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6th depleted uranium resolution passed by UN General Assembly’s First Committee

depleted-uraniumflag-UN-largeUN General Assembly’s First Committee passes 6th depleted uranium resolution http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/unga-first-l63-depleted-uranium-results

Germany and Canada abstain, Norway joins the Netherlands in questioning language on the potential health risks from DU, Palau votes in favour for the first time.
1 November 2016 – ICBUW 146 states have voted in favour of the sixth resolution on DU weapons since 2007. This year’s text paid particular attention to the technical difficulties that affected states face in tackling DU contamination to internationally recognised radiation protection standards.

The resolution also took note of the ongoing concerns from states such as Iraq, and from health experts and civil society over the effects of the weapons on civilians. With the vote coming a week since the US admitted firing DU in Syria in 2015, concern over the health and environmental consequences of the use of the weapons is once again on the international agenda.

“With attention increasingly focused on the lack of obligations for the post-conflict management of DU contamination, the resolution’s reference to the difficulties affected states face is welcome,” said ICBUW Coordinator Doug Weir. “Without clear standards for clearance, and a mechanism for international assistance, civilians will continue to face avoidable exposure risks.”

True to form, just four states voted against the text, which will be voted on again by the General Assembly in early December. The US, UK, France and Israel remain the only four governments to continuously oppose the resolutions. In spite of repeated appeals from the European Parliament for progress on the topic, EU member states remained split on the resolution, with many among the 26 states still abstaining.

Germany, who up until 2014 had supported the resolutions, once again abstained, angering campaigners from ICBUW-Germany. Their position is all the more frustrating given that they elected not to develop DU weapons on the grounds of acceptability in the 1970s; and needless to say they warn their own military personnel of the dangers of battlefield exposure. Many abstainers used language in paragraph seven of the text to justify their political decision to abstain.

Last month Germany’s Foreign Minister Michael Roth claimed that the government took the debate on DU “very seriously” in a response to a parliamentary question from Green MP Agnieszka Brugger. However, in the run up to the vote Germany repeatedly sought to weaken the text of the resolution even though it seems apparent that Berlin had no intention of voting in favour.

“PAX is deeply disturbed that states abstaining on the resolution refused to recognise civilian concerns over exposure to depleted uranium, civilians who are rightly concerned that low-level radioactive waste in their environment could impact the lives of their families,” said PAX’s Wim Zwijnenburg. “Those states abstaining should look to their own guidelines on radiation protection and then consult their consciences on what would be the right thing do when it comes to protecting civilians in armed conflict.”

Prior to the 2015 election that saw Justin Trudeau sweep to power in Canada, his Liberal Party had been polled on their views on DU by Mines Action Canada. Their response couldn’t have been clearer: “The Liberal Party of Canada opposes the use of depleted uranium munitions.” Sadly Canada failed to live up to this ideal and abstained once again.

In spite of championing work on DU for many years, Norway joined the Netherlands in submitting an explanation of vote that cautioned against the use of language on the “potential health risks from DU”. While both nevertheless voted in favour, they argued that the term “possible health effects” would have been preferable.

ICBUW was pleased that Sweden and Bulgaria, who first voted in favour of the resolution in 2014 supported the text again this year. Sweden joined Switzerland in calling for harm reduction measures, such as risk awareness work for affected communities. Palau voted in favour for the first time, continuing the trend that has seen the number of abstentions decreasing in recent years.

November 4, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, depleted uranium, politics international | Leave a comment

Humans, wildlife threatened by Navy’s Use of Depleted Uranium in USA Coastal Waters

depleted-uraniumThe Navy’s Use of Depleted Uranium in Our Coastal Waters Threatens Humans, Wildlife Monday, 31 October 2016 By Dahr JamailTruthout | Report
 Earlier this month, Truthout reported that the US Navy is knowingly introducingtoxic metals and chemicals into the environment during its war game exercises.

Sheila Murray with the Navy Region Northwest’s public affairs office, when asked what the Navy was doing to mitigate environmental contamination from the large numbers of Depleted Uranium (DU) rounds it left on the seabed off the Pacific Northwest Coast claimed current research “does not suggest short- or long-term effects” from the release of DU to the environment that could result in its uptake by marine organisms.”

She also said that DU rounds “are extremely stable in sea water and pose no greater threat than any other metal.”

In response to this, Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist and winner of the 2015 Rachel Carson Prize environmental award for her work on DU and heavy metal contamination, told Truthout, “The US Navy representative’s views exhibit an alarming level of amnesia.”

She said this because Murray’s statement has been one that has been recycled by the Navy for years. Reuters reported in January 2003 that the Navy confirmed its use of DU shells in arms tests off the Washington State coast, at which time the Navy claimed, “The DU rounds dissolve so slowly that they would not contribute to naturally occurring (radiation) levels … and do not pose a significant risk.”

Meanwhile, ample scientific reports — including Savabieasfahani’s own research — demonstrate the deleterious health impacts caused by DU.

“When those bullets and bombs explode, dangerous nanoparticles of metals, including uranium nanoparticles, are released into the environment,” she explained to Truthout. “Laboratory research has already established that exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of uranium has negative impacts on fish embryogenesis, and on the reproductive success of fish.”

Naval documents show that as much as 34 tons of DU could be present on the seabed just 12 miles from the outer coast of Washington State.

Even more distressing, the Navy’s own documents reveal that the extent of its use of DU off the coast of the US is far more pervasive than it admits to the public.

And results of a Freedom of Information Act filing provided to Truthout show that the Navy, which claims in its environmental impact statements it has not used DU since 2008, has actually shipped it from a Puget Sound munitions area as recently as 2011.

A Bogus Study

The Navy’s public affairs officer, Murray, also told Truthout that a “recent study” of an area off the south coast of England that was used for test firing DU rounds “did not show presence of DU in sample of intertidal and ocean bottom sediments, seaweed, mussels, and locally caught lobster and scallops. (Toque, 2006).”

