Monthly Archives: December 2013

Use of depleted uranium (DU) in conventional weapons

In september postte ik een deel van een niet gepubliceerd hoofdstuk voor een boek over uraniumwapens dat in het najaar van 2009 had moeten verschijnen. De rest van dat hoofdstuk ‘Use of depleted uranium (DU) in conventional weapons’ post ik hier. Merk op dat deze tekst niet volledig is. Zo ontbreken bijvoorbeeld de gegevens over Fallujah. Ooit zal ik een update van deze tekst maken en de ontbrekende gegevens er in verwerken, voor zover dat mogelijk is. Wapensystemen van DU worden routinematig gebruikt door de NAVO-landen.

Use of depleted uranium (DU) in conventional weapons
Henk van der Keur, Laka Foundation, Amsterdam

Depleted uranium metal is used in a wide range of industrial applications for decades. This chapter mainly focuses on the use of depleted uranium metal in conventional weapons and the consequences. It discusses the origin of depleted uranium (DU), its properties, the new DU waste management, the worldwide use in conventional weapons, testing and training with DU weapons, the use in wars, and the impact on environment and human health.

Since most nuclear power plants use enriched uranium as nuclear fuel, natural uranium obtained from uranium ore has to be enriched. This process is taking place in a uranium enrichment plant, such as the facility of Urenco in Gronau, Germany. For the enrichment process, natural uranium is needed in the chemical form uranium hexafluoride (UF6). This is obtained from the uranium ore concentrate (“yellow cake”) by refining and conversion.[1] The heated natural uranium hexafluoride is passing through the enrichment plant. UF6 or “hex” is a crystalline solid, but at a temperature of 56.4°C, it sublimates (becomes a gas). Enriched uranium hexafluoride, the main product, is chemically converted to pure uranium dioxide powder which is then pressed into pellets, processed and assembled to nuclear fuel elements. Depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) is a by-product of this uranium enrichment process. More than 90 percent of the DU produced to date – more than 1 million metric tonnes – is stored as DUF6, in steel cylinders in open air yards close to enrichment plants. In a re-conversion process, DUF6 can be converted to a uranium oxide or uranium metal.[2]

The term ‘depleted’ refers to the lower grade of the fissionable isotope uranium-235 (U-235) in proportion to natural uranium. For use in commercial light water reactors, the most prevalent nuclear power reactors in the world, uranium is enriched to 3 to 5 percent U-235. Low-enriched uranium (LEU) used in research reactors is enriched 12 to 19.75 percent U-235. Depleted uranium contains usually 0.2 to 0.4 percent U-235. Because natural uranium begins with such a low percentage of U-235 (0.7%), the enrichment process produces large quantities of DU. For example, producing 1 kg of 5% enriched uranium requires 11.8 kg of natural uranium, and leaves about 10.8 kg of DU with only 0.3% U-235 remaining.[3] About 180 kg of DU result from the production of 1 kg of high-enriched uranium (HEU) with 93.5 percent U-235 for the manufacture of a uranium-based nuclear weapon.[4] As a result the five nuclear weapons states have at one’s disposal the largest stockpiles of DU.[5]

source material or waste?
The U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954 defines depleted uranium as a “source material,” and thus not a waste, because it has a trace of fissionable U-235.[6] When the price of natural uranium is rising, it could be economically viable to use stocks of DUF6 for re-enrichment. However, if DU is treated as a waste it would fall under the definition of low-level radioactive waste. In that case DU has to be stored in a licensed low-level waste disposal site.[7] This inconclusive policy also applies in Europe and Russia and explains the inadequate storage of DUF6 in extended cylinder storage yards at uranium enrichment facilities. In Germany every year 2.800 tons (2520 metric tonnes) of DU are generated. Because it is not classified as radioactive waste but considered as a resource for further enrichment, DUF6 cylinders – including those from enrichment plants in the Netherlands, France and the UK – are sent to ROSATOM in Russia since 1996.[8] In October 1997, the German government stated that “re-enrichment of Urenco’s tails in Russia is not connected to a management of residues violating international rules, standards, or obligations”, though the secondary tails remain in Russia and their avoided disposal costs appears to be Urenco’s main purpose for the re-enrichment deal.[9] In a report by the German/French-TV-station ARTE (Alptraum Atommüll, 13 October 2009) Urenco confirmed that the UF6-transport from Gronau to Russia on 26 August 2009 was the last DUF6 transport.

