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ConcernedCanuk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 11:23 AM
Original message
Depleted Uranium Radiation in Iraq Equals 250,000 Nagasaki Bombs
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Disclaimer first:

"Permission for reposting is allowed provided the complete text and attribution are kept intact."

http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Mar04/Nichols0327.htm
__________________________________________________



There Are No Words ... Depleted Uranium Radiation in Iraq Equals 250,000 Nagasaki Bombs
By Bob Nichols

SOURCE: Axis of Logic, March 27, 2004
See Original Article Source

As a writer I do not have a set of words to describe what 142 Degrees in the shade is like. I've seen 120 D. in Phoenix and 110 D in the spa's sauna I use. One hundred forty-two degrees leaves me speechless. Try to imagine 142 D temperature while wearing a helmet, long sleeve shirt, long pants, a bullet proof vest, boots, and carrying a 70 pound pack.

By contrast the Inuit of Alaska and Canada have thirty-seven words to precisely talk about different kinds of snow.

So, since the temperature is heating up in Iraq it seemed like a good time to float this story to different Internet sites and news publications. There was one story in 2003 of one 19 year old British soldier whose military job was to work in a British tank. In Iraq. In the summer. Word is, from London, that he forgot to drink enough water and he literally cooked in his tank.

But, this story is not about the temperature in Iraq. You can bet, though, the weather will be really important for those Americans unfortunate enough to still be in Iraq this summer.

This story is about American weapons built with Uranium components for the business end of things. Just about all American bullets, 120 mm tank shells, missiles, dumb bombs, smart bombs, 500 and 2,000 pound bombs, cruise missiles, and anything else engineered to help our side in the war of us against them has Uranium in it. Lots of Uranium.

In the case of a cruise missile, as much as 800 pounds of the stuff. This article is about how much radioactive uranium our guys, representing us, the citizens of the United States, let fly in Iraq. Turns out they used about 4,000,000 pounds of the stuff, give or take. That is a bunch.

Now, most people have no idea how much Four Million Pounds of anything is, much less of Uranium Dust (UD), which this stuff turns into when it is shot or exploded. Suffice it to say it is about equal to 1,333 cars that weigh three thousand pounds per car. That is a lot of cars; but, we can imagine what a parking lot with one thousand three hundred and thirty three cars is like. The point is: this was and is an industrial strength operation. It is still going on, too.

No sir-ee, putting Four Million Pounds of Radioactive Uranium Dust (RUD) on the ground in Iraq was a definitely "on-purpose" kind of thing. It was not "just an accident." We, the citizens of the United States, through our kids in the Army, did this on purpose.

When the uranium bullets, missiles, or bombs hit something or explode most of the radioactive uranium turns instantly to very, very small dust particles, too fine to even see. When US Troopers or Iraqis breathe even a tiny amount into their lungs, as little as One Gram, it is the same as getting an X-Ray every hour for the rest of their shortened life.

The uranium cannot be removed, there is no treatment, there is no cure. The uranium will long outlast the Veterans' and the Iraqis' bodies though; for, you see, it lasts virtually forever.

But, it gets worse. Seems an Admiral who is the former Chief of the Naval Staff of India wanted to know how much radiation this represented. He also wanted to express the amount in a figure that the world, especially the non American world, could easily understand.

The Admiral decided to figure out how many Nagasaki Atom Bombs it would take to deliver the equivalent of the total amount of radiation deployed in Iraq in 2003 in Four Million Pounds of uranium.

The Admiral also wanted to figure out how much radiation the United States Military Forces have deployed in the last Five American Wars, the so-called Five Nuclear Wars.

That is a simple enough task for somebody like the Naval Chief of Staff for a country that is a member of the Nuclear Club. Using the Nagasaki bomb for the measuring stick is a particularly gruesome twist, though. For those of you in the States who do not know it, the United States Military Forces dropped two nuclear Bombs on Japan at the close of World War II. The whole world remembers that.

One Atom Bomb was dropped by Americans on the city of Hiroshima, the other on the city of Nagasaki three days later. About 170,000 people were incinerated immediately. It was a really big deal.

It is a measuring stick that plays very well in the rest of the world; but, not very well on Fox News (Fair & Balanced) (c) or the rest of the Fox-like American media. The Department of Energy still lists the Hiroshima and Nagasaki detonations as "tests." The admiral released the data months ago at a scientific conference in India. This article is the first report of the data in the United States. It will first be released on the Internet.

The admiral in India calculated the number of radioactive atoms in the Nagasaki bomb and compared it with the number in the 4,000,000 pounds of uranium left in Iraq from the 2003 war. Now, believe me, it is a lot more complex than that; but, that is essentially what the experts in India did.

How many Nagasaki Nuclear Bombs equal the Radiation loosed in the 2003 Iraq war? Answer: About 250,000 Nuclear Bombs.

How many Nagasaki Nuclear Bombs equal the Radiation loosed in the last Five American Nuclear Wars? Answer: About 400,000 Nuclear Bombs.

Who would do something like this?

We would. The only people in the history of the world to engage in Nuclear Wars are Americans, citizens of the United States. Allegedly, the Germans and Japanese of WWII also wanted to engage in nuclear wars, except the American Military beat them to the draw, so to speak.

Respected academic scholars could debate forever whether or not Herr Hitler, Fuhrer of Germany, would have deployed uranium munitions in the Sudetenland if the weapons had been available. Certainly the Germans knew just as much about uranium wars as we did at the time. It seems doubtful that Adolph Hitler would have ordered the use of uranium munitions there because the Sudetenland was so close to the Fatherland, Nazi Germany.

An American General named Leslie Groves was in charge of the bomb making operation called The Manhattan Project. In 1943 The War Department knew exactly what uranium bullets and bombs were good for.

If the nuclear weapons did not detonate in Japan, the use of uranium bullets and bombs were the fall back position. It was not till Ronald Reagan was President in 1980 did the re-named Defense Department resurrect the deadly radioactive uranium bullets, bombs, and missiles. No wonder his popular nick-name was Ronnie Ray-Guns.

The American Military knew the symptoms of radiation poisoning in 1943 too; starting with the irritated sore throat through to an agonizing death from being cooked from the inside out.

President Bush promised to invade twelve countries in the 2003 State of the Union speech. I believe the man. For some reason, some misguided Americans do not believe him, or think he was "exaggerating." The rest of the world has every reason to believe him, though.

Not to worry, the President has plenty of raw material for radioactive uranium munitions left. There are more than 77,000 Tons stored at the 103 nuclear waste plants and the several Nuclear Weapons Labs in the US. Each one makes another 250 pounds of radioactive material a day for radioactive bullets, bombs, and missiles. Not to put too fine a point on it; but, that is enough for 40.5 more gloriously successful campaigns like the 2003 Nuclear War in Iraq.

Every year about this time the Southern winds leave a fine desert sand on the windshields of cars parked outside in Continental Europe and Britain. Soon this sand dust will carry a surprise. Thanks to the Americans. Thanks to us. We did this to the world. And, we wonder why they hate and despise us so.

These uranium weapons' indiscriminate killing effect gives a whole new meaning to the age old term: cannon fodder. In Iraq, what goes around, comes around. If not the uranium munitions themselves, the uranium dust will be in the bodies of our returning armed forces, time bombs slowly ticking away the lives of the gullible and the ignorant with their very own internal radiation source, the cannon fodder of the 21st Century American Nuclear Wars.

Put your ending to this article next.