However, the study Murray cites — and which the Navy consistently cites when arguing that DU is not harmful — is heavily disputed.

Carol Van Strum, an Oregon-based environmental advocate who has researched DU for years, told Truthout that Murray’s statement is “an out-and-out lie.”

Van Strum, who has read the Toque study closely and knows it well, pointed out that, for starters, the study’s author works for a British military contractor. She went on to point out two very serious flaws in the study.

“While the study relied on ‘locally caught’ lobster and scallops as samples for testing for depleted uranium, the samples were never ‘caught’ but rather bought in a local market, and thus could have come from anywhere,” Van Strum explained. “Second, and most worrisome … the actual study reports depleted uranium contamination in nearly all of the samples.”

The Navy’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the matter claims “the survey results show no evidence of DU being present in any marine environmental sample collected in the year 2004.”

But Van Strum called their claim “incontrovertibly false” because the study itself stated it had found DU contamination in the soil in many areas where the military was operating cannons, in the soil where ordnance had been fired, and in the soil, sea water and marine life where the ordnance they had fired had landed.

“The study’s methodology would not pass muster for even a high school science project,” Van Strum said. Karen Sullivan, a retired endangered species biologist who co-founded the website West Coast Action Alliance that acts as a watchdog of Naval activities in the Pacific Northwest, questioned why the Navy would open itself up to accusations of bias by relying on only a single study done by someone who works for a group affiliated with the British military.

“Why would the Navy rely on such a flawed and obviously biased study to ‘prove’ that DU in seawater poses no threat greater than any other metal?” Sullivan, who worked at the US Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 15 years and who is an expert in the bureaucratic procedures the Navy is supposed to be following, asked in an interview with Truthout. “Probably because the enormous body of properly conducted and unbiased science completely refutes it.”

Van Strum went on to point out additional significant problems with the study, including the almost laughable procurement and use of the samples……..

Human Health Impacts of DU “Quite Relevant” to Naval Exercises

“Navy exercises in the waters of the Pacific Northwest will release contaminants into the marine environment, with an undeniable potential to harm human health,” Savabieasfahani said, noting that this would apply even to low-level amounts of DU being introduced into the oceans. “It is long established that explosives can contaminate soil, sediment and water and thereby impact environmental and human health.”

She explained that the human and environmental impacts of the Navy’s use of DU in past exercises is “quite relevant,” and cited a report that showed how DU exposure has been linked to lower cognitive ability in adults.

“This leads us to expect much worse impacts on growing children, newborns and infants — to say nothing of unborn babies,” Savabieasfahani added. “Furthermore, epidemiological evidence is also consistent with an increased risk of birth defects in the children of people exposed to DU.”

She also heavily emphasized the fact that the internalization of uranium in any form will result in both chemical and radiation exposure. “Once inside a living body, DU and uranium’s effects are virtually the same,” Savabieasfahani explained. “This is a point worth repeating.”

Moreover, Savabieasfahani emphasized that it’s dangerous to guesstimate “safe” levels of DU, whether or not it reaches levels determined to be “toxic.”

“Our knowledge of the human health impacts of DU is consistent with laboratory studies of other mammals,” she said. “DU exposure affects neurogenesis during prenatal and postnatal brain development by disrupting patterns of cell proliferation and cell death. Even sub-toxic levels of DU have been shown to alter brain function.”

She also took issue with Murray’s argument, which Savabieasfahani described as, essentially, “the solution to pollution is dilution.” This is the nuclear industry’s default argument about radiation and other forms of pollution, and has been for decades, despite the fact that this logic was “decisively rejected” more than 40 years ago. Savabieasfahani pointed out that even Richard Nixon’s EPA administrator, William Ruckelshaus, rejected the dilution argument in a 1972 Congressional testimony regarding the Clean Water Act.

Savabieasfahani noted that any upcoming Naval exercises that introduce heavy metals and other pollutants, regardless of whether they use DU, will increase the environmental “background burden” of DU and other pollutants.

“Increasing that burden is simply irresponsible,” Savabieasfahani said. “Seabed pollutants have already found their way into our bodies. Those pollutants will continue to impact the most vulnerable populations — infants, newborns and growing children — most profoundly, and their imprint will be found in the baby teeth of our children.”

Other Instances of DU

Problems with DU in the Pacific Northwest are not limited to the Navy……. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/38185-the-navy-s-use-of-depleted-uranium-in-our-coastal-waters-threatens-humans-wildlife

November 4, 2016 Posted by | depleted uranium, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

America DID use depleted uranium weapons in Syria

depleted-uraniumUnited States confirms that it has fired depleted uranium in Syria International Coalition to Ban Nuclear Weapons  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. 21 October 2016 – ICBUW

The US has finally confirmed that it has fired DU ammunition Syria, after it had earlier stated that the weapons would not be used. US Central Command (CENTCOM) has acknowledged that DU was fired on two dates – the 18 and 23 November 2015. Between the strikes on the two dates, 5,100 rounds of 30mm DU ammunition were used by A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. This equates to 1,524kg of DU. CENTCOM said that the ammunition was selected because of the “nature of the targets”.

The news comes as governments are debating a UN General Assemblyresolution on DU weapons in New York. And, although DU use has only been admitted on two dates, ICBUW and PAX are concerned that this disclosure could be the sign that DU has, or will, be used more widely in the conflict.

In March 2015, and following the deployment of A-10s to the conflict, the US hadconfirmed to journalists that the aircraft would not be armed with DU, stating:“U.S. and Coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.” Justifying the decision, CENTCOM public affairs explained that:  “The ammunition is developed to destroy tanks on a conventional battlefield; Daesh does not possess large numbers of tanks.”

