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Depleted uranium won’t end a war that has no winners

It is clear the great powers have no end in sight for the war: toxic munitions that will last even longer than the conflict are the last thing the territory needs, writes TOMASZ PIERSCIONEK

Morning Star, 16 May 23,

THE war in Ukraine is the most devastating conflict in Europe since World War II. As in most conflicts, and in the years leading up to the war, truth became the first causality.

The Western media simplifies the narrative to Nato good — Russia bad, while ignoring pivotal factors such as Nato’s eastward march towards Russia and the US-backed 2014 coup, which in turn set the scene for the war that unfolded in Feb 2022.

Non-mainstream media or independent bloggers who try to peer over the media iron curtain and question Nato talking points face being defamed as pro-Kremlin stooges.

Is the West scared of its citizens thinking independently or fearful that such “wrong think” might outshine pro-Nato propaganda? Do Europe’s citizens need “protection” from the risk of being exposed to unsanctioned thinking lest they draw different conclusions to the official narrative?

A year into the conflict and amidst the dreadful loss of life on all sides, it looks like war between Russia and Ukraine is really a conflict between Nato and Russia, in which the former seeks to challenge the emergence of a new Eurasian-centric capitalist bloc. Remember too that Russia is China’s ally and a defeat of the former would leave the latter in a more vulnerable position vis a vis Nato expansion.

It is clear too that (most of) the nations comprising the EU and Nato are willing to pull out all stops to defeat or greatly weaken Russia, regardless of the human costs to Ukraine, and have already handed over billions of dollars in military aid alongside vast quantities of weapons from their own arsenals. Britain provided £2.3 billion in military aid to Ukraine in 2022 whilst the US has given at least $46.6bn in military aid since the war began.

For the US, at least, this is a perfect war in which it can fight a key geopolitical opponent without getting its hands dirty and having to explain an influx of body bags to the US public like in Iraq and Afghanistan.

n the EU’s case however, reality hits a little close to home — despite its massive support for Ukraine and the 10 rounds of sanctions placed upon Russia, they have failed to bring the country to its knees in economic or military terms (as repeatedly promised), nor have they “inspired” the Russian people to overthrow their rulers. Instead, the anti-Russian sanctions seem to have caused a fair amount of self-harm to the EU whilst Russia is well on the way to finding new markets for its exports.

Hypocritically, despite singing from the pro-Ukraine hymn book, the EU continues to import billions of dollars worth of goods from Russia — $195.56 billion during 2022 and the greatest amount since 2014. Furthermore, despite the EU banning Russian crude oil imports, it purchases oil products from India (eg diesel and jet fuel) that have been refined from Russian crude oil. As Russia is now selling more crude oil to India and India in turn is selling more refined oil to Europe, this is a win-win situation for these two Brics nations.

n an unwise and unneeded escalation to the war in Ukraine, the British government announced in late April 2023 that it had sent Challenger 2 tank shells tipped with depleted uranium (DU) to Ukrainian forces. Such a move is a provocative and dangerous escalation that risks precipitating a regional or global war in which there will be no winner.

It is worth pointing out that at the end of March 2023, James Heappey, British Minister of State for the Armed Forces, responded to a parliamentary question about whether Russia had used DU munitions in Ukraine with the answer: “The Ministry of Defence is unaware of any credible open-source reports of Russia using depleted uranium in Ukraine.”

DU is a by-product of a process whereby uranium is enriched to make nuclear fuel. It remains radioactive, albeit 40 per cent less so than raw uranium. On account of its high density, DU is used to increase the power of armour-piercing munitions and has previously been used by US/Nato forces in several conflicts — the 1991 first Gulf war, Bosnia, the 2003 Iraq invasion, and against Isis forces in Syria in 2015…………………………………..

The Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks formed by the European Commission produced a report in 2010 which noted that “in combat zones, vehicles hit by DU should be made inaccessible to the general public and be properly disposed of. Used DU ammunition should also be collected and disposed of.”

This concurs with advice published by the US Air Force in 1975 which stated that DU ought to only be used against armoured vehicles. However, in Iraq, DU munitions reportedly were not only used against human combatants but also fired in or near to urban areas.

Consequently, hundreds of sites in Iraq were contaminated with DU. Similar consequences are possible in the case of Ukraine: funding a clean-up operation once the war ends is unlikely to be a top priority.

The US Environmental Protection Agency notes that with regards to DU “exposure to the outside of the body is not considered a serious hazard. However, if DU is ingested or inhaled, it is a serious health hazard.”

The risk that DU finds its way into the food chain ought not to be dismissed, alongside the long-term detrimental effects on the ecosystem.

Furthermore, introducing DU (radioactive) munitions into a high-stakes war such as the one in Ukraine breaks a certain psychological barrier whereby the risk of further escalation increases as we take another step down an ever-shortening and dangerous path that ends with the use of conventional uranium weapons — nukes.

Continuing to arm Ukraine so that it can fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian on behalf of Nato (and perhaps after that using Poles to do the job) sets the scene for the conflict to become a regional war or worse.

Realistically, the war is not going the way Nato hoped and promised. The Russian economy has not collapsed, Russia has not run out of missiles, the Russian people have not overthrown their government, and the majority of the world has not turned its back on Russia, which is in the process of securing new trading partners and even sympathisers to offset the effects of any Western sanctions.

The conflict has also shown that the world (including major players such as China, India, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia) is not united behind the West. Indeed, 19 more countries are now seeking to join the Brics group of emerging economies. It would be easy, even convenient, for the US to pull back on funding Ukraine should the upcoming Ukrainian offensive not deliver the promised gains.

After all, 2024 is an election year, a greater number of US politicians are becoming uneasy at Biden’s blank cheque to Ukraine, and frankly sending billions to fund a war abroad rather than investing the money at home is not exactly a vote winner.

