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BS: depleted uranium

GUEST,dianavan 10 Mar 06 - 08:07 PM
Don Firth 10 Mar 06 - 08:26 PM
Rapparee 10 Mar 06 - 08:45 PM
GUEST,Scientist 10 Mar 06 - 09:02 PM
Don Firth 10 Mar 06 - 09:10 PM
Don Firth 10 Mar 06 - 09:32 PM
Arne 10 Mar 06 - 09:36 PM
GUEST 11 Mar 06 - 02:42 AM
Teribus 11 Mar 06 - 03:10 AM
artbrooks 11 Mar 06 - 09:51 AM
Don Firth 11 Mar 06 - 01:10 PM
Bobert 11 Mar 06 - 07:51 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Mar 06 - 08:12 PM
Don Firth 11 Mar 06 - 08:18 PM
Peace 11 Mar 06 - 09:14 PM
Bobert 11 Mar 06 - 09:26 PM
GUEST 11 Mar 06 - 11:33 PM
Peace 11 Mar 06 - 11:36 PM
Peace 11 Mar 06 - 11:41 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Mar 06 - 11:47 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Mar 06 - 11:50 PM
Peace 11 Mar 06 - 11:50 PM
Peace 11 Mar 06 - 11:52 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Mar 06 - 11:55 PM
Peace 11 Mar 06 - 11:59 PM
Peace 12 Mar 06 - 12:05 AM
Don Firth 12 Mar 06 - 01:22 AM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Mar 06 - 03:58 AM
artbrooks 12 Mar 06 - 10:43 AM
GUEST 12 Mar 06 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,dianavan 12 Mar 06 - 08:19 PM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Mar 06 - 08:30 PM
MarkS 13 Mar 06 - 12:24 AM
Peace 13 Mar 06 - 12:34 AM
Don Firth 13 Mar 06 - 12:45 AM
Peace 13 Mar 06 - 12:54 AM
GUEST 13 Mar 06 - 01:53 AM
Wolfgang 13 Mar 06 - 06:35 AM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Mar 06 - 06:53 AM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Mar 06 - 07:00 AM
JohnInKansas 13 Mar 06 - 07:08 AM
Peace 13 Mar 06 - 09:59 AM
beardedbruce 13 Mar 06 - 10:27 AM
artbrooks 13 Mar 06 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,dianavan 13 Mar 06 - 12:17 PM
JohnInKansas 13 Mar 06 - 04:23 PM
Peace 13 Mar 06 - 04:48 PM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Mar 06 - 04:56 PM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Mar 06 - 05:01 PM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Mar 06 - 05:15 PM
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Subject: BS: depleted uranium
From: GUEST,dianavan
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 08:07 PM

Over 500,000 veterans of the 1st Gulf war are receiving treatment for exposure to depleted uranium. Thats 70% of the armed forces who were deployed.

According to countercurrents.org:

"More than 320 tons of depleted uranium munitions were used in the Gulf War. Ten times that tonnage has so far been used in Afghanistan and Iraq. Depleted uranium has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. Some of the radioactive particles are as small as bacteria. They cannot be filtered so they permeate the air, water, soil, vegetation, and animal life. Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are inhaling and ingesting them every day. They accumulate throughout the body like time-release poison, so the symptoms often develop years later."

How can mothers and fathers proudly expose their sons and daughters to this kind of risk? How will they feel when their little grandchild is born with horrible deformities? Its one thing to take pride in defending freedom but quite another thing to allow the government you are defending to poison your offspring.

When will U.S. citizens rise up against this kind of oppression and stop defending it?


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 08:26 PM

Probably only when it affects their immediate family or friends, sad to say. Some exceptions, like voices crying in the wilderness.

Don (pretty cynical sometimes) Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 08:45 PM

If they are "the size of bacteria" they can be filtered.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: GUEST,Scientist
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 09:02 PM

A common misconception amongst folk singers is that depleted uranium is a serious health hazard. This is a load of old cobblers. Did you know that as well as it's military use, it is widely used in aircraft, ship and bicycle manufacture!

Depleted uranium is approximately 80% less radioactive than natural uranium. Depleted uranium emits small amounts of alpha and beta particles as well as gamma rays. Alpha particles, the primary radiation type produced by depleted uranium, are blocked by skin, while beta particles are blocked by the clothing, battle dress utility uniform (BDUs) typically worn by service members. While gamma rays are a form of highly-penetrating energy , the amount of gamma radiation emitted by depleted uranium is very low - a lot less than that omitted by luminous paint. Thus, depleted uranium does not significantly add to the background radiation that we encounter every day.