CENTCOM confirms DU use     IRIN news finally extracted the confirmation that DU had been used from CENTCOM on October 20, and after weeks of denials. The revelations first came to light after an aide to Congresswoman Martha McSally (Rep, AZ) – herself a former A-10 combat pilot – responded to a question from DU activist, and constituent, Jack Cohen-Joppa. However a number of CENTCOM sources initially denied that the information was accurate. Confirming that the data were indeed accurate, a spokesperson for CENTCOM said earlier denials were due to “an error in reporting down range.”

“Without the chance disclosure from McSally’s office, and the dogged pursuit of CENTCOM by IRIN, the US would not have volunteered this data,” said ICBUW Coordinator Doug Weir. “Sadly this is typical of the poor transparency we have seen from the US and we urge CENTCOM and the Coalition to clarify their policy on DU use in Syria and explain how its use fits with its public claims that the ammunition is solely for use against armoured targets.

Unclear why DU was used  The US regularly states that DU ammunition is specifically used only for engaging armoured targets, in accordance with its own legal guidelines, although evidence from a number of conflicts has shown that these guidelines are commonly ignored……..http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/united-states-confirms-fired-du-syria

October 24, 2016 Posted by | depleted uranium, Syria, USA | Leave a comment

UN again to study the effects of depleted uranium contamination

depleted-uraniumUnited Nations highlights cost and difficulty of tackling depleted uranium contamination http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/united-nations-highlights-cost-and-difficulty

Depleted uranium once again on the UN’s agenda as a new resolution is tabled that serves to remind the international community of the absence of rules governing its post-conflict management.
19 October 2016 – ICBUW A resolution submitted to the United Nations General Assembly’s First Committee draws attention to the technical and financial barriers that countries affected by the use of depleted uranium face following conflicts when they seek to clear contamination. The resolution also reminds governments that states, communities, health experts and civil society organisations remain profoundly concerned about the health and environmental risks that the weapons can pose.

The resolution is the sixth on the topic to be tabled at the General Assembly since 2007. Shortly before the last resolution was debated in 2014, Iraq called for assistance from the international community in addressing the legacy of DU use in the country in 1991 and 2003. The 2014 resolution, which was supported by 150 states, called on member states to provide such assistance. Disappointingly, assistance has not been forthcoming in the interim and the appalling security situation in Iraq has hampered efforts to assess and clear sites.

“Managing DU contamination to internationally accepted standards is complex, time-consuming and costly,” said ICBUW Coordinator Doug Weir. “Research has repeatedly shown that most countries recovering from conflict are poorly placed to implement these vital risk reduction measures, which are recommended by UN agencies, and it is civilians who all too often pay the cost of inaction.” Part of the problem lies in the fact that unlike land mines and cluster munitions, there are no formal obligations, on either those countries that use the weapons, or are affected by them, to clear them after conflicts.

Previous resolutions have passed by huge majorities, with just four states consistently voting against and, while it is unlikely that the UK, US, France and Israel will vote in favour this year, overall the number of governments abstaining has been on a downward trend since 2007. As a result, there is increasing focus on the likes of Canada, Denmark and a number of EU governments who refuse to vote yes, often on extremely dubious grounds.

However, it is Germany that many will be watching. In 2014, the German government abstained on the DU resolution for the first time, triggering a backlash from German parliamentarians and civil society. A parliamentary question urging the government to vote yes was tabled in September by the Green Party. “Germany has got to accept that the potential hazards from DU contamination are widely accepted by the UN agencies that recommend remedial measures, and by their own military, who take a precautionary approach to DU in their own guidelines,” said PAX’s Wim Zwijnenburg. “Doubtless the German authorities would take steps to prevent civilian harm if DU were dispersed in Germany, why should it be different for other countries following conflicts?”

What will the resolution achieve?

The resolutions do not seek to ban DU weapons, however they do underscore the fact that the overwhelming majority of governments object to their use. Each resolution is also helping to define soft norms around some of the most problematic issues surrounding DU. One of these, the need for DU users to share data on where they fire the weapons, has featured since 2010, and its importance was highlighted by a recent report from PAX and ICBUW over DU use in the 2003 Iraq War. The report showed that more than half the DU fired by the US is still unaccounted for, and that the refusal of the US to release data to UN agencies hampered their post-conflict assessments.

Voting on the resolution will take place in early November. A second vote will take place in early December. You can follow the debate on social media using #FirstCommittee and by following @ICBUW

October 22, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, depleted uranium, Reference | Leave a comment

Depleted uranium: USA ignored its own guidelines in weapons use in Iraq. Syria too?

A new resolution on DU weapons will be voted on by governments at the UN General Assembly this month.  
depleted-uraniumUS broke its own rules firing depleted uranium in Iraq http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/us-broke-own-rules-firing-depleted-uranium-in-iraq

An analysis of recently declassified military data shows that the United States military ignored its own guidelines for the use of depleted uranium ammunition in the 2003 Iraq War, firing the controversial weapons at unarmoured targets, buildings in populated areas and troops. It has also tripled the number of sites known to be contaminated in Iraq to more than 1,000; even as fears grow that the US has used depleted uranium in Syria.
5 October 2016 – ICBUW

The targeting data, which details the use of 30mm DU ammunition by USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft – or “Warthogs”, was released under FOIA and accounts for 54,000kg of the 118,000kg of DU ammunition that the US and UK have acknowledged firing in the conflict. Analysis by PAX and ICBUW of the 1,116 strikes, which took place during the first month of the 2003 invasion, and published in a new report Targets of Opportunity shows that DU use was widespread across Iraq.

For the first time, the data also reveal that the majority of targets attacked with the radioactive and chemically toxic weapons were not armoured. This runs counter to claims by the US that the A10’s ammunition is specifically for destroying tanks and other armoured vehicles. A significant number of the 182,000 30mm PGU-14/B rounds fired by the aircraft – each of which contains 298g of DU – were also fired in or near populated areas, increasing the likelihood that civilians would be exposed.