A lot of people have done everything we can think of to stop these nuclear wars. Even more specifically to stop the use of uranium as a munition and shut down the nuclear power plants. We have tried and failed for years. Why don't you give it a try? Can't hurt anything! Write what steps you would take to turn this situation around. Contact me at: [email protected]

Bob Nichols writes in Oklahoma City and is the Editorial writer for DemoOkie.com. Bob Nichols is a contributing writer for LiberalSlant, Democratic Underground, OnlineJournal, AmericaHeldHostage, and other online dot com publications. Mr. Nichols is a frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer and other print publications. He lives and works in Oklahoma. He is a member of CASE -- Citizens' Action for Safe Energy, and President of the Carrie Dickerson Foundation. CASE has successfully killed two serious, well funded attempts to build Nuclear Power Plants in Oklahoma and several attempts to site what is now known as the "Yucca Mountain Reactor Dump" in Oklahoma. All these efforts to build nuclear facilities have failed. CASE won every time. Copyright 2004, Bob Nichols. All rights reserved. Permission for reposting is allowed provided the complete text and attribution are kept intact.

http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Mar04/Nichols0327.htm

Article at:

http://www.fiftycrows.org/photoessay/russell/story2.php
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DorianGreene Donating Member (18 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. Hmmm.
Any other news outlet reporting this?
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SouthernDem2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
2. There was a thread about this about a week ago...
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ClintonTyree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
3. Incredible.................
not meaning this article has no credibility, but incredible that our government would unleash this much nuclear material on one country, and OUR OWN TROOPS! How many are going to come back with "mysterious" illnesses that the Army will study for decades, then ultimately decide that there is no concrete evidence to support guilt of the U.S.

The entire middle-east will soon be, if it isn't already, a nuclear wasteland. And our government KNOWINGLY did this. Being proud of America keeps getting tougher everyday.
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
4. Depleted uranium kills via heavy-metal poisoning
Yes, it is poisonous when inhaled or ingested, but that's because it behaves like lead or mercury in your body. The radiation is secondary; you will die of heavy-metal poisoning long before your body accumulates enough depleted uranium to kill you with radiation.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Depleted, Enriched, and Natural Uranium
I think this article isn't distinguishing among those -- DU is in the title, but it seems they're comparing something else within the text. I'm no expert but I think you're right -- the levels of radiation this article is discussing don't seem to pertain to DU.
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VelvetMonkeyWrench Donating Member (122 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
6. not to be a wet blanket or anything but...
...this article needs a reality check.

Yes, the US uses a lot of DU, I have no beef with that point.

However, DU isn't used in anything other than armor piercing ammos. You'd find it in things like the A-10's 30mm gattling gun, tank AP sabots and such. Its used because uranium is denser than steel, not because anyone wants to spread radioactive crap all over the countryside. Which brings me to my next point...

DU isn't terribly hot stuff radioactively -- that's why is called DEPLETED. For comparason - the Amerecium in an ordinary ionization type home smoke detector is a LOT hotter radioactively. DU is less "hot" than the large piles of uranium mineing tailing that I've seen scattered all over the southwest US in my travels. Its only a smidge hotter than ordinary lead in terms of radioactivity.

Also - a "gram" of ANY metal in your lungs is a lot of metal, no matter what it is. I'd wager if someone snorted up a gram of the powdered aluminum like used in metallic car paints they'd be in desperate shape pretty quick.
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MARALE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Do you have a link?
I have read the opposite and am interested in reading what you did and seeing the source for that information.
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VelvetMonkeyWrench Donating Member (122 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. some info
This is a highly simplified view from the Guardian. Given the Guardians political positions, if anyone was going to start hyperventilating over this, they would.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theissues/article/0,6512,943632,00.html

This is a site with many links

http://www.enviroliteracy.org/article.php/595.html

Some basic Amerecium info:

http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/americium.htm

This is a tough thing to research because there's a lot of kneejerk anti-nuker's out there hawking stuff that seems kinda marginal technically. Without a degree in engineering or the hard sciences it could be hard for a layman to sort the wheat from the chaff.

I'm not a nuclear scientist, but I do have a few years of college chem and engineering/sciences background. I can sort out the crudest of the propaganda fairly easily.
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MARALE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. I have a degree in Electrical Engineering
and know about kneejerk reactions, especially with nukes. There are a lot with Du, the most being that there is not enough information on the exposure of DU on the enviroment. There are many piles of DU in Iraq that have not been properly diposed of and there are some that do catch on fire. Also the affect on the water supply also concerns me. Until more studies are done, I do believe that we need to be better are taking care with it. Also, DU is mostly used in the tips of amunition and missles to penetrate better, I haven't heard anything about using it in armor. One question for you, Why the link on Amerecium? What does it have to do with DU?
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VelvetMonkeyWrench Donating Member (122 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Amerecium
I used it as a comparative thing.

Virtually all homes in the US come equipped with Amerecium in their smoke detectors.

Some sort of baseline needs to be established here, and its not happening from what I can see.

Questions need to be asked and honestly answered like: is this DU thing a worse problem than say Radon gas which the US public is in a frenzy over right now. Radon test kits are flying off the shelves at Home Despots and Blows.

If it is a problem, can it be "remediated" in populated areas by some fairly inexpensive techniques like lead paint (cover it with latex paint).

The stuff is heavy and should settle to the ground, so it shouldn't go wafting about the way lighter things would. Would a simple ground scrape of a a couple inches of soil be good enough in some area where a tank was hit?

I'm sure there got to be some reasonable ways to deal with it, its just that the rhetoric is of such volume these days that reasonableness is falling by the wayside.

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MARALE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. I am not worried about the radioactivity
I knew what Amerecium was, just wasn't sure why you referenced it. Yes, I agree, there are a lot of people who hear "radoiactive" and wig out.

What I am concerned about is when the DU burns, a toxic pollution is given off. What happens when people are exposed for a long time to this pollution, how long does it last and such. I am more worried about the enviroment, the water and the ground that the Du goes into. It can make the water poisonous and change the chemical balance if enough is introduced.

Until we find out the answers to these questions, we need to be careful in saying that DU is fairly safe.

I think there is a reasonable why of dealing with this, it just is not being done. If I were the Iraqi people I would be upset that it is just left around. I have seen pictures of kids playing around tanks that was just filled with DU.
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ohio_liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #14
24. There's no good information
Edited on Wed Mar-16-05 12:07 AM by ohio_liberal
Because all of the areas where we've used it have no good way to keep and maintain records of possible victims. The medical infrastructure is decimated. It's in the UN report on DU use in Kosovo. I'll find the link...

On edit: Sorry, it was the World Health Organization, specifically. Part of their report:

Health information and statistics available in Kosovo
A review of the health and population statistics for Kosovo before the conflict and the fragmented data collected after the conflict suggests that a thorough investigation of cancer trends in Kosovo will not be a simple task. Given the time-scale and scope of the mission, it was not possible to analyse the existing data for trends. The health information system in Kosovo at the present time is not functioning in any meaningful way. A few medical departments and institutes are collecting limited amounts of data on a few types of illnesses. Others are collecting no statistical data. Different data collection arrangements are being used and the data is either not being shared or is not comparable.