It would be tempting for the US to say “mission accomplished” and make the war in Ukraine Europe’s problem, leaving the EU to sort out the mess and come to a disadvantageous settlement with Russia.

It is critical that the anti-war movement, the trade union movement, and more broadly the left work with peace movements within Ukraine, Russia and beyond to call for a swift and just settlement to the war, in which the grievances of all sides are acknowledged.

Concurrently we must condemn rhetoric or action by any world leader that seeks to prolong the war in Ukraine whilst the people of Russia, Ukraine and Europe bear the human and economic cost of the conflict.

We need to be wary too, of forces both within Nato and beyond that are seeking to prolong the conflict in Ukraine for ideological reasons, due to the lucrative nature of war (not least for the arms industry), or for personal ambition.


May 18, 2023 Posted by | depleted uranium, Ukraine | 1 Comment


400 Italian soldiers who were exposed to DU in the Balkans had since died from cancer, and another 8,000 were suffering from the disease. They interviewed the lawyer at the centre of the litigation, Angelo Tartaglia, who urged Britain to “think about the risks and the consequences” of supplying Ukraine with DU shells.

Tartaglia said: “There’s the possibility that both Ukrainian and Russian military officials might fall ill but most importantly pollution caused by military activities could cause irreversible damage to the environment which means that civilians too would be at risk”.

An Italian Parliamentary commission into the issue found “shocking” levels of exposure among Italian veterans and said it had “helped sow deaths and illnesses”.

Courts across Europe have ruled that depleted uranium can cause cancer among troops. Yet the British army insists it is safe to supply Ukraine with the toxic tank shells.


More than 300 Italian veterans who developed cancer after being exposed to depleted uranium ammunition have won court cases against Italy’s military. Some of the cases were brought by their bereaved relatives.

The judgments have mounted in recent years, with Italian courts repeatedly finding a link between cancer and service in the Balkans where such weapons were fired.

Although Italy does not have depleted uranium weapons in its own arsenal, Italian police and soldiers were deployed to Bosnia and Kosovo where NATO allies fired the controversial ammunition in the 1990s.

Depleted uranium (DU) is a chemically toxic and radioactive heavy metal produced as waste from nuclear power plants. Britain uses it to make armour-piercing tank shells, which are now being supplied to Ukraine

Scientific debate continues about DU’s long-term risks to human health and the environment in post-conflict zones. British ministers insist it is low risk, and that there is only “some potential heavy metal contamination localised around the impact zone.”

But in the Balkans and Iraq, many believe it has caused cancer. That view was shared in 2009 by a coroner in England, who held an inquest into the death of Stuart Dyson, a British army veteran.

Dyson cleaned tanks during the Gulf war in 1991 and later developed a rare cancer, passing away in 2008. An inquest jury found it was “more likely than not” that depleted uranium had caused his death.

The Ministry of Defence rejected the ruling and refused to pay his widow a pension for those who die from service. By contrast, the widow of Captain Henri Friconneau, a French gendarme who served in Kosovo, was granted a service pension when he later died from cancer.

An appeal court in Rennes ruled in 2019 that Friconneau’s death was due to his exposure to DU dust. France’s interior ministry accepted the judgment and added his name to a monument for those who died on operations in Kosovo.

When in Rome

But it is in Italy where the highest number of veterans have won compensation. One family received a 1.3m euros pay out in 2015 after the court of appeal in Rome found “with unequivocal certainty” a link between exposure to depleted uranium dust and cancer.

The Il Fatto newspaper said the judgement went further than previous rulings, as it recognised a causal link beyond just the balance of probabilities.

A more recent ruling in 2018 seen by Declassified found the court could not “rule out the possibility that a soldier who served” in the Balkans “would have been exposed to genotoxic pollutants, thus increasing the likelihood of illness.”

An Italian Parliamentary commission into the issue found “shocking” levels of exposure among Italian veterans and said it had “helped sow deaths and illnesses”.

Last month, Euronews reported that 400 Italian soldiers who were exposed to DU in the Balkans had since died from cancer, and another 8,000 were suffering from the disease. They interviewed the lawyer at the centre of the litigation, Angelo Tartaglia, who urged Britain to “think about the risks and the consequences” of supplying Ukraine with DU shells.

Tartaglia said: “There’s the possibility that both Ukrainian and Russian military officials might fall ill but most importantly pollution caused by military activities could cause irreversible damage to the environment which means that civilians too would be at risk”………………………………………………………………. more

May 4, 2023 Posted by | depleted uranium, Italy, UK | Leave a comment

Will the West turn Ukraine into a nuclear battlefield?

Stuart Dyson  died in 2008 at the age of 39…….. his cancer was later recognized in a court of law as having been caused by exposure to depleted uranium. In a landmark 2009 ruling, jurors at the Smethwick Council House in the UK found that Dyson’s cancer had resulted from DU accumulating in his body, and in particular his internal organs.

While the UK’s decision to send depleted uranium shells is unlikely to turn the tide, it will have a lasting, potentially devastating, impact.

APRIL 26, 2023 byJoshua Frank

It’s sure to be a blood-soaked spring in Ukraine. Russia’s winter offensive fell far short of Vladimir Putin’s objectives, leaving little doubt that the West’s conveyor belt of weaponry has aided Ukraine’s defenses. Cease-fire negotiations have never truly begun, while NATO has only strengthened its forces thanks to Finland’s new membership (with Sweden soon likely to follow). Still, tens of thousands of people have perished; whole villages, even cities, have been reduced to rubble; millions of Ukrainians have poured into Poland and elsewhere; while Russia’s brutish invasion rages on with no end in sight.

The hope, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, is that the Western allies will continue to furnish money, tanks, missiles, and everything else his battered country needs to fend off Putin’s forces. The war will be won, according to Zelensky, not through backroom compromises but on the battlefield with guns and ammo.