The need to destroy armour is central to the US’s ongoing military justification for the use of the weapons, which place civilians at risk of exposure and leave a complex and costly legacy for years after the end of conflicts. The US’s own legal guidelines, which were placed on the use of the armour-piercing incendiary weapons in 1975, restricts their use to armoured vehicles, a restriction that appears to have been ignored in the 2003 conflict.

Little transparency, even less assistance

While the UK released information to the UN on where it fired 1,900kg of DU, the US is still withholding data on where it fired 62,000kg of the weapons. This is hampering clearance work. PAX has reported that Iraq continues to struggle with the identification and remediation of DU contaminated sites, and the country has called for assistance in doing so from the international community.

“With the current burden of fighting the Islamic State, the Iraqi government’s capacity is already stretched. But people are worried about DU contamination, especially in southern Iraq,” says one of the report’s authors, PAX’s Wim Zwijnenburg. “The US did too little, too late, and now Iraq’s people are facing layer upon layer of toxic health risks as a result of the conflicts.”

“At present countries that use DU weapons, or are affected by them, are under no formal obligations to clear contamination after conflicts in order to minimise the risks it poses to civilians,” said co-author Doug Weir from ICBUW. “This is in stark contrast to land mines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war. Governments must take steps to meaningfully address the legacy from DU and other toxic remnants of war that can harm civilians and their environment for years after the end of conflicts.” 

New information suggests that A-10s have used DU in Syria n early 2015, the US stated – contrary to previous claims – that its A-10 aircraft had not and would not use DU in Iraq or Syria in operations against Islamic State. However information obtained by ICBUW suggests that US A-10s have used DU on at least two occasions in Syria.

ICBUW and PAX are calling for urgent clarification from the US authorities on both the incidents and its DU policy for the conflict, and for them to swiftly release the targeting data to ensure that the relevant authorities can conduct clearance and risk awareness efforts and to isolate and recover contaminated material.

A new resolution on DU weapons will be voted on by governments at the UN General Assembly this month.         : https://www.irinnews.org/analysis/2016/10/06/exclusive-iraq-war-records-reignite-debate-over-us-use-depleted-uranium

October 19, 2016 Posted by | depleted uranium, Iraq, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Socorro a national sacrifice area for depleted uranium

SOCORRO – The City of Depleted Uranium
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/782822554/socorro-the-city-of-depleted-uranium
by Norbert G. Suchanek, 20 July 16,   Depleted uranium contamination in the USA: Socorro in New Mexico was used for decades as testing range for depleted uranium (DU).   About this project

The mountain of Socorro in the South of New Mexico was used for decades as a testing range for depleted uranium weapons.
URANIUM 238: THE PENTAGON’S DIRTY POOL

Socorro became a national sacrifice area. People in Socorro are suffering similar health effects as the local population in Iraq who were hit by DU-Weapons during the Gulf Wars. The film gives details of the abuses and transgressions on the people of Socorro who’s community was downwind and downgrade of the depleted uranium testing sites which had been active since 1972. Until today most of the population of Socorro are unaware about the testing on the Socorro mountain and the dangers of depleted uranium.

Main character of the film is Damacio A. Lopez, who was born in Socorro. He served the US-army during Cold war and Cuba Crisis and became later a professional golf player. When he found out about the horrible consequences of the use of depleted uranium on the battle fields during the Gulf wars in Iraq and in his native town, he became one of the first activists fighting for a global ban of these weapons.

Damacio studied the terrible health effects of DU Weapons in the battlefields of Iraq and the Balkans for many years.  He has founded the International Depleted Uranium Study Team (IDUST) and influenced and produced several important reports and films about Depleted Uranium like the film: “URANIUM 238: THE PENTAGON’S DIRTY POOL”. This film won the Jury Award as the Best Short Film of the first International Uranium Film Festival in 2011. Damacio is also the principle founder of the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) and works at the UN on a treaty to ban uranium weapons.

SOCORRO – THE CITY OF DEPLETED URANIUM will be the first film that this testing of depleted uranium will be exposed to world public. It will make clear that not only the populations in Iraq or in the Balkans are suffering from DU but also US citizens across the US who live close to the military testing sites and firing ranges.

Damacio Lopez says: “I am from a family in Socorro in New Mexico and I have been working to create an International Treaty to ban Depleted Uranium Weapons for the past 30 years. In 1986 I discovered that depleted uranium testing was taking place on the Socorro Mountain just 2 miles away down wind from our family home. My father would spends hours in his garden while black clouds moved over head from the DU test site. He eventually died of various cancers.”

See also: Depleted Uranium: Metal of Dishonorhttp://www.democracynow.org/1999/4/19/depleted_uranium_metal_of_dishonor

International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) –http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/

The Case for an Immediate Ban on the Military Use of Depleted Uraniumwww.ru.nl/publish/pages/630064/archief_lopez_uranium_en.pdf

“Uranium 238: The Pentagon’s Dirty Pool” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEqE8DdpHOM

Depleted uranium weapons have left behind a trail of human misery and vituperative debate. What’s not known about them is just as disturbing as what is..https://newint.org/features/2007/11/01/keynote/

FRIENDLY FIRE, THE LINK BETWEEN DEPLETED URANIUM MUNITIONS AND HUMAN HEALTH RISKS http://www.gulfwarvets.com/du8.html

July 20, 2016 Posted by | depleted uranium, Resources -audiovicual, USA | Leave a comment

ICBUW: European Parliament urges EU governments to support UN depleted uranium resolution

depleted-uranium European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs sends report to European Council calling for progress on DU at this October’s UN General Assembly.  13 July 2016. This October, the UN General Assembly will consider its sixth biennial resolution on DU weapons since 2007. The resolutions have attracted widespread support over the years with fewer and fewer countries abstaining and just the US, UK, France and Israel consistently voting against them. They are non-binding but are helping to establish soft norms on the use and post-conflict management of DU weapons, highlighting issues such as transparency, assistance, precaution and the health risks they pose. They also serve as a regular reminder to DU users that the majority of the world views the weapons as unacceptable.

http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/ep-urges-eu-governments-support-unga-du-res

July 15, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, depleted uranium | Leave a comment

Chilcot says Britain shirking its responsibilty to help clean up radioactive destruction in Iraq

depleted-uraniumChilcot: UK refusing to help clean up Iraq after raining down radioactive shells https://www.rt.com/uk/350804-iraq-chilcot-depleted-uranium/#.V4VPdDurb8w.facebook 12 Jul, 2016 Britain has no intention of cleaning up its deadly radioactive legacy in Iraq or even monitoring the terrifying impact depleted uranium (DU) shells will have on the population in the future, it has been claimed.