Elsewhere in Kosovo, various individual medical departments are making efforts to collect data, but they are not using a common basis and the lack of reliable population data makes the statistical interpretation of trends impossible. The current evidence from the scientific literature is that no increasing trend in cancer or congenital anomalies from exposure to depleted uranium in the general population is likely. However, as a measure to confirm this point, it would be beneficial to continue to enhance and improve the collection and monitoring of all forms of ill-health throughout Kosovo.

http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/pub_meet/en/Report_WHO_depleted_uranium_Eng.pdf
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Snivi Yllom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
8. factually incorrect
"This story is about American weapons built with Uranium components for the business end of things. Just about all American bullets, 120 mm tank shells, missiles, dumb bombs, smart bombs, 500 and 2,000 pound bombs, cruise missiles, and anything else engineered to help our side in the war of us against them has Uranium in it. Lots of Uranium."

Incorrect. The extent of US ammunition that uses DU is this:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/du.htm

The M-16/M-4 does not fire DU rounds. Most tank shells are HE or HEAT rounds including some Du penetrators. I am not aware of any bombs, missles or cruise missiles that carry DU.
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evil_orange_cat Donating Member (910 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #8
59. uhoh, don't let facts get in the way of this anti-DepUran lovefest
Edited on Wed Mar-16-05 06:06 PM by evil_orange_cat
I acknowledge that DepletedUranium is not exactly a safe substance... but we're talking about war here. Isn't war about killing people?

The article in the original post is extremely loose with the facts. And what are his sources? Who came up with this 250,000 Nagasaki bomb number?

Articles like this that are nothing more than tinfoil hat material do nothing to support the idea that DU is dangerous. Of course DU is dangerous. Of course it leads to heavy metal poisoning. But making absurd claims isn't going to help anyone's cause here.
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #59
66. Absurd claims damage our credibility. NT
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Mr_Spock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
9. Oh, quit being an alarmist...
They don't give two shit about our soldiers or the people they "freed" - so what the hell difference does it make - assuming it's true.
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ConcernedCanuk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
10. Answers/links for some of your queries . .
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___________________________________________

Remains of toxic bullets
litter Iraq

The Monitor finds high levels of radiation left by US armor-piercing shells.
By Scott Peterson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the May 15, 2003 edition

/snip/

In the first partial Pentagon disclosure of the amount of DU used in Iraq, a US Central Command spokesman told the Monitor that A-10 Warthog aircraft - the same planes that shot at the Iraqi planning ministry - fired 300,000 bullets. The normal combat mix for these 30-mm rounds is five DU bullets to 1 - a mix that would have left about 75 tons of DU in Iraq.

/snip/

Western journalists who spent a night nearby on April 10, the day after Baghdad fell, were warned by US soldiers not to cross the road to this site, because bodies and unexploded ordnance remained, along with DU contamination. It was here that the Monitor found the "hot" DU tank round.

This burned dart pushed the radiation meter to the far edge of the "red zone" limit.

A similar DU tank round recovered in Saudi Arabia in 1991, that was found by a US Army radiological team to be emitting 260 to 270 millirads of radiation per hour. Their safety memo noted that the "current limit for non-radiation workers is 100 millirads per year."

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0515/p01s02-woiq.html

now THAT tank has been sitting for well over a decade . . .

and emitting iver twice the YEARLY safety limit EVERY HOUR

hmmmmmm -

not good methinks


Other links:


__________________________________________

Current Issues - Depleted Uranium Weapons

__________________________________________



__________________________________________



__________________________________________

The above are only a FEW sites of hundreds that are covering the "DU Thing"

Google around -

you'll find that the DU concern is not limited to a few "alarmists"

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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 03:20 PM
Response to Original message
12. Bad science at it finest....
Here's the 50 cent answer.

The amount of radiation loosed (sic) is not the same as the number of "radioactive atoms". Atoms must decay for energy in the form of radiation to be released. If there is no decay, there is no radiation. Stable materials have very little decay, and therefore release very little radiation. DU is a very stable material, so is not inherently radioactive.

That said, as another poster has pointed out, DU is a heavy metal, which has significant toxic qualities. In sensationalizing the radioactivity (oooooh, scary) while ignoring the toxicity, the author loses all credibility.

Cheers :)

Sid

PS - Physics was a long time ago, I'm sure there are other DU'ers out there who can provide a more complete answer, should you need one.
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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Jeez these guy are sensationalizing the radiocativity too
Shame on them I guess.

'Im horrified. The people out there the Iraqis, the media and the troops risk the most appalling ill health. And the radiation from depleted uranium can travel literally anywhere. Its going to destroy the lives of thousands of children, all over the world. We all know how far radiation can travel. Radiation from Chernobyl reached Wales and in Britain you sometimes get red dust from the Sahara on your car.

The speaker is not some alarmist doom-sayer. He is Dr Chris Busby, the British radiation expert, Fellow of the University of Liverpool in the Faculty of Medicine and UK representative on the European Committee on Radiation Risk, talking about the best kept secret of this war: the fact that, by illegally using hundreds of tons of depleted uranium (DU) against Iraq, Britain and America have gravely endangered not only the Iraqis but the whole world. For these weapons have released deadly, carcinogenic and mutagenic, radioactive particles in such abundance that whipped up by sandstorms and carried on trade winds there is no corner of the globe they cannot penetrate including Britain. For the wind has no boundaries and time is on their side: the radioactivity persists for over 4,500,000,000 years and can cause cancer, leukaemia, brain damage, kidney failure, and extreme birth defects killing millions of every age for centuries to come. A crime against humanity which may, in the eyes of historians, rank with the worst atrocities of all time.

These weapons have released deadly, carcinogenic and mutagenic, radioactive particles in such abundance that there is no corner of the globe they cannot penetrate including Britain.

<snip>

In addition, recent research by Eric Wright, Professor of Experimental Haematology at Dundee University, and others, have shown two ways in which such radiation can do far more damage than has been thought. The first is that a cell which seems unharmed by radiation can produce cells with diverse mutations several cell generations later. (And mutations are at the root of cancer and birth defects.) This radiation induced genomic instability is compounded by the bystander effect by which cells mutate in unison with others which have been damaged by radiation rather as birds swoop and turn in unison. Put together, these two mechanisms can greatly increase the damage done by a single source of radiation, such as a DU particle. Moreover, it is now clear that there are marked genetic differences in the way individuals respond to radiation with some being far more likely to develop cancer than others. So the fact that some veterans of the first Gulf war seem relatively unharmed by their exposure to DU in no way proves that DU did not damage others.



http://www.energybulletin.net/4541.html

Fiction: Alpha particles can't penetrate clothes and skin.

Fact: This statement ignores the most prevalent and dangerous pathway for uranium to get into the human body. Inhaled uranium can remain in the lungs and bones for years where it continues to emit alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Each alpha particle can traverse up to several hundred cells causing somatic and genetic alterations. Multiply this by billions of such particles and a huge amount of cellular damage becomes possible. The majority (50-70%) of the airborne DU particles sampled during the testing of 105 mm DU projectiles were in the respirable range and capable of reaching the non-ciliated bronchial tree. Studies also indicate that the half-time in the lungs is up to 5 years.

Soluble DU compounds have rapid access to the bloodstream with consequent toxic effects on the target organs and the bone where it is incorporated. Mass spectrometry results of deceased Canadian veteran, Captain Terry Riordon, confirmed that depleted uranium was present in his bone. From there it can compromise the immune system and affect the stem cells that travel throughout the body thereby affecting many other organs. Soldiers inside a tank or armoured vehicle can inhale tens of milligrams of DU after the shell goes through the tank. Compare this to the maximum allowable yearly dose in the U.S. for inhaled uranium is 1.2 milligrams per year.