Trials are underway in korea for it's use in guitar strings as it is supposed to have a beautiful resonance - can't wait.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 09:10 PM

GUEST,"Scientist???" we've been through this discussion before, and what you said (behind your anonymous handle, of course) is a load of dingo's kidneys. REAL science says otherwise.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 09:32 PM

Some information on depleted uranium HERE.

And lest anyone try to make the claim, anyone familiar with the Seattle Post Intelligencer is not exactly going to characterize it as a member of the "liberal media."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Arne
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 09:36 PM

From here:

Uranium-238, the most prevalent isotope in uranium ore, has a half-life of about 4.5 billion years; that is, half the atoms in any sample will decay in that amount of time. Uranium-238 decays by alpha emission into thorium-234, which itself decays by beta emission to protactinium-234, which decays by beta emission to uranium-234, and so on. The various decay products, (sometimes referred to as "progeny" or "daughters") form a series starting at uranium-238. After several more alpha and beta decays, the series ends with the stable isotope lead-206.

Uranium-238 emits alpha particles which are less penetrating than other forms of radiation, and weak gamma rays. As long as it remains outside the body, uranium poses little health hazard (mainly from the gamma-rays). If inhaled or ingested, however, its radioactivity poses increased risks of lung cancer and bone cancer. Uranium is also chemically toxic at high concentrations and can cause damage to internal organs, notably the kidneys. Animal studies suggest that uranium may affect reproduction, the developing fetus,(1) and increase the risk of leukemia and soft tissue cancers.(2)

While U-235 has a half-life of 704 million years, because of the 0.7% U-235 prevalence in natural uranium, most of the decays in natural uranium come from U-238 (and an equivalent amount from the daughter products, such as U-234, thorium, protactinium, etc., which all decay more rapidly, sometimes much more). Depleted uranium (>> 99% U-238) is not much different WRT this decay chain.

It is true that U-238 emits alphas (and weak gamma). Alphas are the most easilty stopped; a piece of paper will do it. The problem comes when it's inside the body; when that happens, what stops it is your body tissues! And the vapourised uranium from munitions produces lots of neat little particles that get all through your body....

Cheers,


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 02:42 AM

Can't wait to try the guitar strings though!


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Teribus
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 03:10 AM

So it is naturally occuring and is made into things.

Don and I have had this discussion before. He quotes the Seattle Post Intelligencer, here is what the World Health Organisation has to say about it - Source WHO - Depleted Uranium - Fact Sheet No: 257 last updated January 2003:

Applications of depleted uranium:

Due to its high density, about twice that of lead, the main civilian uses of DU include counterweights in aircraft, radiation shields in medical radiation therapy machines and containers for the transport of radioactive materials.

The military uses DU for defensive armour plate.
DU is used in armour penetrating military ordnance because of its high density, and also because DU can ignite on impact if the temperature exceeds 600°C.

Exposure to uranium and depleted uranium:
Under most circumstances, use of DU will make a negligible contribution to the overall natural background levels of uranium in the environment. Probably the greatest potential for DU exposure will follow conflict where DU munitions are used.
A recent United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report giving field measurements taken around selected impact sites in Kosovo (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) indicates that contamination by DU in the environment was localized to a few tens of metres around impact sites. Contamination by DU dusts of local vegetation and water supplies was found to be extremely low. Thus, the probability of significant exposure to local populations was considered to be very low.
A UN expert team reported in November 2002 that they found traces of DU in three locations among 14 sites investigated in Bosnia following NATO airstrikes in 1995. A full report is expected to be published by UNEP in March 2003.
Levels of DU may exceed background levels of uranium close to DU contaminating events. Over the days and years following such an event, the contamination normally becomes dispersed into the wider natural environment by wind and rain. People living or working in affected areas may inhale contaminated dusts or consume contaminated food and drinking water.
People near an aircraft crash may be exposed to DU dusts if counterweights are exposed to prolonged intense heat. Significant exposure would be rare, as large masses of DU counterweights are unlikely to ignite and would oxidize only slowly. Exposures of clean-up and emergency workers to DU following aircraft accidents are possible, but normal occupational protection measures would prevent any significant exposure.