Urged by the increasing maintenance problems of its DUF6 cylinder yards, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has searched for large-scale industrial use of DU and exploring alternative management and disposal of its DUF6 stockpiles. The Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Alternative Strategies (April 1999) stated: “DOE’s preferred alternative is to begin conversion of the UF6 inventory as soon as possible, either to uranium oxide, uranium metal, or a combination of both, while allowing for use of as much of this inventory as possible. Conversion to oxide for use or long-term storage would begin as soon as practicable, with conversion to metal occurring only if uses are identified. The preferred alternative would allow beneficial use of the material with regard to environmental, economic, technical, and other factors.” […] “Large-scale uses for the depleted uranium products are under development. These uses include radiation-shielding applications, in which uranium oxide is used as a substitute for the aggregate in concrete. Concrete made with depleted uranium would be a more effective shielding material than conventional concrete and would provide the same level of radiation shielding with less thickness than conventional concrete. Among other uses, this concrete could be fabricated into casks for storage of spent nuclear fuel or high-level waste.”[9] Currently, the preparations for the commercial production of DU concrete (DUcreteTM) are in full swing.[10] A 1995 report mentions the potential hazards during the production process, which are similar to the manufacture of other DU products, such as DU munitions: “A manufacturing site for DUcrete production would have to handle the oxide source material. [UO2 instead of SiO2 in concrete, HvdK]  The primary health and safety concerns arise from internal radiation exposure due to inhalation of airborne oxides or from the chemical toxicity of the uranium as a heavy metal due to ingestion. Therefore, a concrete factory producing DUcrete would need to be fully enclosed and equipped with air filtering, pressure control, radiation detection, etc. Disposal of DUcrete after container use would present additional waste management issues, although this issue may be mitigated in case of deep geological disposal of spent fuel. […] Breaking up large DUcrete structures would entail airborne particulate hazards similar to those produced during manufacture.”[11]

So far there have not been found large-scale applications for DU metal. Today, there is international consensus that for storage it should be converted to an oxide (U3O8). U.S. DOE manages 700,000 metric tons of DUF6 at the gaseous diffusion plants located near Paducah, Kentucky. and Portsmouth, Ohio. The conversion process will produce approximately 551,000 metric tonnes of DU oxide, which is a more stable form than DUF6.[12] In 2006 DOE  completed the relocation of about 6,000 cylinders containing DUF6 from the former Oak Ridge K-25 enrichment plant to Ohio. A company called Uranium Disposition Services will convert the DUF6 from Oak Ridge and other sites to an oxide form for safer long-term storage or disposal.[13]

U.S. NRC classified DU oxide waste as low-level waste Class A
Though the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the federal nuclear watchdog, has termed depleted uranium in case of disposal purposes as low-level waste, it has not specified a subcategory. U.S. low-level waste is, depending on de properties, including radioactivity, divided into six classes of waste.[14] In practice it appeared that the NRC has opted for “Class A” classification concerning DU in the form of uranium oxides. Class A is considered as the least hazardous type of radioactive material. In 2005, the company Envirocare of Utah, that operates a Class A dump licensed by the State of Utah, is cited in the NRC’s final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as a disposal option for the DU generated by the planned uranium enrichment facility of Louisiana Enrichment Service (LES) in Louisiana (which was never built). And “Class A” was named again during the license proceedings for the National Enrichment Facility, which is being built in New Mexico.[15,16] Meanwhile Envirocare, now EnergySolutions (mind the company names who take care of chemotoxic and radioactive waste, HvdK), was waiting for a formal decision from the NRC. The EnergySolutions disposal site in Tooele County, Utah, about 110 km west of Salt Lake City,  has buried 49,000 tons of DU waste from past cleanups nationwide and has contracts for dumping more DU oxide waste. EnergySolutions is one of the world’s largest processors of low level waste (LLW), and is the largest nuclear waste company in the United States. The company arose from the merger of four waste disposal companies: Envirocare, Scientech D&D, BNG America, and Duratek and is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, although it has operations in 40 states. The company took over several Magnox atomic plants from British Nuclear Fuels plc in United Kingdom in June 2007.[17]  Besides the facility in Utah, EnergySolutions owns and operates another licensed landfill to dispose of radioactive waste in Barnwell County, South Carolina. The last facility has buried among others DU contaminated armored vehicles. In 1988, two fire-damaged M60A3 tanks were shipped from Europe to the U.S., where they were buried intact at the radioactive waste site in Barnwell. In 1992, contaminated vehicles from the 1991 Gulf War and U.S. Army materials that remained after the Camp Doha Fire, Kuwait, July 1991, at which U.S. tanks and munitions with DU were burnt.[18]