Writing in the Ecologist on Tuesday, Doug Weir, who is coordinator of the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW), says that hidden within the Chilcot report is a previously classified military document setting out the UK’s rejection of any duty to cleanse Iraq of DU of unexploded ordnance (UXO).

In it, the clearance of unexploded ordnance and DU is considered and the Ministry of Defence [MoD] argues that it has: “… no long-term legal responsibility to clean up DU from Iraq” Weir writes.

Instead it proposes that surface lying fragments of DU only be removed on ‘an opportunity basis’ – i.e. if they come across them in the course of other operations.

This indicates, according to Weir, that the UK has effectively swerved any obligation to clear up after itself in Iraq.

In other words, the UK’s stance is that chemically toxic and radioactive DU ‘ash’ from spent munitions is strictly the problem of the country in which the munitions were used – in this case Iraq – and that the UK, which fired the DU shells, has no formal responsibility of cleaning up the mess.

DU ammunition is used in only two UK weapons systems – the Royal Navy’s PHALANX Close-In Weapon System and in the Charm 3 ammunition fired by the Challenger 2 main battle tank.

However, the route to shirking responsibility may not be as easy as the UK government seems to hope. In October, the UN will meet to debate a sixth resolution on DU weapons. It’s a move which will give succor to the government of Iraq, which in 2014 called for the international community to help clean up DU.

Weir remains hopeful that the UN meeting may be able to encourage governments to take responsibility for the use and fallout of the weapons.

When the United Nations last discussed DU two years ago, 150 governments recognised the need for states to provide assistance to countries like Iraq,” he wrote.

This October, our Coalition will add our voice to those of the states affected by DU weapons in calling for an end to the use of DU weapons and for the users to finally accept responsibility for their legacy,” he added.

July 13, 2016 Posted by | depleted uranium, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Cancer toll in Serbia, from NATO’s use of depleted uranium weapons

cancer_cellsdepleted-uraniumDepleted uranium used by NATO during bombing of Serbia takes its toll http://inserbia.info/today/2016/03/depleted-uranium-used-by-nato-during-bombing-of-serbia-takes-its-toll/ By InSerbia with agencies -Mar 29, 2016  BELGRADE The use of depleted uranium during NATO bombing of Serbia has caused long-term damage to Serbia and the Serbian people. Because every year we have an increase in the number of cancer cases by 25 percent over the previous year. Figures in the case of patients in Kosovska Mitrovica support this fact, as in 2011 here were registered 185 of them, the following year, 225 and in 2013 – 250. Therefore, the gloomy forecasts, imposed back in 2002, that the use of depleted uranium during the aggression of Western military alliance against FRY will cause an epidemic of malignant diseases, turned out to be accurate, said dr. Nebojsa Srbljak for Serbian daily “Vecernje Novosti”.

Dr Srbljak, a cardiologist at the ZTC in Kosovska Mitrovica and founder of the NGO “Angel of Mercy” which deals with data on the number of patients with malignancy in Kosovo, explained for the daily that “those who used the depleted uranium had to know what consequences it causes”. He said that the study of his organization, which cover the period of two years before and two years after the bombing, clearly shows that the number of patients with malignant diseases is caused by radioactivity, and not stress and other bad life habits.

“Let us remember the example of Italy which has revealed that their soldiers, who stayed in Kosovo, were irradiated and that the increased number of hematological diseases is a direct consequence of the use of depleted uranium ammunition,” said dr. Srbljak. “Italian KFOR soldiers were deployed where the most of the ammunition with depleted uranium was used, in Pec, Djakovica, in Kosare. Their families, as far as I know, have received compensation.”

Dr. Srbljak urges the authorities that our country formally request compensation, not only for material damage but also because of the increase in the number of patients with malignant diseases. The cardiologist claims that someone was trying to minimize the information he and his team published back in 2002 that the number of patients with malignant diseases was increased by almost 200 percent compared to the period before the bombing.

“It became clear that we are right when our neighbors Albanians started to go to Belgrade for a treatment. Because, and that is obvious, they have confidence in the expertise of Serbian doctors. I therefore think that our proposal, to open a branch of Oncology Institute in Belgrade here in (Kosovska) Mitrovica could finally be realized.”

April 20, 2016 Posted by | depleted uranium, EUROPE, health | Leave a comment

Radiation effects of depleted uranium continue to bring disease and death in Iraq

Fallujah (pop. 300,000) is Iraq’s most contaminated city.

Cancers in Fallujah catapulted from 40 cases among 100,000 people in 1991 to at least 1,600 by 2005. In a 2010International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health article, Busby and two colleagues, Malak Hamden and Entesar Ariabi, reported a 38-fold increase in leukemia, a 10-fold increase in breast cancer, and infant mortality rates eight times higher than in neighboring Kuwait.

Fallujah-babyBusby sampled the hair of Fallujah women with deformed babies and found slightly enriched uranium. He found the same thing in the soil. “The only possible source was the weapons,” he states.

These numbers are probably low. “Iraqi women whose children have birth defects feel stigmatized and often don’t report them,” says Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a Michigan-based environmental toxicologist who won the 2015 Rachel Carson Award.

