other “hard targets.” In the 1990s, as the Cold War waned, the U.S. and British arms manufacturers continued to produce DU ordinance. First used in combat in the Gulf War, an estimated250-300 tons of DU ammunition was expended during Operation Desert Storm and many times that in Bosnia, Kosovo and the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.

DU munitions persist despite the fact their use violates the Geneva and Hague Conventions and the 1925 Geneva Poison Gas Protocol. DU also meets the definition of a WMD in US Code Title 50, Chapter 40 Sec. 2302: “The term ‘weapon of mass destruction’ means any weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of (A) toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors; (B) a disease organism; or (C) radiation or radioactivity.”

In addition, the UN Commission on Human Rights passed resolutions in 1996 and 1997stating the use of uranium ammunition is not in conformity with existing international Human Rights Law.

Although only 40 percent as radioactive as natural uranium, DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years and places all life forms at risk. As the material decays, alpha, beta and gamma radiation is released into the environment and contaminates the air, water and soil. Laboratory tests on animals show internalized alpha particles do more chromosome damage than 100 times that of an equivalent amount of other radiation. In an article published in the International Journal of Health Services, Dr. Rosalie Bertell wrote during the height of the war in Iraq, “The chief radiological hazard from DU is alpha radiation. In one day, one microgram (one millionth of a gram) of DU can release 107,000 alpha particles, each particle charged with more than four million electron volts of energy – and it only requires 6 to10 electron volts to break a DNA strand in a cell.

In the years following the 1991 Gulf War, tissue analysis reports from a hospital in Basra, Iraq showed a 160 percent increase in uterine cancer among Iraqi civilians, a 143 percent increase in thyroid cancer, a 102 percent increase in breast cancer and an 82 percent increase in leukemia. Doug Weir, the Coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons, quotes Iraqi oncologist, Dr. Jawad Al-Ali: “We have also seen a rise in the presence of double and triple cancers in patients. We know many carcinogenic factors are available in our environment, but the (cancer) rates increased only a few years after the 1991 war, and now after the 2003 conflict, we have started to have another alarming increase.”

While the U.S. is by far the largest user of DU munitions, a score of other countries have DU weapons in their arsenals. Why? Who profits? In the United States, three companies produce uranium enhanced ordinance – Alliant Techsystems of Edina, MinnesotaDay & Zimmermann of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and General Dynamics of Falls Church, Virginia. According to a November 2007 article in theNew Internationalist, “DU is expensive and hazardous to store, so it is produced at a very low cost to arms manufacturers. Arms manufacturer, Alliant Techsystems has produced more than 15 million 30mm PGU-14 shells for the U.S. Air Force and over a million M829 rounds for the U.S. Army. They also produce small caliber rounds (25mm, 30mm) for guns on U.S. aircraft and fighting vehicles… In February 2006, the U.S. Army placed an order for $38 million of M829 rounds, bringing the total order from Alliant Techsystems to $77 million for that fiscal year.”

Despite the huge profit motive behind the manufacture and use of DU ordinance, the movement to ban radioactive weapons grows. The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) has 80 member organizations worldwide and campaigns “for an explicit international treaty that would not only ban uranium weapons but also cover the decontamination of battlefields and rules on compensation for victims.” The European Organization of Military Associations (EUROMIL), consisting of 34 military associations from 22 countries, also calls for a ban. “EUROMIL recognizes that there may be long-term implications for the health of soldiers performing duties in areas where DU weapons were used. To counteract such effects, governments should ensure measures are put into place that guarantee the safety and protection of troops during their missions in areas contaminated as a result of the use of DU. EUROMIL also recognizes that there may be long-term implications for the health of the population in the area where DU weapons were used. Therefore, EUROMIL strongly urges governments to ban the use of DU weapons and to use their influence to appeal to their worldwide partners to abandon the use of these weapons.”

Disseminating nuclear waste among the innocent civilians of the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria is malfeasance of the highest order. For America to hold her reputation as a nation of justice and high moral purpose, it must reverse present policy and take the lead in a worldwide ban on depleted uranium weaponry. https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/169193

July 2, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, depleted uranium, Reference | Leave a comment

Serbia to set up commission to examine health effects of NATO’s use of depleted uranium

Serbia to Probe Health Impact of NATO Depleted Uranium Balkan Insight 18 May 18   The Serbian parliament will establish a commission to examine the alleged effects on public health of NATO’s use of depleted uranium ammunition during the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia.    Serbian MPs are expected to vote on Friday to establish a parliamentary commission to determine whether NATO’s use of depleted uranium ammunition in 1999 has increased the number of cancer sufferers – despite scepticism from medical experts……..

