WHAT IS DEPLETED URANIUM?
Depleted uranium is a waste obtained from producing fuel for nuclear
reactors and atomic bombs. The material used in civil and nuclear military
industry is uranium U-235, the isotope which can be fissioned. Since this
isotope is found in very low proportions in nature, the uranium ore has to
be enriched, i.e., its proportion of the U-235 isotope has to be
industrially increased. This pocess produces a large amount of radioactive
depleted uranium waste, thus named because it is mainly formed by the other
non-fissionable uranium isotope, U-238 and a minimum proportion of U-235.
American military industry has been using depleted uranium to coat
conventional weaponry (artillery, tanks and aircraft) since 1977, to
protect its own tanks, as a counterweight in aircraft and Tomahawk missiles
and as a component for navigation instruments. This is due to depleted
uranium having characteristics making it highly attractive for military
technology: firstly, it is extremely dense and heavy (1 cm3 weighs almost
19 grammes), such that projectiles with a depleted uranium head can
penetrate the armoured steel of military vehicles and buildings; secondly,
it is a spontaneous pyrophoric material, i.e., it inflames when reaching
its target generating such heat that it explodes.
After more than 50 years producing atomic weapons and nuclear energy, the
USA has 500,000 tonnes of depleted uranium stored, according to official
data. Depleted uranium is radioactive also and has an average lifetime of
4.5 thousand million years. This is why such waste has to be stored safely
for an indefinite period of time, an extremely costly procedure. In order
to save money and empty their tanks, the Department of Defence and Energy
assigns depleted uranium free of charge to national and foreign armament
companies. Apart from the USA, countries like the United Kingdom, France,
Canada, Russia, Greece, Turkey, Israel, the Gulf monarchies, Taiwan, South
Korea, Pakistan or Japan purchase or manufacture weapons with depleted
When a projectile hits a target, 70% of its depleted uranium burns
and oxidizes, bursting into highly toxic, radioactive micro particles.
Being so tiny, these particles can be ingested or inhaled after being
deposited on the ground or carried kilometres away by the wind, the food
chain or water. A 1995 technical report issued by the American Army
indicates that "if depleted uranium enters the body, it has the
potentiality of causing serious medical consequences. The associated risk
is both chemical and radiological". Deposited in the lungs or kidneys,
uranium 238 and products from its decay (thorium 234, protactinium and
other uranium isotopes) give off alpha and beta radiations which cause cell
death and genetic mutations causing cancer in exposed individuals and
genetic abnormalities in their descendents over the years.
In its 110,000 air raids against Iraq, the US A-10 Warthog aircraft
launched 940,000 depleted uranium projectiles, and in the land
offensive, its M60, M1 and M1A1 tanks fired a further 4,000 larger caliber
also uranium projectiles.
It is estimated that there are 300 tonnes of radioactive waste in the
which might have already affected 250,000 Iraqis.
After the Gulf War, Iraqi and international epidemiological
investigations have enabled the environmental pollution due to using this
kind of weapon to be associated with the appearance of new, very difficult
to diagnose diseases (serious immunodeficiencies, for instance) and the
spectacular increase in congenital malformations and cancer, both in the
Iraqi population and amongst several thousands of American and British
veterans and in their children, a clinical condition known as Gulf War
Syndrome. Similar symptoms to those of the Gulf War have been described
amongst a thousand children residing in areas of the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia)
where American aviation also used depleted uranium bombs in 1996, the same
as in the NATO intervention against the Yugoslavia in 1999.
Wings of Death + second event theory - Chris Busby