Intake of depleted uranium:
Average annual intakes of uranium by adults are estimated to be about 0.5mg (500 ìg) from ingestion of food and water and 0.6 ìg from breathing air.
Ingestion of small amounts of DU contaminated soil by small children may occur while playing.
Contact exposure of DU through the skin is normally very low and unimportant.
Intake from wound contamination or embedded fragments in skin tissues may allow DU to enter the systemic circulation.

Absorption of depleted uranium:
About 98% of uranium entering the body via ingestion is not absorbed, but is eliminated via the faeces. Typical gut absorption rates for uranium in food and water are about 2% for soluble and about 0.2% for insoluble uranium compounds.
The fraction of uranium absorbed into the blood is generally greater following inhalation than following ingestion of the same chemical form. The fraction will also depend on the particle size distribution. For some soluble forms, more than 20% of the inhaled material could be absorbed into blood.
Of the uranium that is absorbed into the blood, approximately 70% will be filtered by the kidney and excreted in the urine within 24 hours; this amount increases to 90% within a few days.

Potential health effects of exposure to depleted uranium:
In the kidneys, the proximal tubules (the main filtering component of the kidney) are considered to be the main site of potential damage from chemical toxicity of uranium. There is limited information from human studies indicating that the severity of effects on kidney function and the time taken for renal function to return to normal both increase with the level of uranium exposure.
In a number of studies on uranium miners, an increased risk of lung cancer was demonstrated, but this has been attributed to exposure from radon decay products. Lung tissue damage is possible leading to a risk of lung cancer that increases with increasing radiation dose. However, because DU is only weakly radioactive, very large amounts of dust (on the order of grams) would have to be inhaled for the additional risk of lung cancer to be detectable in an exposed group. Risks for other radiation-induced cancers, including leukaemia, are considered to be very much lower than for lung cancer.
Erythema (superficial inflammation of the skin) or other effects on the skin are unlikely to occur even if DU is held against the skin for long periods (weeks).
No consistent or confirmed adverse chemical effects of uranium have been reported for the skeleton or liver.
No reproductive or developmental effects have been reported in humans.
Although uranium released from embedded fragments may accumulate in the central nervous system (CNS) tissue, and some animal and human studies are suggestive of effects on CNS function, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions from the few studies reported.

Don has previously referred to Southern Iraq and the "Desert Storm" camapaign as the indicator of the evils of DU ammunition. Before I referred him the a UK member of the European Parliament and her efforts on behalf of the Maadan (Iraq's Southern Marsh Arabs) who were then refugees living in the South West of Iran. They can verify that it was not Coalition Forces that peppered them with DU ammunition, Saddam's helicopter gunships did a fair job, but that really is neither here nor there, the real damage inflicted on the area by Saddam's regime was the deliberate draining of the marshes and the deliberate poisoning of the water courses in areas where drainage was not possible. That Don is where the main cause behind the medical evidence in Southern Iraq lies - nothing to do with DU ammunition.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: artbrooks
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 09:51 AM

The VA has an on-going study of the effects of DU, and some information on it is here . It has been proven to have adverse effects if DU particles are inside the body, including both shrapnel and (in some cases) smoke from burning DU munitions. The number of people treated seems to be quite small, and I'd be interested in the source of the information that Over 500,000 veterans of the 1st Gulf war are receiving treatment for exposure to depleted uranium. Thats 70% of the armed forces who were deployed.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 01:10 PM

As you know full well, Teribus, despite it's prestigious title, the World Health Organization's report on depleted uranium has been declared spurious, their having ignored or suppressed a considerable amount of data that was available to them.

HERE is another take on the WHO report.

And
But the monograph . . . [published by the WHO] . . . was merely a survey of existing literature on the subject. Out of hundreds of thousands of monographs published since 1945, which ought to have been explored in depth, the report covered only monographs on chemical contamination, with a few noteworthy exceptions. The few articles about dealing with radiation contamination that had been consulted came from the Pentagon and the Rand Corporation, the Pentagon think- tank. It is unsurprising that the report was bland.
The full article HERE.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Bobert
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 07:51 PM

I started a thread about DU about 3 or 4 years ago here and at the time had access to alot of articles that are now somewhere in boxes since the move but...

There was a VA doctor who as I remember was at a VA hospital in Delaware... He was treating a lareg number of Gulf I vets and was eeeing some disturbing paterns of symptoms and was testing for radiation levels that were still in these guys... Now maybe someone will come along the referencve this but after this doctor made it known to the VA that he had suspicsions that DU's were responsible for a number of illnesses, the doctor was told by the VA that the doctor's unit was over staffed and he was laid off...