Parliament speaker Maja Gojkovic said that she believes the commission will be able to prove the link between the use of depleted uranium ammunition and cases of cancer.

But Kyle Scott, the US ambassador to Belgrade, said that the World Health Organisation and the UN determined that depleted uranium does not pose a serious health risk……..http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/serbia-to-examine-depleted-uranium-effects-from-nato-bombing-05-18-2018

May 19, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Southern Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia permanently polluted with Depleted Uranium

Transcend 30th April 2018 , Iraq was the fertile crescent of antiquity, the vast area that fed the
entire Middle East and Mediterranean, and introduced grains to the world.
It was Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, which propelled us forward
with its invention of writing, domestication of animals and settled life.

Now its groundwater and soil store the radioactivity of 630 tons of
depleted uranium weapons. The waste that has been thrown onto civilian
targets has permanent consequences. It pollutes southern Iraq, Kuwait and
Saudi Arabia with uranium oxide dust that spreads as far as 26 miles,
blowing with sand, weathering into water.

Uranium 238, with a half life 4 ½ billion years, lies on the region in the scattered tons of wreckage.
Contamination is permanent. Its radiological and chemical toxicity exposes
the population to continuous alpha radiation that is breathed into lungs,
absorbed through the skin, touched by the unwashed hands of kids who roam
the scrap metal yards for parts to sell to help their families.

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2018/04/unnecess

May 2, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, MIDDLE EAST | Leave a comment

Iraq is left with long term toxic legacy of USA’s use of depleted uranium weapons

Iraq, 15 years On: A Toxic US Legacy, March 18, 2018, by  Middle East Eye   Fifteen years ago this month, the United States spearheaded a fantastically bloody war on Iraq as part of its ongoing effort to ensure the Iraqi nation’s perpetual misery. Common Dreams, by Belén Fernández,  Fifteen years ago this month, the United States spearheaded a fantastically bloody war on Iraq ….

Increasing rates of cancer and birth defects …..

Consider, for instance, Cockburn’s 2010 article for The Independent, headlined “Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah ‘worse than Hiroshima'”. In it, he outlined the results of a study by British scientist Chris Busby and colleagues Malak Hamdan and Entesar Ariabi on the increase in reports of cancer, birth defects, infant mortality and other forms of suffering in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, the focus of a particularly vicious US assault.

To be sure, as one of the top polluters on the entire planet, the US military has never been thrilled about acknowledging what would appear to be obvious: that saturating the environment with toxic materials will have repercussions on both environmental and human health, including the health of the United States’ own warriors, as underlined by the afflictions affecting veterans of the Vietnam War and first Gulf War, among other imperial escapades.

According to Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an award-winning toxicologist based in Michigan, “around six billion bullets were expended into the Iraqi environment” between 2002 and 2005 alone – which, along with bombs, have led to “public contamination with … toxic metals”.

Depleted uranium: a long-term hazard

But the US military arsenal extends far beyond traditional guns and bombs. In 2012, Robert Fisk wrote about a 14-month-old Iraqi named Sayef who had a severely enlarged head, was blind, paralysed and unable to swallow. Noting that much blame for the rise in congenital birth defects in Fallujah had been directed at the United States’ use of white phosphorus there, Fisk was nonetheless forced to include the caveat: “No one, of course, can produce cast-iron evidence that American munitions have caused the tragedy of Fallujah’s children.”

Yet the possibility of a cause-and-effect relationship becomes more and more difficult to deny. Already in 2009, the Guardian had reported that doctors in Fallujah were “dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants” as the previous year, such as a baby born with two heads.

In 2013, Al Jazeera quoted Sharif al-Alwachi of the Babil Cancer Centre in southern Iraq, who attributed escalating cancer rates since 2003 on the US military’s use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons. Al Jazeera also threw in the following uplifting note: “The remaining traces of DU in Iraq represent a formidable long-term environmental hazard, as they will remain radioactive for more than 4.5 billion years.”