In March 2009, the NRC formally chose for the option to classify DU oxide waste as Class A, although it acknowledged that disposal of large amounts of the waste in shallow burial sites like the Tooele landfill might be unsafe in the long run without additional precautions. NRC is currently in the process of developing new rules for how large quantities of the waste should be disposed of. The NRC’s review of the question is expected to take years. The NRC staff told the board that EnergySolutions is conducting itself within the law in disposing of the material under current regulations. The decision of the NRC has cleared the way for DU shipments to the disposal facility of EnergySolutions. In October 2009, EnergySolutions is expecting the first shipment of DU waste from Savannah River, a former nuclear weapons complex in South Carolina, at the company’s facility in Tooele County. The waste will be transferred in 208-liter drums. About 15,000 of the drums has to be arrived by early 2011. The waste is part of an estimated 46,000 metric tons of the material the company could to handle from several DOE sites over the next five years. EnergySolutions could also win contracts to dispose of material from DOE sites in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Paducah, Kentucky, and Portsmouth, Ohio.[15,19]

American scientists from the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), an independent nuclear watchdog, and NGOs such as Public Citizen and Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) have strongly opposed (during the process) to the decision of the NRC to classify DU oxides as Class A. They believe that its proper classification would be “Greater Than Class C” waste, which would preclude EnergySolutions as a disposal option.[20] Also some politicians criticized the decision. Chairman of the House Environment and Energy Subcommittee Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and subcommittee member Jim Matheson (D-Utah) told the NRC in a letter: “The arbitrary and capricious mischaracterization of depleted uranium as Class A waste will undermine public confidence in the waste classification system, may increase risks to public health and safety and raises the possibility that additional, uncharacterized and possibly even more dangerous materials could be similarly treated in the future.” One of the four NRC decision-makers, commissioner Gregory Jaczko cast the dissenting vote, saying DU is low-level waste but not Class A. “I do not believe that it is logical to argue that waste that requires additional requirements for disposal – similar to those required for Class C waste – can still be labeled as Class A waste,” Jaczko said. Class C waste is hazardous for up to 500 years, whereas Class A waste is hazardous for up to 100 years. DU has the unique property that it remains radioactive for billions of years and its radioactive doses increase over time rather than decrease. DU peaks in hazard after a million years. EnergySolutions insists the waste at its site won’t exceed the hazard levels set by the state for 35,000 years.[19,21]

DUF6 management Urenco
The Urenco facilities in Almelo and Gronau send DUF6, which is not considered suitable for ‘re-enrichment’, to the re-conversion facility of AREVA in Pierrelatte, France, for conversion to uranium oxide. In the Netherlands the uranium oxide returns to the national storage facility for radioactive materials (COVRA) in Vlissingen. In July 2008, COVRA opened two additional storage halls for storing Urenco’s DU. The first hall, opened in 2004, is now almost at full capacity. The DU oxide is shipped to Vlissingen in steel containers each of which holds 10 metric tonnes of U3O8. A quarter magazine of Urenco talks about “[..] reliable storage of the oxide for a further 100 to 150 years. Many years in the future, a decision will be made by COVRA as to whether the material can be reused or needs to be put into final storage.” In November 2007, the Dutch Ministry of Environment (VROM), in an answer to a parliamentary question, disclosed that approximately an annual amount of 3700 metric tonnes, that is almost half of the DU generated at Urenco’s Almelo enrichment plant, is sent to the COVRA. The other half is dumped in Russia. In contrast with Urenco Almelo, the German Urenco facility in Gronau is disposing its uranium oxide in storage buildings – interim storage – at the facility. In 1999, Urenco Gronau filed an application for the construction of two storage buildings for its DU oxide waste. The buildings are to be designed for a capacity of 50,000 metric tonnes of uranium oxide.[22]