Well fine and dandy but with a few months the VA hired not one but two additional doctors for thie unit that it had just fired Dr. Snoopy from to replace him...

Yeah, DU's have been used in both Gulf wars and eventually the truth will come out about these weapons...

Yeah, I have heard arguments that say that DU's are perfectlt safe but if they are so safe then why can't ya' by DU's at health food stores???

I mean, let's get real here... They are friggin' nuclear weapons, gol dang it and they are not safe... Not only that but they aren't too smart either because when they come into contact with something they bust apart and send white hot bits of heavy meatls indiscriminently at anything within a very large radius and these super hot bits of metal burn skin and muscle tissue and can kill of hurt the heck outta folks... In an urban war that means lots of collateral damage...

If even the world gets a handle on the US's power play I'm sure that there will be war crime trials for the use of DU's...

Meanwhile, get ready for a major round of bad post-Iraq war stroies and illnesses...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 08:12 PM

So now we know how the 2nd Roman Empire will decline - all its young will be too sick to fight or breed...


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 08:18 PM

Already piling up, Bobert. But other than the occasional article like the one in the Seattle P. I., you rarely, if ever, see or hear anything about it in the American media. Gotta forage in overseas news services to get much of anything on it.

Since the first Gulf War, Iraq has seen a ten-fold increase in severe birth defects (statistically consistent with the increase in birth defects in Hiroshima following the end of World War II), an eighteen-fold increase in cancers of various kinds, and at least a six-fold increase in childhood leukemia.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Peace
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 09:14 PM

Generally, people who say that spent uranium poses no health risk would be unwilling to swallow the stuff.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Bobert
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 09:26 PM

That's what I mean, Bruce...

If the friggin' stuff is so good fir ya, why not bottle it up and sell it in health food joints...

Tell ya what, I love for Bush, Cheney, Dumsfeld, Ricearoni, Wolfy and Perle to just get one little bit of it embedded in their skin whle its still white hot...

No, make that everyone who voted for Bush, too...

That would put an end to these barbaric weapons...


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 11:33 PM

There have been some attempts to reference actual facts in this thread, but the original hysterical post and the frequent misinterpretations of what this material is are leading to emotional outbursts.

We are no more likely to swallow uranium, depleted or otherwise, than we are likely to swallow bullets. We are discussing weapons here, and it is considered that weapons be extremely unsafe - to the opponent. If I'm in a tank and I know that depleted uranium armour is more likely to deflect anti-tank weapons than mere hardened steel, I'll take the uranium and worry about the after effects later.

Depleted Uranium means that the Uranium is less of a nuclear weapon than natural Uranium which has been mined for hundreds of years.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Peace
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 11:36 PM

So, GUEST, you are saying it's safe?


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Peace
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 11:41 PM

BTW, GUEST, it seems the Royal Society disagrees with you as to the dangers of DU. Story here.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 11:47 PM

"Generally, people who say that spent uranium poses no health risk would be unwilling to swallow the stuff. "

And generally the French could not understand the people who lived in the south Pacific saying that if nuclear tests were so safe, why not do them in France?


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 11:50 PM

"However, a small number of soldiers might suffer kidney damage and an increased risk of lung cancer if substantial amounts of depleted uranium are breathed in, for instance inside an armoured vehicle hit by a depleted uranium penetrator."

Ha! Ha! ROFLMAO!


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Peace
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 11:50 PM

The 'this stuff isn't dangerous crew' might want to read this.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Peace
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 11:52 PM

Are we gonna make teething rings out of it?


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 11:55 PM

"inside an armoured vehicle hit by a depleted uranium penetrator"

if they survive the 10,000 degrees C fireball, that is...

ROFL....


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Peace
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 11:59 PM

"The US Army Chemical Command produced a book Uranium Battlefields Home and Abroad, its message could not have been clearer - 'Don't go into tanks that have been hit by depleted uranium munitions. They're radioactive.' The books were deliberately withheld until after the Gulf War."


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Peace
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 12:05 AM

"There are severe health hazards associated with exposure, inhalation, or ingestion of DU. A 1995 article in the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology included this information on DU health hazards in the 1991 Gulf War:

Depleted Uranium particles can be inhaled easily in smoke resulting from the impact of armor-piercing projectiles on hard targets and the aerosolization of uranium into small particles. If even one small particle less than 5 microns in diameter (5-millionths of a meter—the size of cigarette ash) is trapped in the lungs, surrounding tissues can be exposed up to 272 times the maximum permitted dose for workers in the radiation industry.[11]"

from
here.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 01:22 AM

I'm afraid that GUEST, 11 Mar 06 - 11:33 PM has the wrong end of the stick.   