Uranium Medical Research Centre's Facts and Fictions Dr. Asaf Durakovic, formerly head of Nuclear Medicine at the US Veterans Affairs' medical facility in Delaware, works closely with the UMRC and is repsonsible for much of the information published on the web site.
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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. "the radioactivity persists for over 4,500,000,000 years"
That tells me all I need to know about that particular speaker. Credentials aside, he's peddling crap.

Something with a 4.5 billion year half-life is *good* and *safe*. You watch out for the ones with the half-lives in hundreds of years or less - those are the evil bastards.
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #13
22. Fiction: Alpha particles can't penetrate clothes and skin....
More bullshit.

And comparing the radiation from DU to Chernobyl is just as dishonest. Chernobyl was mostly cs137 and sr90, both of which have half-lives around 30 years. Short enough to be strongly radioactive, and long enough to be lasting.

Science is science. You can't argue with the laws of physics.

Sid

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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Is this the part that you are saying is bullshit?
Inhaled uranium can remain in the lungs and bones for years where it continues to emit alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Each alpha particle can traverse up to several hundred cells causing somatic and genetic alterations. Multiply this by billions of such particles and a huge amount of cellular damage becomes possible. The majority (50-70%) of the airborne DU particles sampled during the testing of 105 mm DU projectiles were in the respirable range and capable of reaching the non-ciliated bronchial tree. Studies also indicate that the half-time in the lungs is up to 5 years.

www.umrc.net/facts_and_fictions.aspx

Mow my layman's understanding is that normally alpha particles are not that dangerous because they can't penetrate clothing and outer skin. Since most of the radiation from DU is in the form of alpha particles (with some beta and gamma as well)it has been written off as not that dangerous. However what the UMRC (Uranium Medical Research Centre) seems to be saying is that the aerosolized dust from the exploding or spent DU weaponry can be breathed into the lungs where the tissues are softer and the radiaton effects consequently more dangerous and from the lungs the DU particles can also get carried into the bloodstream and deposted in the bones. The case of Canadian Armed Forces Captain and GW 1 veteran Terry Riordon appears to have followed this pattern. As UMRC says:

Soluble DU compounds have rapid access to the bloodstream with consequent toxic effects on the target organs and the bone where it is incorporated. Mass spectrometry results of deceased Canadian veteran, Captain Terry Riordon, confirmed that depleted uranium was present in his bone. From there it can compromise the immune system and affect the stem cells that travel throughout the body thereby affecting many other organs.

One of the principle researchers at the UMRC is a former head of nuclear medicine at the US Veterans Affairs medical facility in Delaware, Dr Asaf Durakovic. Dr. Durakovic also served for a time as Professor of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at Georgetown University. I think it's pretty safe to assume that if the UMRC takes a position on the hazards of inhaled DU, then Dr. Durakovic would have had a hand in formulating that position. Also it was Dr. Durakovic who was directly in charge of treating Captain Riordon and who was able to prove after his death that his bones were contaminated with excessive quantities of depleted uranium.

More on Terry Riordon here:
http://www.umrc.net/riordon.aspx

Now Dr. Durakovic, given his background and training, seems to be someone who would be eminently qualified to speak on these types of issues, but I just don't know what your qualifications are to comment on these matters SidDithers. Perhaps you could clarify for us your scientific/medical credentials to assist us confused laymen who have to evaluate these contrary positions and decide which source is most likely to be closer to the truth and which source is more likely to be closer to bullshit. It could also be helpful if you could as well as explaining your academic/medical/work qualifications also state for the record whether or not you work for the military or any arm of the US governement, US "defense" contractors, or the nuclear industry.

Here's another little tidbit of information regarding Dr. Durakovic and his work investigating the hazards of uranium.

Yet, far from banning DU, America and Britain stepped up their denials of the harm from this radioactive dust as more and more troops from the first Gulf war and from action and peacekeeping in the Balkan and Afghanistan have become seriously ill. This is no coincidence. In 1997, while citing experiments, by others, in which 84 percent of dogs exposed to inhaled uranium died of cancer of the lungs, Dr Asaf Durakovic, then Professor of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at Georgetown University in Washington was quoted as saying, The (US governments) Veteran Administration asked me to lie about the risks of incorporating depleted uranium in the human body. He concluded, uranium does cause cancer, uranium does cause mutation, and uranium does kill. If we continue with the irresponsible contamination of the biosphere, and denial of the fact that human life is endangered by the deadly isotope uranium, then we are doing disservice to ourselves, disservice to the truth, disservice to God and to all generations who follow. Not what the authorities wanted to hear and his research was suddenly blocked.

http://www.energybulletin.net/4121.html
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 07:11 AM
Response to Reply #23
33. No, the part I'm saying is bullshit is...
Fiction: Alpha particles can't penetrate clothes and skin

The fact of the matter is that alpha particles can't penetrate clothes or skin (technically dead skin cells on the skins surface). Alpha particles in the lungs are a completely different situation. If you want to address respiration dangers of DU, why start off with an obvious falsehood? You only hurt your cause, and sound alarmist and extremist, when you include bad science in your argument.

Which was kinda my point about the article in the original post.

But keep googling, you might really come up with something next time ...

Sid

Oh, and whatever I may or may not do for a living, or what my education and research credentials might be, has nothing to do with the fact that science is science, and the laws of physics don't change to suit anyone's purpose.
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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. Truthout had a pretty good article on DU issues recently
http://www.truthout.org/issues_05/E022405B.shtml

and click on the pdf for more info....
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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
17. Good lord the science in this is *bad*
Edited on Tue Mar-15-05 05:39 PM by Zynx
This is rotten chicken-little crap on a number of levels. It's not legitimate science.

DU is toxic because its a heavy metal. It's far, far, far too stable to pose a radioactive threat to anyone.

And the mention of DU in things other than 120mm "Silver Bullet" shells and 30mm A-10 shells tells me that this article is complete fabricated crap. We don't *use* DU in bombs or cruise missiles. And certainly not in rifle bullets - the weights would be extremely wrong and this would be expensive with no point.

Simply a bad article written by at best an idiot and at worst someone deliberately trying to decieve.
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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. Do you discount this out of hand then?
Edited on Tue Mar-15-05 06:17 PM by JohnyCanuck
Fiction: Alpha particles can't penetrate clothes and skin.

Fact: This statement ignores the most prevalent and dangerous pathway for uranium to get into the human body. Inhaled uranium can remain in the lungs and bones for years where it continues to emit alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Each alpha particle can traverse up to several hundred cells causing somatic and genetic alterations. Multiply this by billions of such particles and a huge amount of cellular damage becomes possible. The majority (50-70%) of the airborne DU particles sampled during the testing of 105 mm DU projectiles were in the respirable range and capable of reaching the non-ciliated bronchial tree. Studies also indicate that the half-time in the lungs is up to 5 years.

Soluble DU compounds have rapid access to the bloodstream with consequent toxic effects on the target organs and the bone where it is incorporated. Mass spectrometry results of deceased Canadian veteran, Captain Terry Riordon, confirmed that depleted uranium was present in his bone. From there it can compromise the immune system and affect the stem cells that travel throughout the body thereby affecting many other organs. Soldiers inside a tank or armoured vehicle can inhale tens of milligrams of DU after the shell goes through the tank. Compare this to the maximum allowable yearly dose in the U.S. for inhaled uranium is 1.2 milligrams per year.

http://www.umrc.net/facts_and_fictions.aspx

As I mentioned in the post above the Uranium Medical Research Centre works in close cooperation with a former Head of Nuclear Medicine at a US Veterans Affairs' medical facility, Dr. Asaf Durakovic. He has also served as head of nuclear medicine at Georgetown University in Washington DC. It's not likely they would put up anything on the web site that Dr. Durakovic would not agree with.