Greenpeace Russia has made a calculation of the costs for complete defluorization and burial of received DU oxide of Russia’s domestic DUF6 stocks and the imported DUF6 cylinders from Europe. They estimate that utilization of 1 million tons of DUF6 which Russia will accumulate by 2030 will cost US$ 5.7 billion. The launch of the conversion process “is scheduled to take place in 5 years which, under conditions of lack of financial guarantees and other conditions, makes the issue of depleted uranium hexafluoride [..] quite burning.”[23]

properties of depleted uranium metal
DU, in pure form, is a lustrous, silvery-white metal that is malleable, ductile, and softer than steel. DU alloy is extremely hard. DU is a very dense metal (19.0 g/cm3), 1.7 times more dense than lead. Just like all heavy metals uranium is chemically toxic. Uranium is not considered a chemical carcinogen. Recent studies, however, indicate that the toxicity of DU is comparable with nickel, which is recognized as a chemical carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the WHO, in Lyon.[24] (See Health section)

All forms of uranium are radioactive. Natural uranium and depleted uranium contain three isotopes, namely uranium-238 (U-238), uranium-235 (U-235), and uranium-234 (U-234). However, if the depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) contained uranium recycled from spent fuel, then the DU metal may be contaminated with traces of the artificial uranium isotopes uranium-236 and uranium-237, and radioisotopes such as neptunium-237 and plutonium-239. The radiological properties of DU are dominated by U-238 and the next two decay products of U-238, thorium-234 (Th-234) and protactinium-234 (Pa-234m). During the chemical conversion of DUF6 into DU metal the U-238 decay chain is broken and is broken again during the melting and processing of the metal into a DU metal product, for instance a tank round. Within a few months, the activity of thorium and protactinium grows and thereby by the total activity of DU. Depending on the grade of depleted the specific activity of DU (the radioactivity per unit weight) may vary from about 360 nanocuries/gram to about 450 nanocuries/gram. Note that DU is far more radioactive than uranium ore because the ore is mixed with large quantities of non-radioactive materials (except for the rare very rich ore mines in Canada).[25] Though the radiological properties of DU are often compared to natural uranium, one has to keep in mind that there aren’t any analogue compounds of DU oxides found in nature.[26]

U-238 emits alpha particles and some gamma rays. Its decay progeny Th-234 and Pa-234 each emit beta particles and gamma rays. An alpha particle is a fast helium ion, a beta particle is a high-speed electron and a gamma ray is like an X-ray. The radiation from these decay products should be added when assessing the dangers of DU. Leonard Dietz, a former scientific researcher at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Schenectady, New York, addressed in 1996 the extremely penetrating capacity of the protactinium beta-particles in body tissue: “[..] each one of these beta particles can traverse more than 500 body cells.”[27] The Royal Society (2001) recognized that the beta radiations from the decay products may constitute as much as 40 percent of the absorbed dose.[28] This additional risk is, however, not taken into account by the worldwide used biokinetic model for DU of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). Individuals involved in handling or processing DU generally wear heavy gloves to protect against the high-energy beta particle from protactinium-234m, which is remarkably only considered as a concern for skin exposure.