Indeed, DU constitutes a can of worms unto itself. A 2016 Washington Spectator essay titled “Irradiated Iraq,” by Washington, DC-based investigative journalist Barbara Koeppel, remarks on the convenient US classification of its own uranium weapons as “conventional” when in fact “they are radioactive and chemically toxic”.

Destructive capacity

This is the same US, of course, that goes into warmongering hissy-fits each and every time the word “radioactive” comes up in the context of Iran while also engaging in countless other varieties of hypocritical rampage.

Koeppel cites former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter‘s observation: “The irony is we invaded Iraq in 2003 to destroy its non-existent WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. To do it, we fired these new weapons, causing radioactive casualties.”

Luckily for the US, there are plenty of members of the national media and wider domestic landscape willing to succumb to the notion that DU is simply Something We Don’t Talk About; you might even say the issue itself is radioactive.

Others, however, have wholeheartedly embraced the destructive wonders of DU, as was the case with a US special operations soldier I spoke with earlier this year. This young man had just completed tours of duty in Iraq and Syria, where the US recently came under criticism for its renewed use of DU; he expressed dismay that sectors of the international community had failed to appreciate the effectiveness of the weaponry in question.

Back in 2001, the International Committee of the Red Cross offered some watered-down thoughts on DU, gently suggesting that international humanitarian law “prohibit[s] weapons, means or methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering, which have indiscriminate effects or which cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment”…..https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/03/18/iraq-15-years-toxic-us-legacy

March 19, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, environment, health, Israel | Leave a comment

The Pentagon’s lies: it DID use depleted uranium weapons in Syria

The Pentagon said it wouldn’t use depleted uranium rounds against ISIS. Months later, it did — thousands of times. WP,  February 16, 2017 

Months after the Pentagon said it wouldn’t use a controversial type of armor-piercing ammunition that has been blamed for long-term health complications, U.S. aircraft fired thousands of the rounds during two high-profile air raids in Syria in November 2015, the Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday.

The use of the ammunition, a 30mm depleted-uranium bullet called PGU-14, was first reported by a joint Air Wars-Foreign Policy investigation on Tuesday. The roughly 5,265 rounds of the munition were fired from multiple A-10 ground attack aircraft on Nov 16, 2015, and Nov. 22, 2015, in airstrikes in Syria’s eastern desert that targeted the Islamic State’s oil supply during Operation Tidal Wave II, said Maj. Josh Jacques, a U.S. Central Command spokesman.

When loaded with depleted-uranium bullets, the A-10s fired what is called a “combat-mix,” meaning the aircraft’s cannon fires five depleted-uranium rounds to one high explosive incendiary bullet.

The strikes, which involved 30mm cannon fire, rockets and guided bombs, destroyed more than 300 vehicles, mostly civilian tanker trucks, the Pentagon said at the time. The two incidents were championed by the Pentagon, and footage of trucks being destroyed was posted online. The Pentagon said that no civilians were present during the bombardment because fliers had been dropped before strafing runs warning those in their trucks to flee.

Before the November strikes, the Pentagon said it would not use depleted-uranium munitions in the campaign against the Islamic State. In response to a query from a reporter in February 2015, Capt. John Moore, a spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition in Iraq and Syria said in an email that “U.S. and Coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.” ….https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/02/16/the-pentagon-said-it-wouldnt-use-depleted-uranium-rounds-against-isis-months-later-it-did-5265-times/?utm_term=.6e94c644b90b

February 14, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, Syria, USA | Leave a comment

Plan for a criminal lawsuit against the 19 member states of NATO, over use of depleted uranium

LAWSUIT OVER DEPLETED URANIUM AGAINST 19 MEMBERS OF NATO  https://inserbia.info/today/2018/02/lawsuit-over-depleted-uranium-against-19-members-of-nato/

The first in a series of meetings that should lead to the formation of a Council to prepare a criminal lawsuit against the 19 member states of NATO, who bombed Serbia in 1999, was held on Thursday night in Nis. According to the lawyer Srdjan Aleksic each country will be sued separately and invites lawyers and doctors to join them.

“We have been preparing documentation for the writing of the lawsuit for years. Several countries had to pay damages to the soldiers who were hired in Kosovo. I believe that citizens of Serbia, especially those who have cancer, have identical rights. Because of the depleted uranium our health is endangered and the environment is polluted,” says Aleksic.