“I appeal to you and the world with these most simple and yet important words,” he said to a joint session of Great Britain’s parliament in February. “Combat aircraft for Ukraine, wings for freedom.”

The United Kingdom, which has committed well over $2 billion in assistance to Ukraine, has so far refused to ship fighter jets there but has promised to supply more weaponry, including tank shells made with depleted uranium (DU), also known as “radioactive bullets.” A by-product of uranium enrichment, DU is a very dense and radioactive metal that, when housed in small torpedo-like munitions, can pierce thickly armored tanks and other vehicles.

Reacting to the British announcement, Putin ominously said he would “respond accordingly” if the Ukrainians begin blasting off rounds of DU.

Stuart Dyson survived his deployment in the first Gulf War of 1991, where he served as a lance corporal with Britain’s Royal Pioneer Corps. His task in Kuwait was simple enough: he was to help clean up “dirty” tanks after they had seen battle. Many of the machines he spent hours scrubbing down had carried and fired depleted uranium shells used to penetrate and disable Iraq’s T-72 tanks, better known as the Lions of Babylon.

Dyson spent five months in that war zone, ensuring American and British tanks were cleaned, armed, and ready for battle. When the war ended, he returned home, hoping to put his time in the Gulf War behind him. He found a decent job, married, and had children. Yet his health deteriorated rapidly and he came to believe that his military service was to blame. Like so many others who had served in that conflict, Dyson suffered from a mysterious and debilitating illness that came to be known as Gulf War Syndrome.

After Dyson suffered years of peculiar ailments, ranging from headaches to dizziness and muscle tremors, doctors discovered that he had a severe case of colon cancer, which rapidly spread to his spleen and liver. The prognosis was bleak and, after a short battle, his body finally gave up. Stuart Dyson died in 2008 at the age of 39.

His saga is unique, not because he was the only veteran of the first Gulf War to die of such a cancer at a young age, but because his cancer was later recognized in a court of law as having been caused by exposure to depleted uranium. In a landmark 2009 ruling, jurors at the Smethwick Council House in the UK found that Dyson’s cancer had resulted from DU accumulating in his body, and in particular his internal organs……………………………………………………………………………………

Both Russia and the U.S. have reasons for using DU, since each has piles of the stuff sitting around with nowhere to put it. Decades of manufacturing nuclear weapons have created a mountain of radioactive waste. In the U.S., more than 500,000 tons of depleted-uranium waste has built up since the Manhattan Project first created atomic weaponry, much of it in Hanford, Washington, the country’s main plutonium production site. As I investigated in my book Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America, Hanford is now a cesspool of radioactive and chemical waste, representing the most expensive environmental clean-up project in history with an estimated price tag of $677 billion………………………………………………………….

Of course, we’ve known about the dangers of uranium for decades, which makes it all the more mind-boggling to see a renewed push for increased mining of that radioactive ore to generate nuclear power. The only way to ensure that uranium doesn’t poison or kill anyone is to leave it right where it’s always been: in the ground. Sadly, even if you were to do so now, there would still be tons of depleted uranium with nowhere to go. A 2016 estimate put the world’s mountain of DU waste at more than one million tons (each equal to 2,000 pounds).

So why isn’t depleted uranium banned? That’s a question antinuclear activists have been asking for years. It’s often met with government claims that DU isn’t anywhere near as bad as its peacenik critics allege. In fact, the U.S. government has had a tough time even acknowledging that Gulf War Syndrome exists. A Government Accountability Office report released in 2017 found that the Veterans Affairs Department had denied more than 80% of all Gulf War illness claims by veterans. Downplaying DU’s role, in other words, comes with the terrain.

“The use of DU in weapons should be prohibited,” maintains Ray Acheson, an organizer for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and author of Banning the Bomb, Smashing the Patriarchy. “While some governments argue there is no definitive proof its use in weapons causes harm, it is clear from numerous investigations that its use in munitions in Iraq and other places has caused impacts on the health of civilians as well as military personnel exposed to it, and that it has caused long-term environmental damage, including groundwater contamination. Its use in weapons is arguably in violation of international law, human rights, and environmental protection and should be banned in order to ensure it is not used again.”

If the grisly legacy of the American use of depleted uranium tells us anything, it’s that those DU shells the British are supplying to Ukraine (and the ones the Russians may also be using there) will have a radioactive impact that will linger in that country for years to come, with debilitating, potentially fatal, consequences. It will, in a sense, be part of a global atomic war that shows no sign of ending.

April 28, 2023 Posted by | depleted uranium, Ukraine | Leave a comment

UK Gave Ukraine Thousands of Shells, Including Depleted Uranium Rounds

MOSCOW (Sputnik) 25 Apr 23, – The United Kingdom has provided Ukraine with thousands of shells for the donated Challenger 2 main battle tanks, UK minister for armed forces James Heappey said on Tuesday.

“We have sent thousands of rounds of Challenger 2 ammunition to Ukraine, including depleted uranium armour-piercing rounds,” he said in a written answer to a parliamentary query.

Heappey did not give an estimate of the number of depleted uranium rounds fired by the Ukrainian armed forces, citing operational security reasons.

The minister also admitted that the UK was not monitoring the locations from where these rounds were fired and added that his country was not obligated to help Ukraine clear up the depleted uranium rounds post-conflict.

…………………… Such shells were actively used by NATO forces in Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 invasion, as well as in Yugoslavia during the 1999 bombing campaign. It resulted in massive contamination and raging cancer rates across the affected nations – as well as in some NATO troops.

April 28, 2023 Posted by | depleted uranium, UK | 1 Comment

UK ignites new depleted uranium weapons debate — Beyond Nuclear International

Headline photo shows a painting by Mark Southerland, who served in the Marine Corps from 1988-1994, an unshakable image from ‘Desert Storm’, painted as therapy in recovery from PTSD. Wikimedia Commons.