IRRADIATED IRAQ   The Nuclear Nightmare We Left Behind, The Washington Spectator,  By Barbara Koeppel   30 Mar 16 When the United States revealed in January that it is testing a more nimble, more precise version of its B61 atom bomb, some were immediately alarmed. General James Cartwright, a former strategist for President Obama, warned that “going smaller” could make nuclear weapons “more thinkable” and “more usable.”

However, what is little known is that for the past 25 years, the United States and its allies have routinely used radioactive weapons in battle, in the form of warheads and explosives made with depleted, undepleted, or slightly enriched uranium. While the Department of Defense (DOD) calls these weapons “conventional” (non-nuclear), they are radioactive and chemically toxic. In Iraq, where the United States and its partners waged two wars, toxic waste covers the country and poisons the people. U.S. veterans are also sick and dying.

Scott Ritter, a former Marine Corps officer in Iraq and United Nations weapons inspector, told me, “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.”

The weapons were first used in 1991 during Desert Storm, when the U.S. military fired guided bombs and missiles containing depleted uranium (DU), a waste product from nuclear reactors. The Department of Defense (DOD) particularly prized them because, with dramatic density, speed, and heat, they blasted through tanks and bunkers.

Within one or two years, grotesque birth defects spiraled—such as babies with two heads. Or missing eyes, hands, and legs. Or stomachs and brains inside out.

Keith Baverstock, who headed the radiological section of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Center of Environment and Health in the 1990s, explained why: When uranium weapons explode, their massive blasts produce gray or black clouds of uranium oxide dust particles. These float for miles, people breathe them, and the dust lodges in their lungs. From there, they seep into the lymph system and blood, flow throughout the body, and bind to the genes and chromosomes, causing them to mutate. First, they trigger birth defects. Within five or more years, cancer. Organs, often the kidneys, fail.

At one Basra hospital, leukemia cases in children up to age 14 doubled from 1992 to 1999, says Amy Hagopian, a University of Washington School of Public Health professor. Birth defects also surged, from 37 in 1990 to 254 in 2001, according to a 2005 article in Environmental Health.

Leukemia—cancer of the blood—develops quickly. Chris Busby, a British chemical physicist, explains: “Blood cells are the most easily damaged by radiation and duplicate rapidly. We’ve known this since Hiroshima.”

Dai Williams, an independent weapons researcher in Britain, says the dust emits alpha radiation—20 times more damaging than the gamma radiation from nuclear weapons. The military insists the dust is harmless because it can’t penetrate the skin. They ignore that it can be inhaled.

Fast forward to 2003. When the United States reinvaded Iraq, it launched bunker-busting guided bombs, cruise missiles, and TOW anti-tank missiles. It also fired new thermobaric warheads—much stronger explosives with stunningly large blasts. Many of these, says Ritter, contained some type of uranium, whether depleted, undepleted, or slightly enriched.

Williams says thermobaric weapons explode at extremely high temperatures and “the only material that can do that is uranium.” He adds that while today’s nuclear weapons are nominally subject to international regulations, no existing arms protocol addresses uranium in a non-nuclear context.

While the U.S. government has cleaned up some contaminated sites at home—such as a former uranium munitions plant in Concord, Mass.—it has yet to acknowledge the mess in Iraq.

“Iraq is one large hazardous waste site,” Ritter says. “If it was the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency would declare it a Superfund site and order it be cleaned.

Left behind in Fallujah

Fallujah (pop. 300,000) is Iraq’s most contaminated city. The U.S. military attacked it twice in 2004, and in the November siege, troops fired thermobaric weapons, including a shoulder-launched missile called the SMAW-NE. (NE means “novel explosive.”)

Ross Caputi was there with the U.S. 1st Battalion 8th Marines. He told me, “We used the SMAW-NE and guys raved about how you could fire just one round and clear a building.” Concrete bunkers and buildings were instantly incinerated and collapsed. The DOD was not disappointed.

Cancers in Fallujah catapulted from 40 cases among 100,000 people in 1991 to at least 1,600 by 2005. In a 2010International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health article, Busby and two colleagues, Malak Hamden and Entesar Ariabi, reported a 38-fold increase in leukemia, a 10-fold increase in breast cancer, and infant mortality rates eight times higher than in neighboring Kuwait.

Busby sampled the hair of Fallujah women with deformed babies and found slightly enriched uranium. He found the same thing in the soil. “The only possible source was the weapons,” he states.

These numbers are probably low. “Iraqi women whose children have birth defects feel stigmatized and often don’t report them,” says Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a Michigan-based environmental toxicologist who won the 2015 Rachel Carson Award.

Besides the cancers and birth defects, an Irish pathologist (who asked for anonymity) said an unusually high number of children have cerebral palsy (CP) near the city of Hawija. “I was skeptical when Iraqi doctors told me, but I examined 30 and saw it was classic CP. I don’t know what caused this, but the increase is almost certainly war-related.”

It is often argued that uranium occurs in nature, so it’s impossible to link soil and other samples to the weapons. But, Ritter told me that when experts examine a site, they take samples, study them in a special lab, and can easily tell the difference between uranium that is natural and that which was chemically processed. “The idea that you can’t link soil samples to weapons because of the presence of natural uranium is simply ludicrous. It’s done all the time by experts in the International Atomic Energy Agency and within the nuclear programs of all major nuclear powers,” Ritter says.

Burn pits and toxic clouds

In addition to the weapons’ lethal dust, Iraqis and coalition troops were exposed to poisonous smoke from huge open burn pits, some stretching 10 acres. From 2003 to 2011, U.S. military bases burned waste in the pits around the clock—spewing toxic clouds for miles.

Two were near Fallujah. Caputi says,“We dumped everything there. Our plastic bottles, tires, human waste, and batteries.”

Rubber, oil, solvents, unexploded weapons, and even medical waste were also tossed into the pits. As a 2008 Army Times article noted, Balad Air Base burned around 90,000 plastic bottles a day.