February 12, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, EUROPE, Legal | Leave a comment

Depleted uranium “helped sow deaths and illnesses” in Italian soldiers

Uranium caused cancer – probe http://www.ansa.it/english/news/politics/2018/02/07/uranium-caused-cancer-probe_560c540f-b60e-4f90-8ce4-29c0dc42cd6d.html  But expert denies saying there was causal link,  Redazione ANSA, 7 Feb 18  ANSA) -Rome   – The final report of a commission on depleted uranium said Italian soldiers had been exposed to “shocking” levels of it in Italy and on foreign missions, and that it had “helped sow deaths and illnesses”.
However, the doctor whose expert opinion informed the panel’s conclusions denied a link between uranium and cancer. Levels of uranium in the sectors of security and workplace health for soldiers had been toxic and deadly, said the report from the parliamentary commission of inquiry. The report highlighted that military chiefs had been in “denial” on the phenomenon, and also stressed the “deafening silences maintained by government authorities.” Experts heard by the panel had verified the links between exposure to depleted uranium and tumours, the report said.
Commission Chair Gian Piero Scanu of the Democratic Party said “repeated judicial sentences have consistently affirmed the existence of a causal link between exposure to depleted uranium and the pathologies cited by the soldiers: this is a milestone and now those who were exposed will have the possibility of getting justice without having to struggle as they have done so far”.

But the Italian doctor whose expert testimony was cited by the commission as evidence that depleted uranium caused cancer in soldiers denied “ever saying that”. “That is absolutely not my thinking, I never said that depleted uranium is responsible for the tumours found in the soldiers,” said Giorgio Trenta of the Italian association for medical radioprotection. Trenta’s report was cited by the panel as proof of the causal link between depleted uranium and cancer.
The relatives of soldiers who died of uranium-linked cancer have been suing the government for years and pursuing cases in the courts, amid denials from military authorities.
In 2016 a Rome appeals court upheld a guilty verdict for the defence ministry in the 1999 death from leukemia due to depleted uranium exposure of 23-year-old Corporal Salvatore Vacca who handled uranium-tipped munitions during a 150-day mission in Bosnia in 1998-99.
The court found the ministry guilty of not having protected Vacca.
It ordered the ministry to pay more than one and a half million euros in compensation to Vacca’s family.
The families of other victims are suing the ministry for deaths allegedly due to depleted uranium exposure on several Italian missions.
Domenico Leggiero of the Military Observatory group said the sentence was “historic, because it confirms that the ministry was aware of the danger the soldiers sent to those zones were subject to”.
He said “I am sure Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti will bear this ruling in mind when she appears before the parliamentary depleted uranium commission”.
Italian authorities consistently played down the uranium risks

February 9, 2018 Posted by | deaths by radiation, depleted uranium, EUROPE, legal | Leave a comment

Silence about depleted uranium contamination in Albania

URANIUM FROM NATO BOMBS KILLS ALBANIANS TOO BUT THEY ARE SILENT ABOUT IT https://inserbia.info/today/2017/10/uranium-nato-bombs-kills-albanians-silent/,Oct 19, 2017
SOURCE Vecernje Novosti   
NATO aircrafts, during 78 days of bombing with uranium ammunition, poisoned large part of the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, so even today, with the latest equipment, it is impossible to locate all contaminated areas. Every NATO bullet with depleted uranium, if not detected and extracted, will practically continue killing forever.

This said Lieutenant-Colonel Radomir Aleksandric for the daily Vecernje Novosti, the man who on Christmas 1999, with only 29 years of age, received post of Commander of 52nd ABHO (Atomic-biological-chemical defense) battalion in Kosovo. He explained that only when the uranium bullet is extracted – ABHO device goes “crazy”, and while in the ground, it is barely detected with equipment. In the meantime, uranium oxidizes, the rain carries toxic poisons deeper into the ground and through water further into the food chain.

According to the Lieutenant-Colonel, all our officers in Kosovo and Metohija (KiM) in 1999 knew of the danger of this ammunition. He adds that ABHO equipment was inadequate, i.e. good only for mass atomic-chemical warfare, and that we were confronted with subversive nuclear mini-strikes.