Wars in Iraq/ Kuwait and the Balkans have left toxic legacy

UK ignites new depleted uranium weapons debate — Beyond Nuclear International

The situation in Ukraine creates a double jeopardy. First, the use of DU weapons by the Ukrainian military might provoke the Russians to use nuclear weapons. And second, simply transporting these weapons from Britain and using them on Ukrainian soil will constitute additional radioactive and heavy metal pollution with long-term effects on human health and the European environment.

Taking all of this into consideration, the known risks of DU weapons are already too great to justify their continued use.

UK will send DU weapons to Ukraine prompting “nuclear” rhetoric from Russia

By Linda Pentz Gunter and Maria Arvaniti Sotiropoulou 

On March 21, 2023 Britain confirmed that it was sending depleted uranium (DU) weapons to Ukraine , prompting a response from Russian president, Vladimir Putin, that, “If all this happens, Russia will have to respond accordingly, given that the west collectively is already beginning to use weapons with a nuclear component.”

Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, warned that such steps moved us closer to a “nuclear collision.”

Days later, Putin announced he had made an arrangement with neighboring Belarus to station tactical nuclear weapons there.

According to ICAN, Putin “will start training Belarusian personnel to use them” and that “up to 10 Belarusian aircraft are already prepared to use these weapons and Russia would complete the construction of a storage facility for nuclear warheads in Belarus by July.”

The Belarus nuclear weapons deal was more likely a response to the continued expansion of NATO — with Finland now the newest member — rather than retaliation for Britain arming Ukraine with depleted uranium weapons.

However, there are many wrongs in this situation to unpack. 

Possessing or threatening the use of nuclear weapons is a violation of the human rights that are embedded in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The use of depleted uranium weapons is also abhorrent, with compelling, if still somewhat anecdotal, evidence from the wars in the Balkans and Iraq/Kuwait to suggest these toxic exposures cause serious long-term health effects. 

Despite Putin’s thinly veiled threat mount a nuclear response to DU weapons, the International Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) points out that this would be disproportionate because “DU projectiles are not nuclear weapons at all, but conventional weapons of high chemical-radiological toxicity and harmfulness.” 

Adds Dr. Frank Boulton of the British IPPNW affiliate, MEDACT: “Much if not most of the toxicity of DU is biological rather than radiological (DU is a heavy metal with biological effects similar to that of lead)”.

The US and NATO used around 980,000 rounds of uranium shells in Iraq and Kuwait, 10,800 in Bosnia31,000 in Kosovo , another 7,000 in S. Serbia and Montenegro, and an unknown number in Afghanistan, while Russia also used such weapons in Chechnya.

The ICBUW quickly spoke out against the export of DU weapons to Ukraine: “The use of DU munitions has been shown to cause widespread and lasting damage to the health of people living in the contaminated area,” the network said in a statement. “Military personnel and those involved in subsequent demining are also exposed to health hazards from DU (remnants). In addition, long-term environmental damage, including groundwater contamination, occurs as a result of DU use.”

Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the long-time British peace and disarmament group Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, also condemned her country’s decision:

“CND has repeatedly called for the UK government to place an immediate moratorium on the use of depleted uranium weapons and to fund long-term studies into their health and environmental impacts,” she said. “Sending them into yet another war zone will not help the people of Ukraine.”

The UK may not be the first country to introduce DU weapons into the current Russia-Ukraine war. In a statement, the ICBUW said that, “According to media reports, Russian forces in Ukraine have also recently received the more modern 3BM60 ‘Svinets-2’ ammunition.” The Guardian reported that “Moscow also has its own Svinets-2 depleted uranium tank shells in its stockpile,” without saying whether or not they had been deployed in Ukraine.

International Humanitarian Law prohibits weapons that cause unnecessary suffering, have indiscriminate effects or cause long-term damage to the natural environment, factors that should apply to outlawing DU weapons.

Several resolutions have been passed in both the UN General Assembly and in the European Parliament calling for a moratorium on the use of DU weapons. The latest such UN resolution was adopted by the General Assembly in 2022. Yet, no treaty regulating — let alone banning — DU weapons exists.

DU is used in weaponry because, due to its high molecular weight, it easily penetrates the steel of armored tanks. Missile-like uranium weapons will pierce any target they hit at 3,600km/h. 

Known as uranium-238, DU is a by-product of the uranium enrichment process needed to produce the fuel for nuclear reactors. It is called ‘depleted’ because it has a lower content of the fissile isotope, uranium-235, than natural uranium. Depleted uranium has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. 

DU is highly toxic, especially when inhaled and can be present in the human body for many years as well as excreted in urine. According to the IPPNW pamphlet — Uranium Weapons. Radioactive Penetrators — “When uranium is inhaled or ingested with foods and beverages, its full pathogenic and lethal effects unfold. On entering the body it is taken up by the blood, which transports it to the organs. It can reach an unborn child via the placenta.” 

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April 19, 2023 Posted by | depleted uranium, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

From the Manhattan Project to the Bronx Project: the toxic legacy of the nuclear age

by Alice Slater  Spring 2023 Edition

Recent alarming reports state that the UK is prepared to supply Ukraine with depleted uranium ammunition in the ongoing slaughter in Ukraine. These lethally toxic carcinogens are known to cause illness and death, not only for the victims of war but for the perpetrators as well. Victims who have suffered genetic damage pass it on to their children who are often born with terrible malformations and illnesses. 