When plastic burns, it gives off dioxin—the key ingredient in Agent Orange…..http://linkis.com/washingtonspectator.org/b2hLC

April 11, 2016 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, health, Iraq | 1 Comment

25 toxic years of use of depleted uranium weapons

depleted-uranium“The most toxic war in history” – 25 years later, International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons,  Quarter of a century on from the first widespread use of depleted uranium munitions, have lessons been learned about the need to protect civilians, military personnel and the environment from conflict pollution and the toxic remnants of war? 1 February 2016 – Doug Weir 

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the start of Operation Desert Storm, the combat phase of the Gulf War. Precipitated by Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait in August 1990, the conflict was the first to see the widespread use of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition. US and UK forces subsequently acknowledged firing a combined 286,000kg of DU – the vast majority of which was fired by US Abrams and M60 tanks, and A10 and Harrier aircraft.

The decision to deploy the radioactive and chemically toxic weapons, which had been under development since the 1950s as a response to Cold War concerns over defeating Soviet armoured divisions, would prove highly contentious in the following years. Once the media and military’s enthusiasm for what was promoted as a new paradigm in high-tech low-casualty warfare began to subside, veteransjournalists and civil society organisations in the US and UK increasingly began to challenge the general conduct of the war, and the use of DU in particular.

This was largely to be expected, and had been anticipated just six months before the conflict in a US military study on the environmental and health risks of DU: “Public relations efforts are indicated, and may not be effective due to the public’s perception of radioactivity. Fielding and combat activities present the potential for adverse international reaction.” Those wishing to continue to use DU weapons recognised that they would need to plan vigorous public relations efforts in order to justify their continued use, a pattern that continues today. Following 1991, this saw DU branded as the “Silver Bullet” – a weapon capable of such astonishing feats, and so militarily important, that any concerns over its potential health or environmental impacts should be disregarded.

“The most toxic war in history”

As increasing numbers of veterans began to report post-deployment health problems in the years that followed, attention began to focus on the overall toxicity of the conflict. From oil fires and pesticides, to the use and disposal of chemical weapons, the Gulf War was increasingly viewed as “the most toxic in history”. Whether it was – conflict pollution had been developing in concert with the mechanisation of warfare and industrialisation throughout the 20th Century, or whether this just represented a growing awareness of the linkages between chemicals and health is a matter of debate. Nevertheless, questions were asked about whether possible exposures to a suite of chemicals could be responsible for the ailments reported by veterans. These ranged from birth defects to chronic fatigue, and led to the emergence of the catch all term Gulf War Syndrome (GWS)…..

In the case of DU, it also became clear that scientifically unjustified assumptions had been made about the health risks it posed. Continue reading

February 3, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, depleted uranium | Leave a comment

Iran developing depleted uranium weapons? Actually – NO!

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranNo, Iran probably isn’t developing depleted uranium weapons http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/no-iran-probably-isnt-developing-depleted-uranium

Suggestions that Iran’s plans to develop DU weapons had become a sticking point in the Vienna nuclear talks surfaced yesterday, which was news to us.
10 July 2015 – Doug Weir The marathon talks between Iran and the P5 plus Germany over the future of Iran’s nuclear programme appear to be reaching yet another crescendo. Details of the possible deal are few and far between but it appears that the lifting of the United Nations’ arms embargo against Iran has become a major issue in the last few days.

The Russians, would like to see it dropped – although not necessarily as part of the negotiations, as would Iran. A major feature of the embargo and discussions on Iran’s military capabilities has been ballistic missiles capable of reaching Iran’s neighbours and the sale of Russian-made S-300 air defence missiles. Iran is also keen to undertake a general modernisation programme of its military.

However on the 6th July, Bloomberg reported that it was not only an issue of ballistic missiles but also Iran’s plans to develop DU anti-tank ammunition, like those stockpiled and occasionally used by the militaries of the P5 negotiators, though not Germany, for now. The story was duly picked up by the Irish Independent and by Foreign Policy’s blog.

ICBUW has long wondered whether Iran might be tempted to develop DU weapons, given that it has an expanding stockpile of DU tails from its uranium enrichment facilities. However, this has always seemed unlikely, given its long-running and vociferous condemnation of the US’s use of DU, support for UN resolutions via its membership of the Non-Aligned Movement and its official statements over the threats from the DU travelling across the border from Iraq.

Nevertheless, the Iranian military may have a different view to the government’s public line on DU and, as with many other states, including even the Swiss, may have experimented with DU kinetic energy penetrator rounds. Nor can one exclude the possibility that 125mm DU ammunition could have been sourced from Russia at some stage. From a military perspective, one could see a certain regional strategic temptation in developing advanced tank armaments but with DU that is always balanced by the stigmatisation of the weapons – as evidenced by the comparatively limited worldwide proliferation of DU ammunition.

Ironically, the closest Iran may have got to acquiring DU weapons was a proposalin the late 1970s from the Shah of Iran, who offered the use of an Esfahan firing range to the British if domestic public opposition against DU test firing proved too great.

Bloomberg’s evidence for Iran’s alleged plans to develop DU weapons purportedly came from two experts, Karl Dewey, a CBRN specialist with Jane’s and Robert Kelley, a former IAEA director and nuclear non-proliferation expert. The article also cited sources in the negotiations who said that the issue of DU ammunition had been discussed. ICBUW contacted Dewey and Kelley and found that their comments had been misrepresented in Bloomberg’s article, which has subsequently been modified in parts.

Robert Kelley told ICBUW that: “I have no evidence whatsoever that Iran has DU or natural uranium weapons. I said nothing of the kind and I am very disappointed in this article. I am asking for a retraction or clarification.

“What I said was that Iran certainly has penetrators but I never said uranium. I did say that if they decided to use tails or freshly produced natural metal for weapons they should have to declare that to IAEA and ask for a safeguards exemption. No big deal.”