". . . depleted uranium armour is more likely to deflect anti-tank weapons than mere hardened steel. . . ."

The Iraqi tank armor is not made of depleted uranium. If that were the case, then we'd be taking the Iraqi military to task. The American armor-piercing shells are made of DU, and that's the problem.

Do try to get it right.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 03:58 AM

Using depleted uranium for a tank shield would be like wrapping yourself in gelignite to shield yourself from bullets! Very self-defeating! Maybe even self-defecating... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: artbrooks
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 10:43 AM

A brief search on the web indicates that Uranium Battlefields at Home and Abroad was written by the Rural Alliance for Military Accountability, Citizen Alert, and Progressive Alliance for Community Empowerment.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 08:01 PM

Foolestroupe I too found that quite a hilarious quote. The aim of the weapon is to incinerate one and the fear is that after being blown up and burned one might inhale the particulates!

Don, get a grip and re-read the thread (or if I am assuming too much, get someone to read it to you). The military uses a lot of materials that might be deemed 'unsafe'. Whose military is irrelevant. If one is a soldier it's going to be mighty hard to convince one not to use the safest armour to protect onself, and the most dangerous missiles to inflict on one's opponent.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: GUEST,dianavan
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 08:19 PM

"...and the most dangerous missiles to inflict on one's opponent."

Therein lies the problem. Depleted uranium kills indiscrimanately. If it were just the other guys suffering from the use of this shit, that would be one thing but what we're talking about here is the effects it is having on our soldiers.

What don't you get about that, Guest?

My guess is that you do get it and you are just trying to deflect criticism instead of owning up to the fact that you don't know what you are talking about.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 08:30 PM

"Depleted uranium kills indiscrimanately."

... and indefinitely...


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: MarkS
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 12:24 AM

If I ever get into a standoff with an enemy tank and all I have between him and me is a round of DU armor piercing, I suspect I will be very glad I have it and will be inclined to use it on him.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Peace
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 12:34 AM

No doubt. However, the problem with DU is that it is the gift that keeps on giving. Sabot rounds alone will do the trick against anything in the Iraqi military. Many of their tanks can generate smoke, but that means little against the Abrams--it has laser sighting and thermal imaging.

"Under the Firepower Enhancement Package (FEP), DRS Techologies has also been awarded a contract for the GEN II TIS to upgrade US Marine Corps M1A1 tanks. GEN II TIS is based on the 480 x 4 SADA (Standard Advanced Dewar Assembly) detector. The FEP also includes an eyesafe laser rangefinder, north-finding module and precision lightweight global positioning receiver which provide targeting solutions for the new Far Target Locate (FTL) function. FTL gives accurate targeting data to a range of 8,000m with a CEP (Circular Error of Probability) of less than 35m."

The use of DU in Iraq is just not necessary.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 12:45 AM

Among other weapons, the Abrams M1A1 tank is equipped with a 120 mm. gun that can fire a variety of ammunition, including a depleted uranium-clad penetrator round. This is one of the culprits that people are complaining about.

I was not aware of the following point, GUEST, so on this you are correct—if a bit ungracious in your eagerness to gloat:   the M1A1 does incorporate depleted uranium armor. Harder that straight steel armor, which is good—but—it can still be penetrated. With quite unpleasant results. Nice, when you're one of the poor sods who happen to be inside the bloody thing when it happens! ". . . the safest armour. . . ."   Really, GUEST?

So we, in our inimitable ingenuity, have figured out some lovely ways of getting rid (more or less, at least domestically) of our nuclear waste. Bully for us!

Now, just today, someone told me (in person) that the Iraqis were also using depleted uranium penetrator rounds. She said she had heard it just recently on PBS. PBS? I watch PBS quite a bit, but I never heard anything about this. But since I don't watch it twenty-four hours a day, it's conceivable that I could have missed it. My immediate reaction was to wonder if she were possibly confusing PBS with Fox News Service, but she's an intelligent person (if, occasionally not too well informed), and I really don't think she could be that confused. We have lots of depleted uranium. Lots of it. But where would the Iraqis get the stuff?