 In Metal of Dishonor–Depleted Uranium: How the Pentagon Radiates Soldiers and Civilians with DU Weapons, published in 1997 by Ramsay Clark and the International Action Center, essays reveal the horrors caused by depleted uranium in the first Gulf War. Although the figures on the nuclear budgets have risen astronomically, with the United States now budgeting over $1 trillion for new bombs, bomb factories and delivery systems, sadly, nothing else has changed much since that time, although civil society did succeed in establishing the International Renewable Energy Agency to promote benign life affirming energy from the sun, wind, and tides. Below is a chapter written for that book in 1996, when the author was president of GRACE, the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment.

he world is awash in radioactive waste. We simply haven’t a clue where to put it. The best we have come up with in the United States is a harebrained scheme to ship the lethal carcinogenic garbage from nuclear weapons and civilian nuclear power plants, by rail and by truck, from the four corners of the continent, and bury it in a hole in the ground in Nevada at Yucca Mountain. Citizens groups, like the proverbial boy with his finger in the dike, have been holding off the onslaught of this devastating disposal solution, preventing the legislation from passing in the Congress. Deadly plutonium remains toxic for 250,000 years and there is no way of guaranteeing that the Yucca site could prevent radioactive seepage into the ground water over this unimaginable period of time. Remember that all of recorded history is only 5000 years old!

The National Academy of Sciences reported last August that most of the contaminated nuclear weapons sites across our land can not be adequately cleaned up because of “insufficient money, technical skill or political will to do the job.” reflecting the skewed priorities of our national leadership. Congress approved Clinton’s last request for $5.1 billion to the Department of Energy’s weapons labs which will fund the design of new nuclear weapons ……………………………………….

We’ve Wasted Precious Resources………….

We’ve Polluted Our Own Environment
We’ve created more than 4,500 contaminated sites, covering tens of thousands of acres that may take 75 years and cost as high as one trillion dollars to ‘clean up.’ ‘Clean up’ of toxic plutonium, which remains lethal for over 250,000 years, is the wrong word. At best, we can only attempt to manage and contain the poisons from seeping into the air and groundwater and visiting further destruction on our people.

We’ve Experimented on Our Own People
Nuclear weapons drove us to the unspeakable act of secretly testing radiation on our own population. 23,000 American civilians were subjected to radiation research in about 1,400 projects over 30 years. The government tested on children with mental disabilities, mental patients, poor women, and US soldiers. More than 200,000 troops were ordered to observe nuclear test detonations and were exposed to radiation.

We’ve Abused Indigenous Peoples
Every nuclear test site in the world is on indigenous land. ……………………

Worst of All—We’re Still Doing It…………………………….

Enchanted by the “hardness” of depleted uranium which can penetrate tank armor, some evil genius in the pay of the Pentagon thought to make bullets from it in a bizarre recycling program which enabled the government to make a dent in the 500,000 tons of depleted uranium waste amassed since the Manhattan Project. Don’t be misled by the term “depleted uranium.” Like “spent fuel” from civilian reactors, depleted uranium is highly toxic and carcinogenic and has a half-life of some 4.4 billion years. 

 “Half life” is another euphemism that distances us through our language from grasping the deadly seriousness of what we are doing to our planet. For example, while the half-life of plutonium is 26,000 years, this lethal poison has a fully toxic life of about 250,000 years until all the radioactivity decays. So you can imagine — or can you — the life span of toxic depleted uranium with its “half life” of over 4 billion years!

While our brilliant military was dreaming up its scheme of penetrating Saddam’s tanks with “hard” depleted uranium (DU), they neglected to calculate the impact this material would have on our own soldiers. “Friendly fire” killed 35 U.S. soldiers and wounded 72 others during the Gulf War while disabling more US tanks than the Iraqis did. Spewing 300 tons of DU ammunition over Iraq, the U.S. left a growing legacy of respiratory problems, liver and kidney dysfunction, and birth defects among the newborn children of U.S. vets (A Veterans Administration study of 251 Gulf War veterans families in Mississippi found that 67 percent of the children born to the vets since the war have severe illnesses, with effects ranging from missing eyes and ears to fused fingers.) And similar medical reports are coming from Iraq with an increase of leukemia and congenital birth defects from 8% before the war to 28% today. Undeterred, similar environmental havoc and dangers to health were created by the use of depleted uranium ammunition in the bombing of Bosnia.

This callous disregard for human well being is sadly typical of government policy during the nuclear age………………………………………………………..

Trying to get our government to admit that radioactive bomb factories and power plants are harmful to living things is like the long battle waged against the tobacco companies who continued to claim that there is no connection between smoking, cancer, and other life threatening diseases. There are current assaults on the permissible level of radiation exposure. Don’t protect the people. Just change the standards…………………………………………………………………..

We need to tell the boys to put away the toys of war and clean up the mess they made. ………………………

Our ability to govern ourselves has been eroding as a result of the unprecedented secrecy and cover-up engendered by the nuclear age…………………………….

A sane informed citizenry would call for an immediate cessation of the production of any new nuclear material, leaving all existing nuclear waste as close to the point where it is generated, as safely as possible, under international guard…………………………….more

April 12, 2023 Posted by | depleted uranium, USA | 1 Comment


27 Mar 2023 • by Kate Hudson, Stop the War Coalition


In a shocking development, the government has announced it will be sending depleted uranium (DU) rounds to Ukraine along with Challenger 2 tanks. As we know from several wars in the past few decades, the health consequences for Ukrainian civilians will be high. DU is a chemically toxic and radioactive heavy metal and it’s a by-product of the enrichment process used to make reactor-grade uranium. Its chemical and physical properties have made it popular for a range of military and commercial uses: its density and its ability to self-sharpen attracted the attention of the US Department of Defense (DoD) in the late 1950s. The military was looking to increase the armour piercing capacity of munitions and to strengthen the armour of tanks. DU seemed to fit the bill. But its use has had a devastating impact on the populations caught up in numerous conflicts, with the terrible type of health consequences that we associate with radiation impacts.