In April and May 1999 ABHO units of the Pristina Corpus measured the consequences of the NATO strikes in KiM in 360 positions immediately after the actions of the enemy. The results were confusing: “slightly elevated” radioactivity was recorded in the vicinity of Pristina, Slatina airport, then in Belacevac, Gracanica, Podujevo, Urosevac, Prizren, Djakovica, Decani…

“These were minimal deviations from the natural background radiation, or, as we concluded later, we had instruments for measuring “tons”, and we should have measured milligrams. Namely, in most of the sites that were examined bullets made of depleted uranium were deeply in the ground and did not at first seem to be too dangerous. Only after the aggression we realized what had happened to us”, said Aleksandric.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | depleted uranium, EUROPE | Leave a comment

UK govt should now rethink its view on nuclear weapons

Recent news means we should change our perspective on nuclear weapons Independent UK , Robert Forsyth, 8 Oct 17  Caroline Lucas spelled out on Saturday 7 October what the PM should now do about nuclear weapons. To which I would add that the PM’s first and immediate action should be to rescind her statement that she is prepared to carry out pre-emptive nuclear strikes.

Such an action, or even the threat of doing so, is in contravention of Nuremberg and Geneva Conventions, the UN Charter and a 1996 ruling by the International Court of Justice and therefore places our Trident submarine commanding officers in an impossible position as to whether they should carry out such an order, bearing in mind they are not absolved of responsibility by the military chain of command. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/recent-news-means-we-should-change-our-perspective-on-nuclear-weapons-a7988846.html

 

October 9, 2017 Posted by | depleted uranium, Legal, UK | Leave a comment

The well -kept secrets of depleted uranium and the toxic economy of war in Iraq

Invisibility and the Toxic Economy of War in Iraq, http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/27076/invisibility-and-the-toxic-economy-of-war-in-iraq by Toby C. JonesIn April 2008 a small US engineering firm—Stafford, Texas-based MKM Engineers—brought to a close almost two decades of toxic cleanup work on a former US military facility just west of Kuwait City. Seventeen years earlier, in July 1991, a defective heating unit on a military vehicle loaded with 155mm artillery shells at Camp Doha caught fire and ignited a devastating inferno. The blaze injured several dozen people and damaged scores of other vehicles, including several highly prized M1A1 tanks.[1]