And then there is also this as well.

Despite all that evidence of the harm done by DU, governments on both sides of the Atlantic have repeatedly claimed that as it emits only low level radiation DU is harmless. Award winning scientist, Dr Rosalie Bertell who has led UN medical commissions, has studied low level radiation for 30 years.(2 )She has found that uranium oxide particles have more than enough power to harm cells, and describes their pulses of radiation as hitting surrounding cells like flashes of lightning again and again in a single second.(2) Like many scientists worldwide who have studied this type of radiation, she has found that such lightning strikes can damage DNA and cause cell mutations which lead to cancer. Moreover, these particles can be taken up by body fluids and travel through the body, damaging more than one organ. To compound all that Dr Bertell has found that this particular type of radiation can cause the bodys communication systems to break down, leading to malfunctions in many vital organs of the body and to many medical problems. A striking fact, since many veterans of the first Gulf war suffer from innumerable, seemingly unrelated, ailments.

In addition, recent research by Eric Wright, Professor of Experimental Haematology at Dundee University, and others, have shown two ways in which such radiation can do far more damage than has been thought. The first is that a cell which seems unharmed by radiation can produce cells with diverse mutations several cell generations later. (And mutations are at the root of cancer and birth defects.) This radiation induced genomic instability is compounded by the bystander effect by which cells mutate in unison with others which have been damaged by radiation rather as birds swoop and turn in unison. Put together, these two mechanisms can greatly increase the damage done by a single source of radiation, such as a DU particle. Moreover, it is now clear that there are marked genetic differences in the way individuals respond to radiation with some being far more likely to develop cancer than others. So the fact that some veterans of the first Gulf war seem relatively unharmed by their exposure to DU in no way proves that DU did not damage others.

<snip>

In 1996 and 1997 UN Human Rights Tribunals condemned DU weapons for illegally breaking the Geneva Convention and classed them as weapons of mass destruction incompatible with international humanitarian and human rights law. Since then, following leukaemia in European peacekeeping troops in the Balkans and Afghanistan (where DU was also used), the EU has twice called for DU weapons to be banned.

Yet, far from banning DU, America and Britain stepped up their denials of the harm from this radioactive dust as more and more troops from the first Gulf war and from action and peacekeeping in the Balkan and Afghanistan have become seriously ill. This is no coincidence. In 1997, while citing experiments, by others, in which 84 percent of dogs exposed to inhaled uranium died of cancer of the lungs, Dr Asaf Durakovic, then Professor of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at Georgetown University in Washington was quoted as saying, The Veteran Administration asked me to lie about the risks of incorporating depleted uranium in the human body. He concluded, uranium does cause cancer, uranium does cause mutation, and uranium does kill. If we continue with the irresponsible contamination of the biosphere, and denial of the fact that human life is endangered by the deadly isotope uranium, then we are doing disservice to ourselves, disservice to the truth, disservice to God and to all generations who follow. Not what the authorities wanted to hear and his research was suddenly blocked.


http://www.energybulletin.net/4121.html
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 12:08 AM
Response to Reply #21
25. Yes. When I find lies in the parts that I know about,
I suspect lies in the parts that I don't know about.

I was a physics minor. Physics doesn't care about anybodies politics, it just is. No politics can change the laws of physics. This guy as lied about some very basic things regarding DU, therefore I don't trust him about anything.
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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 01:58 AM
Response to Reply #25
32. What lies have you found Dr, Durakovic or the UMRC to be telling?

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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #32
40. Most of the article
In particular the reference to soldiers inside a tank or APC hit by a DU round inhaling DU particles - as if this could somehow be tested in a meaningful scientific way.

People aren't going to *survive* inside a vehicle hit by DU rounds - we use them for a reason. They create a significant pyrotechnic overpressure that almost always blows the tank to pieces in a secondary explosion. The personnel inside the AFV are all but in the middle of a bomb.