behavior DU oxides dust particles in the body and the risks
DU metal is a pyrophoric substance when it is finely divided, which means it spontaneously oxidizes in air into different forms of uranium oxides. DU metal is reactive, it burns at relative low temperatures. When a DU anti-tank shell hits an armored target, fine particles of uranium oxide dust are generated and dispersed at least tens of meters around the target. Since the 1991 Gulf War, in which DU weapons were used for the first time, the commonly accepted version on the potential hazardous properties of these DU oxide dust particles due to internal exposure is like this: when a person is exposed to DU oxide particles, these particles can enter the human body by ingestion and inhalation. The soluble particles can be a chemical hazard when they are ingested, the insoluble particles can be a radiological hazard for the lungs when they are inhaled. The major health concern is kidney damage caused by the chemical toxicity of soluble DU oxide particles. Only a small fraction of ingested soluble particles is absorbed into the blood from the intestines. The vast majority of the ingested soluble particles is eliminated rapidly through the intestines. These exposures generally are not significant in association with industrial emissions or environmental exposures. A second concern is when insoluble DU oxide dust particles are inhaled. They are generally deposited in the lungs and can remain there for a period of time, slowly absorbing into the blood and then being excreted in urine. The main concern of these insoluble compounds is increased cancer risk from the internal exposure to radioactivity. Ingested insoluble compounds are poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, and so generally have low toxicity.

In the past ten years, however, scientific investigations have shown that such version has become an untenable proposition. The U.S. Institute of Medicines notes: “Aerosol byproducts of DU munitions would primarily be the insoluble oxides uranium trioxide (UO3), triuranium octaoxide (U3O8), and uranium dioxide (UO2).”[29] (IOM 2000) These sparingly soluble compounds are chemotoxic as well as radiotoxic. Though it is generally accepted that DU oxides are particularly chemically toxic, more and more recent studies suggest that also the (neglected) radiological component of DU oxides has a role in DU oxides poisoning, for example in the development of tumors and cancer cells. (See Health paragraph)

applications of depleted uranium metal
Uranium is one of the heaviest occurring elements on earth. Civilian and military applications of DU are essentially related to its high density. In the civilian sector DU is mainly used as counterweights or balance weights in for instance rudders and flaps in commercial aircraft, in forklifts, in helicopter blades and the keels of sailing yachts. It is also used in substitution for lead in radiation shielding against X-rays or gamma rays (hospitals) and neutrons (spent fuel casks). DU was also used as a fluorescent additive in dental porcelain crowns (now discontinued). Though still marginal compared to the huge stockpiles, most of the DU is used for military purposes: in anti-tank shells and in tank armor. In the 1950’s, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) became interested in using DU metal in weapons because of its physical properties and availability. Besides extremely dense, DU is pyrophoric and cheap.[30] Besides non-nuclear applications, DU is also used in the nuclear sector. In fast breeder reactors (a reactor with a core of fissionable plutonium (Pu-239), surrounded by a layer of DU (U-238). It is used in mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel for light-water reactors, and it is used to dilute highly-enriched uranium from dismantled nuclear weapons in its conversion to reactor fuel.

DU can be also used in a hydrogen bomb. An H-bomb is a three-stage weapon: fission, fusion, and then fission again. The first stage is called the ‘trigger’, which is a small plutonium bomb. The explosion in the second stage is due to nuclear fusion in the central column. Heavy isotopes of hydrogen,  deuterium and tritium, are involved in this fusion reaction, which become available when neutrons from the explosion in the primary stage bombard a solid material called ‘lithium deuteride’ located in the central column. DU plays a role in powerful third stage. Extremely fast neutrons released by the fusion reaction are so powerful that they can split the atoms of U-238  (DU), which is impossible at normal energy levels. This third stage more than doubles the power of the explosion, and produces most of the radioactive fallout.[31]

[..] het tussenstuk dat hier thuishoort heb ik eerder hier gepost op dit weblog   [..]