Thousands of artillery shells cooked in fire, setting off an extended explosive chain reaction. Ricocheting debris and bursting ordinance sent base personnel scurrying for safety in what quickly came to be known as the Doha Dash.[2] The fire also unleashed a toxic plume. Seared metal—the detritus of broken war machines and spent artillery—always leaves a hazardous legacy. But the base was also home to thousands of 120mm anti-tank depleted uranium (DU) artillery shells, weapons forged from the waste of the American nuclear fuel cycle. DU weapons are both radioactive and toxic. Normally, depleted uranium not put to military or other industrial use, is handled and stored as hazardous waste. The American Environmental Protection Agency and the Pentagon today have strict guidelines in place for its handling with both recognizing it as a danger to human and environmental health. At Camp Doha over 600 of the nuclear waste-turned-weapons detonated in the fire, coating the sky with noxious black smoke and dust that drifted for miles.[3]
Although having been informed over many years that DU, particularly its chemical toxicity, constituted a threat to health and environments, the US military limited its effort to address the mess in Kuwait.[4] Damaged machines were quietly returned to the US either to be scrubbed or destroyed. Spent weapons and some contaminated sand were packaged into barrels, many of which were shipped to remote parts of the Kuwaiti desert and buried. Claiming that it had only a minimal legal obligation to address the fallout and commit to the recovery of the environment around the base, the US abandoned the cleanup job only partially completed by the end of 1991.
Halliburton, the giant oil services company, carried out additional work on the site after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. But it was not until 2008 that the area around Camp Doha was fully neutralized and the danger abated by engineers from Texas. Financed by the Kuwaiti military, MKM Engineers oversaw the final excavation of the site, digging up almost 7,000 tons of toxic and irradiated sand. Once unearthed the poisoned sand was loaded aboard the container ship BBC Alabama and shipped thousands of miles away to the Port of Longview, Washington, nestled on Columbia River in the southwestern part of the state. From there, the sand was transported by rail to a private hazardous waste facility outside of Boise, Idaho where it was permanently buried.[5]
The details of the fire at Camp Doha and its toxic legacy—in which the US military forsake its responsibility to ameliorate a toxic site, only to have much of the site itself ultimately transported back to the US for final treatment and disposal, are absurd.
The global movement of hazardous waste remade as weapons in the United States and put to use the Middle East, in this case to be returned as waste years later, is remarkable and disturbing.
Beyond the details of the fire at Camp Doha, though, why does this episode help us think critically and more broadly about economies and political economies of war?
Below I suggest we set aside more conventional ways of thinking about the value of weapons and arms in war economies, particularly the oft-reported details of the monetary value of weapons bought and sold between global powers. (from monetary to exchange) Weapons systems are always also parts of environmental and health economies and ecologies. To think about this in part, I point toward broader visibility and invisibility as well as how we might use the environmental and health impacts of DU weapons’ use — which remain little known and more disturbingly, often deliberately obscured from view—to expand our frame of what a war economy includes and how parts of it are able to function.
It is the furtive character of DU weapons manufacturing, its testing (primarily and secretly in the American southwest), the scale of its use, and ultimately, the nature and impact that result, that makes it simultaneously difficult to investigate, but also so useful for the American military and its clients.
I suggest that the relative invisibility of DU weapons systems is more than just an idiosyncratic footnote to wars in the Middle East more generally. While non-DU weapons have almost certainly killed more people, caused more damage, and profited investors more significantly, the power of smaller systems and their secretive character transcends their relative “market share.” In one way this has to do with broader politics of visibility and war.
Much happens, from profit to pain, out of sight. War and those it benefits carry on much more easily, and perhaps enthusiastically, as a result. Indeed, the invisibility of key aspects of war and its wages create small, but critical access ways for a broader range of private, corporate and political interest to benefit. They also bracket off or diminish suffering of various kinds, including long term environmental and health impacts.
The magnitude of the damage done in Kuwait was relatively small compared to the devastation of war elsewhere, particularly in Kuwait’s northern neighbor Iraq, where the country was ravaged by the long American war there between 1991 and 2011.[6] The small cost of the Camp Doha fire, perhaps around $40million, is minor in comparison to the trillions of dollars of spent on war and damage in Iraq.[7] And while weapons manufacturing and sales, and the routine exchange of billions of dollars in oil revenues for American weapons and military systems, are critical for understanding the importance of the political economy of war in the Middle East—and its global entanglements—depleted uranium weapons, while not insignificant, make up a small fraction of the amount of weapons industry’s profit on wars in the region.
Since the 1970s when depleted uranium waste first began to be fashioned into weapons designed to destroy Soviet tanks, the total number of DU weapons manufactured is unknown. Made in small batches and designed primarily to destroy heavy armor, depleted uranium’s total production likely numbers in the hundreds of thousands of artillery rounds, millions of smaller caliber shells, as well as armor for tanks and other uses. Whatever the actual scale of production over decades, the United States military used DU weapons extensively against military and non-military targets in Iraq between 1991 and 2011—as well as in Afghanistan and Syria.[8] The Pentagon has been unwilling to disclose the full extent of its use of DU weapons, though anecdotal evidence from various media suggests it was widely deployed from Basra to Falluja against human and non-human targets.
The broader context and story around Camp Doha—in which DU weapons were made in places like Concord, Massachusetts, tested in places like Los Alamos, New Mexico, used in Iraq and Kuwait, finally disposed of by a firm from Texas in a global network that passed from the northern Persian Gulf to Idaho—enrolled and touched upon thousands of people, generated an unknown amount of damage and profit, and yet has remained almost entirely unknown. This invisibility is not trivial. Rather, it is productive, arresting the possibility of scrutiny, operating on multiple small levels simultaneously and over time, rendered local rather than caught up in the much broader networks of which it is a part, and almost entirely uncontested because the unseen is unseen.

The making and circulation of weapons, typically easily monetized and measured, are only one way to think through the cost of war and the character of its economies. There is a second dimension to the productive power of toxic invisibility for war-makers as well. Because so much around depleted uranium is deliberately mystified and withheld – a pattern that is at odds with how militaries often conspicuously celebrate the power of their weapons systems—military and political authorities have also been able to deny claims about its most pernicious toxic effects. While all war results in long lasting environmental, infrastructural, and embodied suffering, toxic weapons produce consequences that are particularly devastating and long lasting. Given their molecular qualities and the scientific and medical difficulty in linking particular cases of exposure to illness, and especially because they mete out their violence over years and decades—slow violence—the damage they do often persist well after that last bombs were dropped.