You will have bigger health concerns than inhaling the DU if you are inside a vehicle hit by it.

~~~~

The stuff about radiation in general is irrelevent - DU is not radioactive enough to give someone cancer even if it does get past the skin because you inhaled it. That's because it is the most stable "heavy" element in existance.

It's probably going to kill you if you did manage to inhale it, but that's because of toxic effects.

The whole article lies extensively.
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fat free goodness Donating Member (153 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-05 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #40
71. You say the article lies, but...
I think you should never attribute to dishonesty that which is adequately explained by ignorance and/or stupidity.
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 07:44 AM
Response to Reply #21
34. Depleted Uranium is NOT radioactive.
It is so stable that it takes 4.5 Billion years for half the atoms to decay. That is ultra stable. All metals heavier than lead have a half-life rate. For that matter, the earth itself is radioactive. It is that radioactivity that many think to be driving evolutions mutations. Walk for a few minutes along the street and you will be exposed to more radiation than if you carried a pound of DU around in your pocket.

Also, if you are inside a tank and a DU round (Or any armor piercing round) goes through the tank, you are dead instantly from heat flash. You are not going to worry about inhaled particles because you won't take another breath. When a round goes through armor it melts the armor and all that heat gets dumped into the internal compartment along with spalls of metal from the armor. Internal temperature and pressure jump to levels that are instantly lethal.

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ArkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-05 05:49 PM
Response to Original message
19. I've had a bad day and I needed a good laugh. Thanks!
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chlamor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 12:15 AM
Response to Original message
26. 1943 Manhattan Project Blueprint for Dep. Uranium
Described as the Trojan Horse of nuclear war, depleted uranium is the weapon that keeps killing. The half-life of Uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years, the age of the earth. And, as Uranium-238 decays into daughter radioactive products, in four steps before turning into lead, it continues to release more radiation at each step. There is no way to turn it off, and there is no way to clean it up. It meets the US Governments own definition of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

After forming microscopic and submicroscopic insoluble Uranium oxide particles on the battlefield, they remain suspended in air and travel around the earth as a radioactive component of atmospheric dust, contaminating the environment, indiscriminately killing, maiming and causing disease in all living things where rain, snow and moisture remove it from the atmosphere. Global radioactive contamination from atmospheric testing was the equivalent of 40,000 Hiroshima bombs, and still contaminates the atmosphere and lower orbital space today. The amount of low level radioactive pollution from depleted uranium released since 1991, is many times more (deposited internally in the body), than was released from atmospheric testing fallout.

<snip>

1943 MANHATTAN PROJECT BLUEPRINT FOR DEPLETED URANIUM

In a declassified memo to General Leslie R. Groves, dated October 30, 1943, three of the top physicists in the Manhattan Project, Dr James B Conant, A H Compton, and H C Urey, made their recommendation, as members of the Subcommittee of the S-1 Executive Committee, on the Use of Radioactive Materials as a Military Weapon:

"As a gas warfare instrument the material would be ground into particles of microscopic size to form dust and smoke and distributed by a ground-fired projectile, land vehicles, or aerial bombs. In this form it would be inhaled by personnel. The amount necessary to cause death to a person inhaling the material is extremely small There are no known methods of treatment for such a casualty it will permeate a standard gas mask filter in quantities large enough to be extremely damaging."


http://www.mindfully.org/Nucs/2004/DU-Trojan-Horse1jul04.htm
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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #26
42. "The half-life of Uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years, the age of the earth."
If you knew anything about physics and radioactive decay relative to how much radiation is thrown off, you could really just stop there.

The super long half-life is why this is *not* a radiological threat.
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chlamor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 12:19 AM
Response to Original message
27. Here is a list of DU weapons

Click on Image

Warhead weights include explosives (~20%) and casing. Dense metal ballast or liners (suspected to be DU) estimated to be 50-75% of warhead weight - necessary to double the density of previous versions. AUP = Advanced penetrators. S/CH = Shaped Charge. BR = BROACH Multiple Warhead System (S/CH+AUP). P = older 'heavy metal' penetrators. Dai Williams 2002

source: Depleted Uranium weapons in 2001-2002: Occupational, public and environmental health issues - Mystery Metal Nightmare in Afghanistan? Collected studies and public domain sources compiled by Dai Williams, first edition 31 January 2002
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chlamor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. Birth Defects in Kosovo-Afghan-Iraq have all skyrocketed-Dep. Uranium
So the conversation goes dadadadada bad science but the children go;


Here's More:
"Extensive carpet bombing, grid bombing, and the frequent use of missiles and depleted uranium bullets on buildings in densely populated areas has occurred in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan. The discovery that bomb craters in Yugoslavia in 1999 were radioactive, and that an unexploded missile in 1999 contained a depleted uranium warhead, implies that the total amount of depleted uranium used since 1991 has been greatly underestimated. Of even greater concern, is that 100 per cent of the depleted uranium in bombs and missiles is aerosolized upon impact and immediately released into the atmosphere. This amount can be as much as 1.5 tons in the large bombs. In bullets and cannon shells, the amount aerosolized is 40-70 per cent, leaving pieces and unexploded shells in the environment, to provide new sources of radioactive dust and contamination of the groundwater from dissolved depleted uranium metal long after the battles are over, as reported in a 2003 report by the UN Environmental Program on Yugoslavia. Considering that the US has admitted using 34 tons of depleted uranium from bullets and cannon shells in Yugoslavia, and the fact that 35,000 NATO bombing missions occurred there in 1999, potentially the amount of depleted uranium contaminating Yugoslavia and transboundary drift into surrounding countries is staggering."

http://www.mindfully.org/Nucs/2004/DU-Trojan-Horse1jul04.htm
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chlamor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 12:34 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. Poison DUst


During the current Iraq War the U.S. use of radioactive DU weapons increased from 375 tons used in 1991 to 2200 tons. Geiger counter readings at sites in downtown Baghdad record radiation levels 1,000 and 2,000 times higher than background radiation. The Pentagon has bombed, occupied, tortured and contaminated Iraq. Millions of Iraqis are affected. Over one million U.S. soldiers have rotated into Iraq. Today, half of the 697,000 U.S. Gulf War troops from the 1991 war have reported serious medical problems and a significant increase in birth defects among their newborn children.
The effects on the Iraqi population are far greater. Many other countries and U.S. communities near DU weapons plants, testing facilities, bases and arsenals have also been exposed to this radioactive material which has a half-life of 4.4 billions years.

To order a copy of Poison DUst, call 212-633-6646 http://www.leftbooks.com/ >


http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m10427



Film Poison DUst features vets exposed to DU
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ohio_liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 12:35 AM
Response to Reply #28
30. More on Kosovo Study
In Kosovo, only one type of ammunition containing depleted uranium was used: PGU-14 API 30 mm rounds fired from Gatling guns mounted on A-10 Warthog Tankbuster aircraft. The rounds are composed of a propellant charge and a solid depleted uranium tip (known as the 'penetrator)weighing 300 g, which is coated on the outside with
aluminium, 0.8mm thick (Lockheed Martin 1995). The penetrator does not contain an explosive charge. Instead the penetrator relies on the pyrophoric properties of uranium. The impact of the penetrator at high velocity on a target results in its fragmentation and between 10 and 35% becomes aerosolized (Harley et al. 1999). Sufficient heat is
generated to ignite the aerosolized uranium metal. The penetrator fragments then burn vigorously at a high temperature and, in effect, melt their way through steel plating into the interior of an armoured vehicle. Once inside the confined space of a tank, the heat from the burning penetrator fragments ignites flammable vapours and munitions within the vehicle. The ignition of flammable components within a tank is reinforced by the use of high explosive rounds in conjunction with depleted uranium ones. Information provided by KFOR has stated that depleted uranium rounds are mixed with high explosive rounds in ratios of around 4:1. An environmental study conducted at the Nellis Air Force Range in the United States of America (US) on the use of depleted uranium from A-10 aircraft mentions that the uranium is alloyed with 0.75% titanium. It is understood that titanium is used to make the uranium metal less brittle and more corrosion resistant (Ebinger 1990, US Army Corps of Engineers 1997).


KFOR has informed the mission that 112 attacks were made in the period from 6 April to 11 June 1999. The number of rounds (both depleted uranium and high explosive) per location varied from 50 to 1300. The total number of rounds fired in the Kosovo conflict was about 31 000. This amount is substantially lower than the estimated 783 500 depleted uranium rounds alone fired by A-10 aircraft in the 1990-1991 Gulf War (US Department of Defense 2000). Some locations were attacked several times and as a consequence there are 84 geographically different sites in Kosovo where depleted uranium rounds were used.