Anybody (GUEST?) heard anything about this?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Peace
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 12:54 AM

Russia had about 480,000 kg of DU ordnance. That said, I would suspect that Iraq would want some, because DU rounds are the only ones that will dependably pierce DU armour, and the main battle tank of the US is the Abrams--and that has DU armour. Short of battle field nukes, when the weaponry gets stepped up by one side, the other steps it up too.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 01:53 AM

Peace, Don. I don't know much more about the subject than that technology once developed, inevitably gets used. It is nothing to gloat about. Other than that the dispersal of ignorance in this thread has been greater than that of DU, in particular the original post in this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Wolfgang
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 06:35 AM

The scientific heavies of Mudcat are assembled in this thread to display the best of their knowledge.

you are saying it's safe? (Peace) (and similar arguments)
If you would read what you pretend to respond to you'd realise that no one has ever said it is safe. The only real question to debate is the level of damage. The argument you have to argue with is that the level of damage is very low compared to natural background
Bobert's health food store argument is at an even worse level. Don't you realise how stupid you present yourself(ves) when you offer this type of argumentation?
Arne's intake argument, on the other hand, that's a meaningful counter-argumentation.

The statistics about birth defects in Iraq or other health problems are also an argumentation that assumes that those reading it must be incredibly stupid to swallow it.
DU has been suspected by many campaigners of causing the unexplained cancers among Iraqi civilians, particularly children, since the previ ous Gulf war. Chemicals released in the atmosphere during bombing could equally be to blame. (from one link provided by Peace!). I follow these discussions here since quite long, and the same statistics have been used as an argument against the UN sanctions, as an argument for the ecological impact of Saddam's plan to set the oil wells on fire, as an argument that the coalition forces have not been able to restore the availability of clean water.

You cannot simply compare health statistics before and after a series of events, one of which was the use of DU ammunition as a meaningful argument without making an assessment how large the contribution of DU in comparison to other events may have been.

One of the highlights for me in this thread was Dianavan telling GUEST you don't know what you are talking about..

WHO - Depleted Uranium - Fact Sheet No: 257 last updated January 2003 (Teribus)
I'm at a loss of understanding how Don Firth who sometimes is a bit more careful than the rest of the crowd can link two posts later (his second link in that post) to an article from 2002 in the prestigious scientific journal Le Monde Diplomatique. At the very least you should have made clear that and argued why and in which respect you think that the WHO update has not taken the arguments of preceding articles into account.

What do you actually want? A debate with an open outcome or a search for support for previously made up opinions?

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 06:53 AM

What is "DU armour"?


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 07:00 AM

"Short of battle field nukes, when the weaponry gets stepped up by one side, the other steps it up too."


!!!!!!!! "Short of battle field nukes" !!!!!!!! ????

Rubbish!!!!

The USA is now publicly saying it is working on tactical micro-nukes, and has been doing so since the days when they test fired (I have seen film) an artillery shell with a micro nuke warhead about 30=40 years ago. If one country is publicly working on such 'bunker busters' which incidentally do NOT penetrate more than a few metres underground (as the tests years ago proved!) but vent radioactivity into the atmosphere, what do you think other countries are doing in secret? Why do you think the USA is so het up about IRAN?


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 07:08 AM

Depleted uranium has been used as an industrial material at least since the mid 1940s. Like any other toxic material, it requires proper safety procedures for handling and processing, but it's a pretty "routine" thing in those shops that have a need to handle it.

The main source of DU has been from the "leftovers" from production of weapons grade uranium. The standard cutoff point for discarding uranium at the extraction processing plants is at 0.75% fissile isotope content, which is significantly lower in radioactive emission than many naturally occuring ores, and in fact is well below the level of ionizing radiation emitted by one rock that's a *"state marker stone" along the stairs to the top of the Washington monument.

* They all look a bit like tombstones, but that's a bit beside the point.

One common use for DU has been in counterweights in aircraft control systems. I haven't seen recent advisories, but some years ago the stuff could be used only in closed compartments not occupied by personnel in normal operations, or with a minor bit of shielding almost anywhere. An application I was asked to review (decades ago) would have required a stainless steel wrapper about 0.08 inch thick, because it was in an open area about 15 inches from the pilots personals, and by the time you wrap high-density DU in low density CRES, the total effective density isn't any better than lead so I got to shoot down the plan. If they'd actually needed a big weight it probably would have gone into that single-engine prop plane, and been sold to thousands (well dozens at least) of wealthy playboy doctors and lawyers.