………………………. The risk is not that DU munitions will cause a nuclear explosion. It’s that the impact of their use causes toxic or radioactive dust to be released and if this is subsequently inhaled or ingested in other ways, it has very significant negative health consequences. After the first Gulf War the DoD Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses (OSAGWI) identified a number of DU exposure scenarios including through wounds caused by DU fragments, inhalation of airborne DU particles, ingestion of DU residues, or wound contamination by DU residues.

DU munitions were used on a large scale by the US and UK in the Gulf War in 1991 and in Iraq in 2003. Their use has caused a sharp increase in the incidence rates of some cancers, such as breast cancer and lymphoma, in the areas where it has been used. It has also been implicated in a rise in birth defects from areas adjacent to the main Gulf War battlefields. Other health problems associated with DU include kidney failure, nervous system disorders, lung disease and reproductive problems. 

 A report funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2013 showed that more than 400 tonnes of DU ammunition were estimated to have been used in 1991 and 2003, the vast majority by US forces. The report showed that the Iraqi government’s Radiation Protection Centre had identified between 300 and 365 contaminated sites by 2006, mostly in the Basra region in southern Iraq. As well as warning of contamination being spread by poorly regulated scrap metal dealers, including children, it also shared evidence that DU munitions were fired at light vehicles, buildings and other civilian infrastructure including the Iraqi Ministry of Planning in Baghdad –  in spite of official assurances of military-only armoured targets.

Its use in the former Yugoslavia by NATO forces in 1995 and 1999 led to the same type of consequences. It was also used by the US in Syria in 2015. The impacts have not been confined to local populations – they have also affected the troops involved in or close to their use, and also military clean-up teams sent to deal with the impact of the DU. The severe health consequences have led to the terms ‘Gulf War syndrome’ and ‘Balkan syndrome’ entering our vocabulary. The Ministry of Defence disputes the risks of DU, yet it recommends ‘ongoing surveillance’ for veterans with embedded DU fragments.

No treaty explicitly banning the use of DU is yet in force, but it is clear that its use runs counter to the basic rules and principles of International Humanitarian Law. In 2006, the European Parliament strengthened its previous calls for a moratorium by calling for an introduction of a total ban, classifying the use of DU, along with white phosphorus, as inhumane. Since 2007, repeated UN General Assembly resolutions have highlighted serious concerns over the use of DU weapons. The UK, together with the US, France and Israel are the only states that have consistently voted against the resolutions.

The British government must put an immediate end to its use of DU – inflicting it on the people of Ukraine is the last thing they need.

April 2, 2023 Posted by | depleted uranium, MIDDLE EAST | 2 Comments

Cancer as Weapon: Sowing Battlefields With Depleted Uranium

If the US has kept silent, the Brits haven’t. A 1991 study by the UK Atomic Energy Authority predicted that if less than 10 percent of the particles released by depleted uranium weapons used in Iraq and Kuwait were inhaled it could result in as many as “300,000 probable deaths.”

 excuses in the absence of any action to address the situation are growing very thin indeed. Doug Rokke, the health physicist for the US Army who oversaw the partial clean up of depleted uranium bomb fragments in Kuwait, is now sick. His body registers 5,000 times the level of radiation considered “safe”. 

CounterPunch, BY JEFFREY ST. CLAIR 29 Mar 23

With the UK’s unconscionable decision to send Depleted Uranium ammunition to Ukraine, it’s perhaps useful to revisit the environmental and health consequences of the US’s widespread use of such weapons in Iraq and Kuwait during the first Gulf War. This short essay is adapted from my book, Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature.

At the close of the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was denounced as a ferocious villain for ordering his retreating troops to destroy Kuwaiti oil fields, clotting the air with poisonous clouds of black smoke and saturating the ground with swamps of crude. It was justly called an environmental war crime.

But months of bombing of Iraq by US and British planes and cruise missiles has left behind an even more deadly and insidious legacy: tons of shell casings, bullets and bomb fragments laced with depleted uranium. In all, the US hit Iraqi targets with more than 970 radioactive bombs and missiles.

It took less than a decade for the health consequences from this radioactive bombing campaign to begin to coming into focus. And they are dire, indeed. Iraqi physicians call it “the white death”-leukemia. Since 1990, the incident rate of leukemia in Iraq has grown by more than 600 percent. The situation is compounded by Iraq’s forced isolations and the sadistic sanctions regime, recently described by UN secretary general Kofi Annan as “a humanitarian crisis”, that makes detection and treatment of the cancers all the more difficult.

“We have proof of traces of DU in samples taken for analysis and that is really bad for those who assert that cancer cases have grown for other reasons,” said Dr. Umid Mubarak, Iraq’s health minister……………

“The desert dust carries death,” said Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, an oncologist and member England’s Royal Society of Physicians. “Our studies indicate that more than forty percent of the population around Basra will get cancer. We are living through another Hiroshima.”

Most of the leukemia and cancer victims aren’t soldiers. They are civilians. And many of them are children. The US-dominated Iraqi Sanctions Committee in New York has denied Iraq’s repeated requests for cancer treatment equipment and drugs, even painkillers such as morphine. As a result, the overflowing hospitals in towns such as Basra are left to treat the cancer-stricken with aspirin………………………………………………..

Depleted uranium is a rather benign sounding name for uranium-238, the trace elements left behind when the fissionable material is extracted from uranium-235 for use in nuclear reactors and weapons. For decades, this waste was a radioactive nuisance, piling up at plutonium processing plants across the country. By the late 1980s there was nearly a billion tons of the material.

Then weapons designers at the Pentagon came up with a use for the tailings: they could be molded into bullets and bombs. The material was free and there was plenty at hand. Also uranium is a heavy metal, denser than lead. This makes it perfect for use in armor-penetrating weapons, designed to destroy tanks, armored-personnel carriers and bunkers.