http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/pub_meet/en/Report_WHO_depleted_uranium_Eng.pdf
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 01:43 AM
Response to Reply #27
31. You can rant all you want to, but you can't change physics.
Physics simply is not subject to anybodies politics. Depleted uranium is not radioactive. It is a heavy metal, therefore is toxic, but it just is not radioactive.
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ohio_liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #31
35. Again from the WHO
Edited on Wed Mar-16-05 08:26 AM by ohio_liberal
* The uranium remaining after removal of the enriched fraction contains about 99.8% 238U, 0.2% 235U and 0.001% 234U by mass; this is referred to as depleted uranium or DU.
* The main difference between DU and natural uranium is that the former contains at least three times less 235U than the latter.
* DU, consequently, is weakly radioactive and a radiation dose from it would be about 60% of that from purified natural uranium with the same mass.
* The behaviour of DU in the body is identical to that of natural uranium.
* Spent uranium fuel from nuclear reactors is sometimes reprocessed in plants for natural uranium enrichment. Some reactor-created radioisotopes can consequently contaminate the reprocessing equipment and the DU. Under these conditions another uranium isotope, 236U, may be present in the DU together with very small amounts of the transuranic elements plutonium, americium and neptunium and the fission product technetium-99. However, the additional radiation dose following intake of DU into the human body from these isotopes would be less than 1%.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs257/en/
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #35
36. Very misleadingly stated.
"* The uranium remaining after removal of the enriched fraction contains about 99.8% 238U, 0.2% 235U and 0.001% 234U by mass; this is referred to as depleted uranium or DU.
* The main difference between DU and natural uranium is that the former contains at least three times less 235U than the latter."

True

" DU, consequently, is weakly radioactive and a radiation dose from it would be about 60% of that from purified natural uranium with the same mass."

True, but somewhat misleading. Remember this: "Uranium is a naturally occurring weakly radioactive mineral that is used to fuel nuclear reactors and is the primary component of Nuclear Weapons."
From: http://www.physlink.com/Education/AskExperts/ae576.cfm

"* The behavior of DU in the body is identical to that of natural uranium."
Misleading to a person who does not know chemistry. Both U238 (DU) and U235 are different isotopes of the same chemical - uranium. They will react the same in CHEMICAL reactions. But that does NOT involve radioactivity. It is straight chemical reactions.

From your last paragraph: "However, the additional radiation dose following intake of DU into the human body from these isotopes would be less than 1%."
And the radiation from DU is vanishingly close to zero. A 1% increase from almost zero is still almost zero.

U235 is the hot stuff. DU is uranium with the hot stuff removed. In its natural uranium has only tiny amounts of U235. That is why the process is so expensive to get at the tiny amounts of U235.






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Boo Boo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #31
39. Really?
Edited on Wed Mar-16-05 11:54 AM by Boo Boo
Ain't what I heard. I read somewhere (now I'm gonna have to go searchin', I suppose) that DU gives off low-levels of radiation---can't remember if it was Beta? Would that be right?

The rub was that these particles only traveled very short distances, like you would have to hold it against yourself to be exposed, but with the Uranium particles embedded in your lungs you would be exposed for a long period of time.

Also read a report by a guy that went around the junk yards where destroyed Iraqi military equipment was put, and he was measuring elevated radiation levels on destroyed tanks, and other equipment that had been hit with armor piercing ordinance.

American tanks that had been destroyed by friendly fire during the first Gulf War were brought back to the United States, and buried in a pit. Seems like a lot trouble to go to for something that isn't radioactive, eh?

I also knew a guy that worked as a "Nucleonics" officer on a Navy ship. There was no doubt in his mind that DU ordinance was radioactive.
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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. It does give off low levels of radiation - *VERY* low levels of radiation
It's not a significant health threat. It actually takes a very significant amount of radiation to be a major threat and DU isn't going to come close.

My biggest concern of walking around a tank junkyard would be the toxic nature of the place, not the radiation. It would be there, and it would be above standard background radiation, but it won't be anything like a serious fallout or spill situation.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #41
43. Internal, low level Alpha radiation is VERY toxic....
Edited on Wed Mar-16-05 12:22 PM by Junkdrawer
http://www.nirs.org/les/lesdureportredactedfeb2005.pdf

Table 2: Radiological properties of U-234, U-238 and Selected Transuranic Radionuclides
Isotope Main decay mode;Alpha particle energy, MeV; Half-life, years; Comments
Uranium-238 Alpha 4.1 4.46 billion
Uranium-235 Alpha 4.4 700 million weak gamma emitter
Uranium-234 Alpha 4.8 245,000
Neptunium-237 Alpha 4.8 2.14 million
Plutonium-238 Alpha 5.5 87.7
Plutonium-239 Alpha 5.1 24,110
Plutonium-240 Alpha 5.1 6,537
Americium-241 Alpha 5.5 432 strong gamma emitter

Note: All energies rounded to two significant figures. The alpha emitting radionuclides emit alpha particles with more
than one characteristic energy, with each energy level being produced with a known probability. The alpha particle
energy shown is an approximate average of these particles energies, weighted by the emission probability.


It was definitively determined a LONG time ago that internal Alpha particle radiation is carcinogenic. What is much less clear is the minimal dose. For plutonium, I don't believe that a minimal safe internal dose has been determined.
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. I don't think I will be around 4.5 billion years from now.
Or even a signifigant fraction of that.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #44
45. How many atoms per gram of DU are there?
Edited on Wed Mar-16-05 01:22 PM by Junkdrawer
How many decays/hr/gram?

Last I heard, Avogadro's number (6.02 X 10^23 ) was larger than 4.5 x 10^9

:shrug:
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #45
47. And the answer is: 12,200 disintegrations per second per gram...
so you wouldn't have to wait that long.

(U238's radioactivity is 330 x 10^-9 Ci and 1 Ci = 3.7 x 10^10 disintegrations per second)
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #47
53. The key is to determine the equivalent dose...
As has been pointed out:

There is no such thing as a dangerous substance or a poison,
only a dangerous dose.

12000 decays/sec/g sounds like alot, however, if you've got a gram of uranium in your lungs, you've got bigger problems than radiation.

You need to determine the equivalent dose in Sieverts, and compare that dose to the equivalent dose from other sources, such as naturally occuring radiation, cosmic radiation, and radiation from other man-made sources. This would be a rational examination of the dangers.

I may take the time tonight do the research and work the numbers, I don't thave the time to do it right now.

But a rational approach to the dangers, with good science, have not been presented in the articles posted upthread.

:toast:

Sid
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #53
54. See post #52 below...
EXPERIMENTS show that things thought harmless are, in fact, dangerous. And epidemiological studies may well show that uranium dust is much more mutagenic than once thought.

You just can't "compute" the effect of ionizing radiation on complex biological systems. And a substance that harms one in a hundred or one in a thousand may be hard to identify in the lab, but can have disastrous consequences when you expose millions of people to said substance.
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #45
48. You still get more radiation daily from the sun than you would from
carrying around a pound of DU. The earth is a naturally radioactive planet. You are pushing the radioactive meme because most people don't understand it and are easily frightened.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #48
49. We're talking ALPHA radiation. If you're as informed as you present...
yourself, you know the sophistry you spew...
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #49
51. If you ingest DU dust, you have heavy metal dust in you.
The heavy metal dust will be toxic on its own and will cause you greater problems and more quickly than the alpha radiation.

If it is outside of you, no problem.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #51
52. I'd almost agree with THAT statement, except:
1.) People were sure that alpha emitters were harmless until the infamous Battelle Lab. Northwest studies of osteosarcoma and plutonium. That's when the extreme dangers of the ionizing properties of alpha particles became known.

2.) I'm seeing some preliminary epidemiologic studies that the mutagenic properties of inhaled uranium may be much worse than imagined. I find it very possible that once again experiments (and in this case a very horrible experiment) may show that what is intuitively harmless is, in fact, hideously dangerous.
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #52
55. Inhaling ANY heavy metal dust is NOT a good thing.
So yes, inhaling DU is a bad thing.

If you are worried about the effects of alpha particles on the skin from DU, then you better have everybody in the world move out of rocky areas to live. Uranium is part of dozens of natural minerals.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #55
56. No, I'm worried about the ionizing effects of inhaled/ingested alpha
emitters. I've qualified every statement I've made.
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #56
57. You would have to inhale the DU to get the alpha emmitters inside you.
And once you have inhaled more than trace amounts of a heavy metal, you WILL have health problems. But worrying about the alpha particles then is like the subject at a firing squad worring about the health effects of the last cigarette.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #57