Casting, rolling, and machining requires safety provisions not much different than a number of other toxic materials, and while there are safe-distance and shielding requirements, it's the chemical toxicity that is the principal concern - not radiation.

DU armor, as I've seen it described, is encased, with each individual part separately and completely sealed. Rumor says that the popular encasing material now is teflon, probably along with some other materials. If anything in an armored vehicle burns, the teflon is about as much a chemical hazard as the DU.

The main use of DU in weapons has been essentially as a very high speed flying cold chisel intended to punch a hole when it hits something. The properites of DU are not a lot different than can be obtained with tungsten carbide, which has also been used, with a couple of exceptions. The first difference is that DU is really cheap and Tungsten Carbide is really expensive. ($1/lb vs $30/lb in 1974, and the same ratio probably is still good.) The second major reason is that DU can be easily cast, rolled, and/or machined, and Tungsten Carbide can't. Almost a side benefit is that DU is pyrophoric.

Pyrophoric means that DU will "strike sparks" when it hits something, much like a lighter flint. Finely divided bits will "burn" and it's not uncommon to see fine metal turnings smoldering during machining. The bulk material will not sustain "burning" unless external heat is continuously supplied from something else that gets lit from the sparks. During penetration of steel armor, about 40% of a DU cold chisel is vaporized, and about 10% of that vapor is small enough to remain suspended for a significant time, and to be breathed by anyone who happens along. The remaining "vapor" that's generated by the impact will settle out of the air within a few minutes, or at most a few hours, in most cases.

Penetration tests indicate that all of the material atomized by the impact burns immediately, so the "contaminant" from initial aerosols is uranium oxide. IF the sparks ignite other flammables that can heat the DU armor and the remaining bit of cold chisel, they will "burn" but the burning in this case is more like "extremely rapid rusting," and this "fire" goes out if external heat is removed. Solid hunks of DU over a few grams in size generally will not support combustion on their own.

Any DU that's burned will produce a small amount of vapor in addition to what is aerosolized by the impact, with similar distributions of particle sizes. Most of the bulk DU that's "burned" in a fire ends up as a lump of uranium oxide.

Ground samples at one site where ammunition of this kind was tested in large quantities indicate that the initial "spray" and fallout of heavier particles may produce DU concentrations equal to or exceeding background levels of Uranium common almost universally in soils taken at random, over a radius of about 20 meters. This remains a hazard and can be stirred up, tracked around, or eaten, but will not often be inhaled.

The aerosol bits small enough to be inhaled certainly aren't beneficial, but normal air circulation is likely to disperse them fairly rapidly. I haven't found precise figures on dispersal times, but in any reasonably breezy environment these small aerosols will be diluted to near background U levels before they get far from the impact area.

There is no question that there is contamination from these weapons, but it's mainly "chemical;" and there is no reason to scream "radioactive" because they simply aren't particularly dangerous from that aspect. The "radiation" in the immediate area may be somewhat above levels routinely encountered as background, but it's over a fairly small area. Most of it disperses and is diluted to background levels fairly quickly, and most of the rest settles out and could be cleaned up if entering the contaminated area or returning it to some public use is necessary. Most people, worldwide, eat more uranium in their turnips in a year than they are likely to get from any reasonably necessary exposure due to an incident in which these weapons and armor are used.

Other kinds of weapons uses for DU have been proposed and studied, and may be in use, but the rather scant information suggests that while they could cause somewhat larger areas of immediate contamination, the kind of hazard is unlikely to be very much different.

This is a composite opinion from 40+ separate laboratory reports on material properties, laboratory and manufacturing safety bulletins, individual shop safety standards, and repetitive (and rather boring) environmental impact surveys of a known areas of contamination some of which was extremely heavy. The basic material information is available, and based on what I've found, DU is a material that requires some degree of special handling and it poses some risks in use. It has a reasonably quantifiable health and environment impact; but it is not significantly more of a health or environmental hazard than many other fairly common materials - particularly among those used in warfare.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Peace
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 09:59 AM

Wolfgang,

What the hell are you talking about?

The implication from a poster above was that DU is relatively benign stuff. Fact is, it isn't. Go slag your dog for krissake.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: beardedbruce
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 10:27 AM

Anyone care to explain just how much safer lead would be, under the same conditions as the DU under discussion here? Less effective, of course, but all the heavy metals are poisonous, so...