When the tank-busting bombs explode, the depleted uranium oxidizes into microscopic fragments that float through the air like carcinogenic dust, carried on the desert winds for decades. The lethal dust is inhaled, sticks to the fibers of the lungs, and eventually begins to wreck havoc on the body: tumors, hemorrhages, ravaged immune systems, leukemias.

In 1943, the doomsday men associated with the Manhattan Project speculated that uranium and other radioactive materials could be spread across wide swaths of land to contain opposing armies. Gen. Leslie Grove, head of the project, asserted that uranium weapons could be expected to cause “permanent lung damage.” In the late, 1950s Al Gore’s father, the senator from Tennessee, proposed dousing the demilitarized zone in Korea with uranium as a cheap failsafe against an attack from the North Koreans.

After the Gulf War, Pentagon war planners were so delighted with the performance of their radioactive weapons that ordered a new arsenal and under Bill Clinton’s orders fired them at Serb positions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia. More than a 100 of the DU bombs have been used in the Balkans over the last six years.

Already medical teams in the region have detected cancer clusters near the bomb sites. The leukemia rate in Sarajevo, pummeled by American bombs in 1996, has tripled in the last five years. But it’s not just the Serbs who are ill and dying. NATO and UN peacekeepers in the region are also coming down with cancer. As of January 23, eight Italian soldiers who served in the region have died of leukemia.

The Pentagon has shuffled through a variety of rationales and excuses. ……………………………

If the US has kept silent, the Brits haven’t. A 1991 study by the UK Atomic Energy Authority predicted that if less than 10 percent of the particles released by depleted uranium weapons used in Iraq and Kuwait were inhaled it could result in as many as “300,000 probable deaths.”

The British estimate assumed that the only radioactive ingredient in the bombs dropped on Iraq was depleted uranium. It wasn’t. A new study of the materials inside these weapons describes them as a “nuclear cocktail,” containing a mix of radioactive elements, including plutonium and the highly radioactive isotope uranium-236. These elements are 100,000 times more dangerous than depleted uranium.

Typically, the Pentagon has tried to dump the blame on the Department of Energy’s sloppy handling of its weapons production plants.

 He knows where to place the blame. “There can be no reasonable doubt about this,” Rokke told Australian journalist John Pilger. “As a result of heavy metal and radiological poison of DU, people in southern Iraq are experiencing respiratory problems, kidney problems, cancers. Members of my own team have died or are dying from cancer.”

Depleted uranium has a half-life of more than 4 billion years, approximately the age of the Earth. Thousand of acres of land in the Balkans, Kuwait and southern Iraq have been contaminated forever. If George Bush Sr., Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Bill Clinton are still casting about for a legacy, there’s a grim one that will stay around for an eternity.

March 31, 2023 Posted by | depleted uranium, USA | 1 Comment

UK could fuel radioactive disaster in Ukraine – Russia

24 Mar 23,

Depleted uranium shells promised to Kiev by the UK would “cause irreparable harm” to soldiers and civilians alike, Moscow claimed.

The potential use of British-supplied depleted uranium shells by Ukraine would have a devastating impact on the country’s economy and population, lasting for centuries to come, the Russian Defense Ministry warned on Friday.

Speaking at a briefing, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, who is in charge of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Forces, issued a scathing criticism of the UK’s plans to support Kiev with armor-

rounds containing depleted uranium.

He noted that such munitions have only ever been deployed in combat by NATO countries, most notably during the Iraq War, when the US used at least 300 tons of depleted uranium-piercing rounds containing uranium.

“As a result, the radiation situation in the [Iraqi] city of Fallujah was much worse than in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the nuclear bombings by the United States,” Kirillov stated, recalling that Fallujah had been dubbed “the second Chernobyl,” while the local population suffered from a skyrocketing number of cancer cases.

The West is well aware of the consequences of using such weapons, the general stressed. Even though it “will cause irreparable harm” to the health of Ukrainian troops and civilians, “NATO countries, in particular the UK, express a readiness to supply this type of weapon to the Kiev regime,” Kirillov stated.

He warned that the use of the munitions will contaminate farmland. “In addition to infecting its own population, this will cause tremendous economic damage to the agro-industrial complex of Ukraine… reducing any export of agricultural produce from Ukrainian territory for many decades, if not centuries to come,” the general said.

The UK’s plans to send depleted uranium shells to Ukraine for use with Challenger 2 battle tanks were first unveiled on Monday, prompting an outcry from the Russian Foreign Ministry, which called the move a sign of “absolute recklessness, irresponsibility and impunity” on the part of London and Washington.

While the US has said it does not plan to support Ukraine with such ammunition, it shrugged off Russian concerns over the matter, describing depleted uranium shells as “a commonplace type of munition” which has “been in use for decades.”

March 26, 2023 Posted by | depleted uranium, Ukraine | 1 Comment

NATO sending depleted uranium shells to Ukrainian military in major escalation 24 Mar 23

Scottish Baroness Annabel Goldie, a conservative deputy minister of defense in the government of the United Kingdom, has confirmed that the U.K. will be sending depleted uranium shells to the Ukrainian military for use against Russian forces.

In response to a parliamentary crossbench question from Lord Hylton on March 20, Goldie stated:

“Alongside our granting of a squadron of Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, we will be providing ammunition including armor-piercing rounds which contain depleted uranium. Such rounds are highly effective in defeating modern tanks and armored vehicles.”

Depleted uranium is highly toxic to humans, leading to cancers, birth defects and other horrific outcomes. According to the journal Scientific American:

“Used as ammunition, it penetrates the thick steel encasing enemy tanks; used as armor, it protects troops against attack. And when it was used in the Gulf War and later during the Allied bombing of Yugoslavia and Kosovo, depleted uranium (DU) was hailed as the new silver bullet that would solve most of the military’s problems. After the end of Operation Allied Force, however, several Italian soldiers were diagnosed with leukemia. Politicians and the media soon forged a link between the disease and depleted uranium use. They further drew a parallel with Gulf War Syndrome, and in no time, depleted uranium became the Agent Orange of the Balkan conflict.”