So where does this leave us? Clearly the UN arms embargo has become an issue in this final(ish) round of negotiations and is doubtless causing some headaches for the P5+1. Is it all about DU tank ammunition? Probably unlikely as there are far greater concerns over ballistic missile delivery systems that could present a regional strategic threat, ditto the advanced Russian air defence systems that could inhibit a future strike by the US or Israel on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran is clearly keen to modernise its military, but are they dead set on developing DU weapons from their new tails stockpiles? Probably not. Should you take excitable media reports on DU proliferation at face value? Never.

July 13, 2015 Posted by | depleted uranium, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Depleted uranium especially hazardous – gradually becomes more radioactive – a problem for Utah

depleted-uraniumFederal regulators hear Utah testimony on depleted uranium By , Deseret News, June 25 2015 “…………The NRC is proposing to adopt a rule that for the first time specifically addresses the disposal of the material, which is a waste stream generated from the enrichment process of uranium in the nuclear fuel cycle.

Depleted uranium poses unique disposal challenges because it does not hit its peak radioactivity until 2.1 million years, and actually grows more radioactive over time. In its disposal stage, however, depleted uranium contains radioactivity that falls under the lowest level classified by the federal government — that of class A — and is legally within limits on what can be buried in Utah at EnergySolutions’ Clive facility.

Matt Pacenza, executive director of the radioactive waste watchdog organization called HEAL Utah, believes that the NRC is making a huge mistake by classifying depleted uranium as class A.

“Right now, a regulatory loophole could allow waste that does not reach a peak hazard for 2.1 million years to be treated just like waste which loses 90 percent of its hazard in less than 200,” his presentation asserted.

Pacenza, who spoke at the briefing Thursday, said the safety of the public and the environment cannot be assured given the complex nature of depleted uranium and its long-lived radioactivity.

HEAL Utah has lobbied hard against any depleted uranium being disposed of at EnergySolutions’ commercial facility in Tooele County ever since the Salt Lake-based company inked a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009 to begin accepting stockpiles of the waste — with the initial shipments reaching 10,500 tons.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert intervened, successfully getting some of those shipments turned around after he launched objections with the federal agency over the uncertainties associated with the material’s disposal.

State regulators then convened multiple hearings and crafted their own rules governing the disposal of any significant amounts of depleted uranium, including the requirement that EnergySolutions develop a site-specific performance assessment designed to specifically contemplate depleted uranium’s unique character……….

The NRC’s proposed rule on depleted uranium would affect commercial facilities in Utah and Texas, as well as Washington and South Carolina.

Mike Garner, executive director of the Northwest Interstate Compact — a regional alliance with oversight of low-level radioactive waste management — argued before the commission that the proposed rule should not be hoisted on states that aren’t planning to take depleted uranium, a concern echoed by the Nuclear Energy Institute that argued the proposal would be unnecessarily costly and burdensome.

Pacenza, too, added that the proposal is undergoing significant modifications that show how much industry — particularly EnergySolutions — is influencing the potential regulation of depleted uranium……

Comments on the rule can be submitted atwww.regulations.gov

Email: amyjoi@deseretnews.com, Twitter: amyjoi16    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865631459/Federal-regulators-hear-Utah-testimony-on-depleted-uranium.html?pg=all

June 27, 2015 Posted by | depleted uranium, Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Pentagon presents depleted uranium weapons as legal and acceptable!

depleted-uranium-weaponDU users conclude that depleted uranium weapons are legal and acceptable

The latest US DoD Law of War Manual argues that DU weapons are OK because the UK and France say that they are too.

Earlier this month the Pentagon published a 1204 page document on its interpretation of the Laws of War. The project had sought to collate manuals used by different arms of the military into a single document and covers a range of controversial weapons and practices, from drones and herbicides to autonomous weapons, nuclear weapons and landmines. Naturally the document presents the US’s interpretation of the law and this means that at times their views seem somewhat removed from the global consensus. The legality of DU weapons is dealt with briefly and follows a rather predictable pattern.
http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/du-users-say-du-is-fine

June 19, 2015 Posted by | depleted uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Utah Radiation Control Board insists on public input to review of depleted uranium waste plan

Utah Radiation Control Board insists depleted uranium hearings go on By BRIAN MAFFLY | | The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Apr 15  EnergySolutions wants to put the process on hold after state faulted its proposal to accept radioactive waste. Utah Radiation Control Board members Tuesday pushed back against EnergySolutions’ request to delay a public review of the company’s plans to bury depleted uranium in Tooele County.

Board members told company executives they want to move forward with a public process that will culminate this summer with a decision whether to accept the nation’s 700,000-metric-ton stockpile of radioactive waste that is low-level now, but becomes increasingly hotter over the next 2 million years.

“This literally is of national interest, and we keep punting it down the road,” said radiation board chairman Peter Jenkins. “It is time to get additional opinions on it.”

On Monday the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released a long-anticipated safety evaluation of EnergySolution’s plan to bury the waste at its Clive landfill 80 miles west of Salt Lake City……..

Depleted uranium is a byproduct of the enrichment process required to produce fissionable material for nuclear bombs and fuel. The nation’s stockpile of the waste is currently stored at three federal sites, in Kentucky, Ohio and South Carolina.

EnergySolutions proposes burying most of the waste in an 80-acre, west desert landfill cell, covering 55-gallon barrels of the stuff with concrete, clay and rocks.

Meanwhile, 5,800 drums already have been shipped to Clive from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River, S.C. site. After the state blocked further shipments, those barrels were placed in a metal warehouse in Clive.

EnergySolutions also has buried 49,000 tons of depleted uranium under previous disposal contracts………

Eight technical issues remain unresolved, including questions about frost damage, infiltration, evaporation and erosion of the cell that would hold the depleted uranium, as well as how the waste could affect the environment in “deep time” — tens of thousands of years from now. http://www.sltrib.com/home/2399963-155/utah-radiation-control-board-insists-depleted

April 15, 2015 Posted by | depleted uranium, USA, wastes | Leave a comment