But I guess that Bobert has lead pills at his health store... And probably mercury ones, from his comments.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: artbrooks
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 10:38 AM

DU is not entirely benign. Relatively is another issue entirely. An imbeded DU fragment is more dangerous to long-term health than a more inert (eg, steel) shrapnel fragment. On the other hand, it is not inherently dangerous to handle or be around.

On the topic of "mini-nukes", one should not confuse nuclear artillery munitions, which have been around since well before 1968 (when I first trained with them) with penetrators ("bunker busters"). The 155mm artillery round is designed for area-denial and large targets, like the Soviet attack through the Fulda Gap that we were all anticipating (and training for) throughout most of the second half of the twentieth century. A penetrator round is entirely different, and is designed to reach an underground, and hardened (as opposed to just buried) bunker and destroy it with a minimal amount (which is different from none) of released radioactivity. IMHO, it is unnecessary and worthless, since it depends upon completely accurate targeting information, which events in Iraq and Afganistan demonstrate that we rarely have.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: GUEST,dianavan
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 12:17 PM

Wolfgang - When I was responding to Guest, I was responding to, "If one is a soldier it's going to be mighty hard to convince one not to use the safest armour to protect onself, and the most dangerous missiles to inflict on one's opponent."

The point is that this soldier will be living with the results of that armour being pierced. My guess is that most soldiers aren't even aware of what that armour is made of. If young men and their parents knew that they were going to be exposed to depleted uranium, they might not be so quick to volunteer for service. What kind of government exposes 500,000 of their own troops to depleted uranium?


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 04:23 PM

dianovan -

"Exposes 500,000 of their own troops to depleted uranium" ?

ONLY those who are within about 20 yards of an assault with the DU penetrator weapon - at the time of the attack are immediately exposed to any risk. The last time I studied up on things, those in a targeted vehicle are intended to be placed "at risk" by those shooting at it.

Those who enter the immediate area before the dust settles and the immediate aerosols are dispersed, or who dig around in the debris can expose themselves to some risk, just as those who "salvage" in and immediately around any damaged vehicle may find unexploded ammunition, leaking fuel, and any number of other hazards.

A common automotive battery that's burned in a fuel fire produces a closely comparable risk, over a similar area, due to the lead and cadmium volatilized in the smoke. Both of these materials have toxicity very similar to DU, and very similar common paths of entry by inhalation or ingestion. They also are at least as persistent as DU, both as ingested toxins and as environmental contaminants.

As to the "radioactivity" of DU, the little pellet of Cesium in the smoke detector in your bedroom may be as "radioactive" as one of these penetrator devices. The persistent toxic heavy metal material from about a dozen NiCad C-size batteries that you toss into the trash to go to the landfill is comparable in environmental impact to the "burnup" of one 30 mm penetrator.

Active military service people whom I've met recently are fully aware of this stuff. While I can't personally affirm that all troops are adequately trained in all subjects, the training materials are in place and they're supposed to be trained. There's a bit of a "communications gap" that may make it difficult to inform the civilian population about all the risks of warfare, but I suspect that they're being given information about it - by both sides.

Warfare isn't nice.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: Peace
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 04:48 PM

"Dr. Hari Sharma at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, tested urine samples from U.S. vets and the local population in Basra, Iraq, near the site where the most depleted uranium weapons were used. Eight years after the fighting ceased, he was able to find detectable levels of depleted uranium in the urine of both soldiers and residents."

from here.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 04:56 PM

War is a process of economic (humans are an economic resource too) attrition.

Warfare was originally intended to kill people who were trying to kill you because they thought you were trying kill them first: nowadays it has been discovered that injuring your opponents is more advantageous economically in defeating them, because they have to expend more resources in caring for the injured (of either side if they are genuine humanists) tan just burying the dead so they aren't killed by disease and pestilence.

"Take no prisoners" can make economic sense in desperate situations.


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 05:01 PM

"The point is that this soldier will be living with the results of that armour being pierced."

ROFLMAO!

Living? Rarely... that IS the whole bloody point of piercing the armour you know...


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Subject: RE: BS: depleted uranium
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 05:15 PM

I have noticed in this thread that the normal 'debating tactics' as used by various proponents here are tending to produce hilarious results.

The normal tactic of rebutting arguments by twisting things slightly "no, that's not really serious, it just produces slight discomfort" hardly applies when one is taking about military weapons of intended destruction - intended to kill outright, or at least maim sufficiently as to take the victim out of effective combat (the principle of economic attrition in warfare).


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