This decision to send depleted uranium weapons to Ukraine did not go unnoticed by the Russians……………………

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova chimed in with the following statement:

“We consider the plans officially confirmed by the UK Department of Defense for the transfer of depleted uranium shells to Ukraine as a step fraught with a further escalation of the conflict. The British supply of weapons to Kiev, especially such sensitive species, leads to further destabilization of the situation and pushes the prospect of finding mutually acceptable interruptions. They are contrary to international law. The radioactivity, high toxicity and carcinogenicity of such weapons are well known. Among the consequences of using depleted uranium – the growth of oncological diseases among the population and the enormous environmental damage for the Ukrainian territory where it will be applied.

“The civilians of Serbia and Iraq, who still feel the impact of such actions, can tell about all of this. It is unlikely that the leadership of the UK itself, which was directly involved in these conflicts, forgot about it.”

Biden administration spokesman John Kirby dismissed the Russian concerns about depleted uranium as “a straw man” and, like the U.S. government has always done, he denied there are any negative health effects of depleted uranium. To do otherwise would be to admit that the U.S. poisoned thousands of its own troops in Iraq, as well as the Iraqi people.

2019 study documented the devastating impacts of depleted uranium on Iraqi children born with birth defects……………………………………………………………………………………….

March 25, 2023 Posted by | depleted uranium, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

The West has ‘brought humankind to the brink of nuclear Armageddon’ with its decision to use depleted uranium ammo in Ukraine, says Russia’s US envoy

  • Anatoly Antonov was responding to statements by US officials that depleted-uranium munitions are standard types of weapons
  • The British defense ministry on Monday confirmed it would provide Ukraine with armour-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium


Western countries led by the US have decided to bring humankind to the brink of a nuclear Armageddon, Russia’s Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said in Washington on Wednesday.

He was responding to statements by US officials that depleted-uranium munitions are standard types of weapons that have been used for decades and do not pose any heightened risk.

The British defense ministry confirmed on Monday that it would provide Ukraine with armour-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium.

……….. ‘US officials have reached a new low with their irresponsible statements. There is a continuous flow of lethal weapons to Ukraine, which are used to annihilate civilians, residential areas, schools, hospitals, kindergartens,’ Antonov said, according to a statement from the embassy…………….

The ammunition, which enhances ability to overcome defenses on tanks, ‘is not radioactive’ and ‘not anywhere close to going into’ the sphere of nuclear weaponry, Kirby said.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called Moscow’s complaints a ‘straw man’ argument………… ‘This is a commonplace type of munition that is used particularly for its armour-piercing capabilities. “

……….. Kirby said, however, that the US is ‘not providing depleted uranium’………………………………………………

March 25, 2023 Posted by | depleted uranium, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Cry from soldier, unrecognised victim of depleted uranium radiation

Depleted uranium, used in some types of ammunition and military armour, is the dense, low-cost leftover once uranium has been processed….

A high-ranking official from Veterans Affairs says a handful of vets mistakenly believe their bodies have been damaged by depleted uranium…..

the Federal Court of Canada has found depleted uranium to be an issue.  The court ruled the Veterans Affairs Department must compensate retired serviceman Steve Dornan for a cancer his doctors say resulted from exposure to depleted uranium residue.

text-from-the-archivesPoisoned soldier plans hunger strike at minister’s office in exchange for care, Montreal Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press, 30 Oct 11,  MONTREAL — An ex-soldier who says he was poisoned while serving overseas is planning to go on a hunger strike outside the office of Canada’s veterans affairs minister until he gets medical treatment.

Or until he dies.

Continue reading

March 24, 2023 Posted by | Canada, depleted uranium, health, PERSONAL STORIES, Uranium | 2 Comments

Britain supplying depleted uranium rounds to Ukraine

The UK will send “armour piercing rounds which contain depleted
uranium” to Ukraine, for use with the tank squadron donated by the
British army. Defence minister Baroness Goldie made the admission yesterday
in response to a written parliamentary question from crossbench peer Lord
Hylton. Goldie said: “Such rounds are highly effective in defeating
modern tanks and armoured vehicles.” Russia has previously warned it
would regard the use of depleted uranium in Ukraine as a ‘dirty bomb’.

 Declassified UK 21st March 2023

 Putin threatens response over Britain’s toxic tank shells.

 Times 21st March 2023

March 24, 2023 Posted by | depleted uranium, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s depleted uranium plan threatens all of Europe – Moscow 22 Mar 23

The Ukraine conflict could descend into a fight “to the last European,” a top Russian lawmaker has warned.

The British decision to supply depleted uranium munitions to Kiev is part of a dangerous trend that makes the Ukraine conflict a threat to the whole of Europe, Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin has warned.

“The war to the last Ukrainian could become a war to the last European,” the politician said in a social media post. Numerous Russian officials have claimed that Kiev’s Western backers are prepared to sacrifice every Ukrainian for their geopolitical interests.

Volodin argued that Kiev’s acquisition of depleted uranium munitions, which can contaminate the battlefield and cause health risks for generations to come, could become a stepping stone to even more dangerous weapons.

The next step “could be the use of a dirty bomb by the Kiev regime or the deployment of a tactical nuclear weapon,” added Volodin.

President Vladimir Putin expressed concern about the British decision earlier this week, warning that Russia “will be forced to react accordingly, bearing in mind that the collective West has already started to use weapons with a nuclear component.”……………………………………………………………………

The British government announced on Monday that it will send Ukraine armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium, alongside previously-promised Challenger 2 main battle tanks.

March 24, 2023 Posted by | depleted uranium, Gaza, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iraqi children with congenital disabilities caused by depleted uranium

March 23, 2023 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, Iraq, Reference | Leave a comment