In spite of the Pentagon’s efforts to obscure the scale of the use of depleted uranium weapons in Iraq and elsewhere as well as what amounts to obstruction of investigation into DU’s effects, Iraqi scientists and doctors, often assisted by global observers, have documented some of health and environmental damage done. The environmental and health impact has been significant and generational. In the face of extensive epidemiological and other evidence, the US military, alongside its allies that employ it in battle as well, deny the toxic dangers of DU weapons. Whatever the arguments put forward by other observers that DU’s hazardous effects are yet unproven, and there are many, claims of uncertainty are not driven by science, but by politics.[9] The evidence that DU causes health and environmental calamity is overwhelmingly understood to be true except to those who have an interest in believing otherwise.

Beyond the politically driven quest for scientific certainty around depleted uranium’s impact on Iraqi bodies and environments, much is lost. Because the impact of DU is denied by those with the power to potentially neutralize its effects, toxic DU dust is left suspended in Iraqi food systems, coated along infrastructure, lodged in the organs and bones bodies, passed on through childbirth, and left on scraps of metal destroyed in the war that themselves have become commodities exchanged in the country’s postwar economy. Iraqis in particularly affected areas come into constant contact with it. Their exposures are repeated and routine and, yet, remain unmeasured and untreated. And while experts can deny the linkage or withhold certainty about the connections between militarized toxins and affected communities, significant networks of suffering exist.

Indeed, alongside the weapons and the political economic terms of their production, use, and the veils that shroud them, the need for care in war-ravaged communities are the “other side” of these small parts of war economies. The injured and sick, particularly those who face long struggles as a result of toxic exposures, are also central to making sense of the economy of war.[10] Suffering and care, then, must also be accounted for not as the afterlife of war, but as central to our moral and economic calculations of what it involves in the first place. Like depleted uranium weapons themselves, the scale and cost of care and the struggle over health are too easily unseen and uncounted.[11]


[1] Associated Press, “56 Soldiers Hurt in Kuwait Blast,” New York Times, 12 July 1991, http://www.nytimes.com/1991/07/12/world/56-soldiers-hurt-in-kuwait-blast.html.

[3] Thomas D. Williams, “The Depleted Uranium Threat,” Truthout, 13 August 2008, http://truth-out.org/archive/component/k2/item/79582:the-depleted-uranium-threat.

[4] For one early example such a warning, see Wayne C. Hanson, “Ecological Considerations of Depleted Uranium Munitions,” Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, United States Atomic Energy Commission, June 1974.

[5] Williams, op cit. See also, Snake River Alliance, “Tons of Waste Shipped to Idaho From Kuwait,” http://snakeriveralliance.org/tons-of-waste-shipped-to-idaho-from-kuwait/; Penny Coleman, “How 6,700 Tons of Radioactive Sand from Kuwait Ended up in Idaho,” Alternet, 16 September 2008, https://www.alternet.org/story/98950/how_6%2C700_tons_of_radioactive_sand_from_kuwait_ended_up_in_idaho.

[6] Toby Craig Jones, “America, Oil and War in the Middle East,” Journal of American History 99, no. 1 (June 2012): 208-218, https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/99/1/208/854761/America-Oil-and-War-in-the-Middle-East?redirectedFrom=fulltext.

[7] Daniel Trotta, “Iraq War Costs more than $2 trillion: Study,” Reuters, 14 March 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-war-anniversary-idUSBRE92D0PG20130314. On the cost of the Camp Doha fire, see http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2007/im_em/GeneralSession/Knudson.pdf.

[8] Samuel Oakford, “The United States Used Depleted Uranium in Syria,” Foreign Policy, 14 February 2017, http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/02/14/the-united-states-used-depleted-uranium-in-syria/.

[9] Toby Craig Jones, “Toxic War and the Politics of Uncertainty in Iraq,” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 46 no. 4 (October 2014).

[10] See Omar Dewachi, Ungovernable Life: Mandatory Medicine and Statecraft in Iraq (Stanford University Press, 2017).