58. How do you explain the birth defects?
Does heavy metal poisioning cause birth defects?
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 06:46 PM
Response to Reply #58
61. I don't know.
My point is limited to stopping the scare tactics of claiming that we are sprading 250,000 Hiroshima A-bombs worth of radioactivity around Iraq. That part is pure bullshit.

To comment intelligently on the birth defects I would have to have nonbiased data from before and after and other information.

Regretfully, I would not trust a site that you might give. I would be afraid that the information was as false and biased as your physics has been.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #61
62. You say "Depleted uranium is not radioactive."....
and then have the temerity to say my physics is biased when I ACCURATELY compute the number of disintegrations per gram per second.

Words fail.
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #62
63. You are trying to use them decietfully.
And you know very well what I am talking about. Because the average person is not knowledgable about physics and knows even less about radioactivity and because radioactivity is a scare word to most people, you bias your numbers toward the greatest fear to forward your agenda. That is dishonest.

The same mass of coal in your pocket would far more changes from C14 to C12. I am not going to bother to look up what energy is given off from that reaction, but it is some, and because of the far greater number of reactions it would be dumping more energy into you body. And you do have C14 in you right now.

If you live in a rocky area of the country you are also exposed to greater amounts of radioactivity from the earth itself. You also know that.

You are simply fearmongering.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #63
65. And you treat all forms of radiation the same...
Again, alpha radiation inside the body is extremely toxic. Far more toxic than health physicists would have guessed before they did the experiments.

You have, on numerous occasions, tried to sidestep this by promoting the "a piece of paper can stop an alpha particle" sophistry. If you don't know better, you should.
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 09:50 PM
Response to Reply #65
67. Once again...
If you get enough DU inside you that you have to worry about the Alpha radiation, you are already dead from heavy metal poisoning.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #67
68. How do we know what the thresholds for...
heavy metal poisoning...

alpha particle induced cancer...

and alpha particle induced birth defects...

are except by careful experiment and/or epidemiological study?

You seem to want to dismiss the questions out of hand.
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Boo Boo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #48
60. OK.
And the sun kills you, right? I'm less than impressed with those kinds of comparisons. I'm also not really concerned with "basic physics" either, because it's not really needed to have this discussion. A poster up-thread made a categorical statement that DU was not radioactive, which is obviously false.

As far as the danger goes, I didn't make any claim about levels of danger, and I don't really follow online discussions of DU much---I sort of stumble into one every once in a while. I know hysteria and ignorance when I see it. Having said that, how would you compare the levels of radiation in DU with that of Radon Gas? Which is worse: breathing DU contaminated dust, or Radon contaminated dust?

In any case, I agree that the heavy metal aspects are probably more important. We're basically conducting a large scale, uncontrolled experiment over there. One where the organization in charge of the experiment is motivated to ignore results, or cover them up.

Seems just as likely to me, though, that in the end we'll find that it's exposure to toxic chemicals, or the wild cocktail of immunizations, or some combination thereof that is causing so many to get sick. The DU fanatics act as though DU is the only contaminant on the battle field.

As an aside, you know we've come a long way when nuclear physics is considered "basic." I always thought basic physics had something to do with inclined planes, apples falling out trees and whatnot, you know? :-)
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #60
64. The sun's radiation can kill you. Skin cancer.
If skin cancer is not caught it time it can spread to the rest of the body and kill you.

Yes, physics has come a long way. An understanding of the insides of atoms is now considered basic. That doesn't mean a first year student will be able to design a bomb, it just means that you introduce them to the concepts and how they relate to each other.
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #39
46. Basic physics time. Sheesh!!
Science types, I know I am oversimplifying, but I am writing for non science types.

All elements have various isotopes which is the same element with some extra neutrons in the nucleus. Sometimes that extra neutron will be split off from the atom and there will be a release of energy. Also, for some atoms, they will spontaneously change into a different, lighter atom of a different element, with a release of energy.

Each of those events can be compared to a very, very, very tiny atomic bomb. We can not know when any on atom will burst, but we do know the probability. In a chunk of material some of the atoms will go soon, other later. The equation for how many and when is called a half-life. It means that in a particular time frame, one half of the atoms will go.

So a short half life means lots of tiny bombs and is highly radioactive. A long half life mean very few tiny bombs and is barely radioactive.

BTW - You have radioactive C14 in you right now, and it is decaying. You get it from the upper atmosphere where the sun's radiation converts some C12 into C14. If you live in a rocky area, your basement may have radon gas in it from the earth's natural radioactivity. The earth is a radioactive planet. And everyday you are getting zapped by solar radiation, even if you are indoors. Be thankful for it, as all that radiation is the driving force for evolution. Otherwise we would still be one celled life.

So, elemental uranium is mostly 99+% U238 (Ultra stable - 4.5 billion year half life. Very very very few of the tiny bombs going off) and U235 (Which is also extremely stable)and some other isotopes, but those are the main ones. U235 is fissile, which means that if a neutron hits it, it will split into two or more different atoms of something else, with a release of energy.

Uranium is mined to get the U235. U238 is mostly useless and is a waste byproduct. But U238 is very hard and very heavy, so it makes a great bullet to go through armor. That is why it is used. The radioactivity of it is so little that it takes the age of the earth to lose half its atoms. Compare that to really hot stuff that has half lives in hours.

So you could carry DU around in your pocket for year with no effect on your vitals.

Many antiwar activists are pushing a lot of lies about DU to try and turn public support against the war. But the problem is that they are lies, and when someone discovers that you have lied, they don't trust you again. So those activists are, in the long run, hurting the cause, not helping it.
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Boo Boo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 11:30 AM
Response to Original message
37. Aaach!
Edited on Wed Mar-16-05 11:35 AM by Boo Boo
This guy earns my Bullshitter of the month award. Or, maybe he's just really confused by the technical details. As the the old saw goes: Write what you know.

It's bad enough that people are breathing Uranium Oxide particles into their lungs. That's definitely a problem. The radiation that comes off this stuff doesn't travel very far, but it doesn't need to when it's in your lungs.

It's also a scary thought that pregnant Iraqi women may be ingesting this stuff. Heavy metals, like Lead, can sorta screw up a fetus. Not that I have seen any conclusive proof that Uranium Oxide is causing birth defects, but it seems like something worth worrying about.

But, comparing the radiation released by an Atomic Bomb, and the radiation produced by DU is nuts. This guy is either very dishonest, or he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.

I put my money on: No clue.
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Boo Boo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
38. Four million pounds!!!
Christ.
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 02:09 PM
Response to Original message
50. Here's a pretty good layman's type website...
which rationally discusses many aspects of ionizing radiation.

http://www.abelard.org/briefings/ionising-radiation.asp

Sid
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ConcernedCanuk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-05 11:40 PM
Response to Original message
69. Interesting that the Australian Government is avoiding the use of DU
Edited on Wed Mar-16-05 11:41 PM by ConcernedCanuk
.
.
.

sorry about the caps, that's the way the document is formatted:

Defence
MEDIA RELEASE

04/08/2004 CPA 40804/04

Chief of Army Media Briefing Session

M1A1 Abrams integrated management (AIM) MAIN Battle tank

/snip/

THE TANK WILL FIRE AN ADVANCED KINETIC ENERGY TUNSTEN PENETRATOR (ARMOUR PIERCING FIN STABILISED DISCARDING SABOT ROUND APFSDS) FOR USE AGAINST VEHICLES. THIS ROUND DOES NOT CONTAIN DEPLETED URANIUM OR EXPLOSIVE AND RELIES ON ITS VELOCITY FOR TERMINAL EFFECT. THE SECOND MAIN ROUND IS A MULTI-PURPOSE EXPLOSIVE ROUND, CALLED MPAT, WHICH IS USED FOR INFANTRY SUPPORT AND TO ENGAGE TARGETS TYPES. THE ABRAMS CARRIES 40 ROUNDS MAIN ARMAMENT ROUNDS IN TOTAL.

/snip/

THE ARMOUR PROTECTION ON THE M1A1 AIM IS OUTSTANDING. CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF NOT ALL US TANKS HAVE DEPLETED URANIUM. THE AUSTRALIAN TANKS HAVE NOT HAD DEPLETED URANIUM FITTED TO THEM IN THE PAST. INSTEAD, DURING REBUILD THEY WILL BE FITTED WITH AN ADVANCED NON-DEPLETED URANIUM ARMOUR.



Now there has to be a good reason for them to avoid using a proven effective weapon/armor.

DU is plentiful and cheap.

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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-05 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #69
70. Yes. Political, not military ones.
The Australians have had much better foriegn policy than we have and are now extremely unlikely to be involved in any wars except to actually defend their country. And their country is not likely to be invaded. So why take the political heat when they aren't going to be shooting anybody anyway?
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