[11] Omar Dewachi, “The Toxicity of Everyday Survival in Iraq,” Jadaliyya, August 13, 2013. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/13537/the-toxicity-of-everyday-survival-in-iraq

September 4, 2017 Posted by | depleted uranium, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Call for Pentagon to disclose depleted uranium target

Jack Cohen-Joppa: McSally: Ask Pentagon to disclose depleted uranium target data. http://tucson.com/news/opinion/columnists/guest/jack-cohen-joppa-mcsally-ask-pentagon-to-disclose-depleted-uranium/article_9951f82c-0d54-5884-b54f-f5d467dcbfac.html 14 May 17,  Jack Cohen-Joppa

Last year, Rep. Martha McSally’s office helped a military journalist and I confirm that for the first time since 2003, A-10s had fired their armor-piercing depleted uranium (DU) ammunition while attacking an ISIS convoy in Syria in November, 2015.

In February, I wrote to ask her assistance in getting the Pentagon to share with appropriate Iraqi and international authorities all of the locations where this radioactive ammunition has been used.

 Twenty-six years ago during Operation Desert Storm, U.S. armed forces flying over Iraq fired nearly one million rounds of the special ammunition, totaling about 300 tons of refined depleted uranium. Another 125-plus tons of these radioactive bullets were fired during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The vast bulk of this ordnance came from the guns of the A-10 warplanes, while the remainder was fired from the Abrams tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle and Marine AV-8B Harrier.

As a radioactive heavy metal, use of DU in industry is licensed from federally owned stockpiles. Public health officials recognize it as a chemical and radiological hazard. Industrial emissions are subject to regulation, and production facilities have been shut down due to off-site contamination. Protocols and procedures exist to protect the health and safety of those in industry and the military who manufacture and handle the uranium ammo until its use in combat.

Since 1991, the United States has been asked to provide international aid NGOs, United Nations agencies, and the government of Iraq with full information about where this ammunition was used. According to the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Environmental Program, this basic data is needed to help identify contaminated sites for remediation and the eventual removal of this toxic remnant of war.

 Today, more than two decades later, our government has refused to fully disclose this information. The failure to disclose has a continuing political cost as well, because it counters any claim that the United States cares for the future of the Iraqi, and now also the Syrian, people.

It is known that such targeting information is available to disclose because a subset of the data was shared with the Dutch government for locations where Dutch coalition troops may have encountered DU contamination. NATO also released targeting data for DU use in the Balkans in 1999. Another limited set of targeting data from 2003 was uncovered recently in George Washington University’s National Security Archive.

I asked Representative McSally to add her voice to those demanding the Pentagon provide international authorities with comprehensive information regarding where DU was used by the A-10s and other platforms since 1991.

But now, three months later, neither McSally nor her office have replied to my letter, let alone provided an answer about her views on the matter. As a veteran A-10 commander now sitting on the House Armed Services Committee, her support for releasing this information would be significant, benefiting the health and safety of U.S. military personnel, international aid workers and the affected civilian populations for generations to come. I encourage all of her  constituents to join me in asking her to support this request.

 Jack Cohen-Joppa, a Tucson resident since 1986, is co-coordinator of the Nuclear Resister. Contact Jack at jack@igc.org.

May 15, 2017 Posted by | depleted uranium, USA | Leave a comment

USA confirms use of depleted uranium i n Syria, despite its previous promises

depleted-uraniumSamuel Oakford:  US promised it wouldn’t use Depleted Uranium in Syria. But then it did. February 14, 2017. Officials have confirmed that the US military – despite vowing not to use controversial Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria – fired thousands of rounds of such munitions during two high-profile raids on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled Syria in late 2015. The air assaults mark the first confirmed use of this armament since the 2003 Iraq invasion, when hundreds of thousands of rounds were fired, leading to outrage among local communities which alleged that toxic remnants caused both cancer and birth defects.https://airwars.org/news/depleteduranium1/

ICBUW: United States confirms that it has fired depleted uranium in Syria 21 October 2016. US admits that it fired DU on two occasions in November 2015, contrary to earlier claims; military justification for use unclear after target analysis; ICBUW and PAX call for full disclosure to facilitate harm reduction measures; Russia takes advantage of news to distract from its own conduct in the conflict.   http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/united-states-confirms-fired-du-syria

February 20, 2017 Posted by | depleted uranium, Syria, USA | Leave a comment