Depleted uranium munitions used in wars

Gulf War (1991)
During the 1991 Gulf War 320 tons (291 metric tonnes) of DU was used by the U.S. and U.K. military. Most of the DU was used in the tank battles in the southern provinces, including the Greater Basra District, near the border with Kuwait. Around 95 percent of the total amount of DU was fired by the A-10 Thunderbolt II. The remaining part was fired by the US main battle tanks M60, M1 and M1A1 and the UK Challenger tank. In addition medium caliber DU antitank shells were fired by the fighting vehicles M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and the Light Armor Vehicles (LAV-25).[83]

Because of friendly fires or other accidents 29 vehicles were contaminated with DU. The first tank was shipped back to the Defense Consolidation Facility in Snelling, South Carolina, a low-level waste decontamination facility of the U.S. Army, close to the facility of EnergySolutions in Barnwell. Of the remaining 28 contaminated vehicles, 6 Bradley Fighting Vehicles were decontaminated and buried in Saudi Arabia. 13 Abrams tanks and 9 Bradley Fighting Vehicles-were sent back after the war to the Defense Consolidation Facility for decontamination. Despite extensive decontamination efforts, 6 vehicles had to be buried in a low level radioactive waste dump at Barnwell, South Carolina.[84]

More than 14,000 120 mm DU rounds were used during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. As many as 7,000 of these rounds may have been fired in practice, during the training in the sands of Saudi Arabia. Approximately 4,000 rounds were reportedly fired in combat. The remaining 3,000 rounds are losses that include a substantial loss in a fire at Doha, Kuwait.[85]

In Kuwait DU has been found at the sites of tank battles and storage areas with contaminated armored vehicles at military bases [86] Between February 2003 and June 2004 the US DoD contracted the US-based MKM Engineers (US$3.5m.) to retrieve DU remnants from the Udairi training range in northern Kuwait. The company recovered 22 tons of DU fragments. Unexploded DU ordnance was destroyed with Kuwaiti assistance. MKM also cleaned military equipment, including tanks, and wrapped them to contain surface contamination before sending them back to the U.S..[87,88] In 2007, (a company with yet another Orwellian name, HvdK) U.S. Ecology Idaho, Inc., a subsidiary of American Ecology Corporation, had been subcontracted to import and dispose 6,700 tons of DU contaminated soil from Kuwait. MKM Engineers segregate, characterize and repackage the DU contaminated soil for secured disposal in the U.S.. The contaminated soil is the result of a major fire which occurred at the U.S. Army Camp Doha base in July 1991. The residue of the burnt DU containing equipment and ordnance seeped into the soil. After excavating the soil, the waste material was segregated and sifted to remove any remaining DU penetrator fragments, shrapnel and other large DU contaminated debris. Soil with high levels of radioactive concentration were removed from the subject waste material. In May 2008, the waste material was sent for disposal to the US Ecology Idaho Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility in Idaho.[89] Nearly 80 rail cars loaded with contaminated sand from Kuwait are headed toward the dump in southwestern Idaho, 110 km southeast of Boise. The company has previously disposed of low-level radioactive waste and hazardous materials from U.S. military bases overseas at facilities in Idaho, Nevada and Texas. About a third of the material disposed at the Idaho site is from the U.S. military. The company disposed of uranium-contaminated Bradley fighting vehicles there in 2006.[90]

Bosnia-Herzegovina (1994/95)
In Bosnia almost 9 metric tonnes of DU was fired by US A-10 planes. Most of it was fired in the surroundings of Sarajevo.[91]

In October 2002 a UNEP team launched its first probe in Bosnia-Herzegovina into the effects of DU on the environment, seven years after NATO bombed Bosnian Serb forces to halt their siege of Sarajevo. The 17-member international team is to complete the study, estimated to cost US$300,000, by March 2003. The funds are provided by Switzerland and Italy.[92] The teams has investigated 15 sites in Bosnia-Herzegovina targeted with weapons containing DU  during the mid-1990s. The survey revealed the presence of radioactive “hot spots” and pieces of DU weapons at three sites – the Hadzici tank repair facility, the Hadzici ammunition storage area and the Han Pijesak barracks.[93] In March 2003, UNEP presented their report and confirms for the first time that DU from weapons used in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994 and 1995 has contaminated local supplies of drinking water at one site, and can still be found in dust particles suspended in the air. UNEP calls for precaution but assured the public that “the recorded contamination levels are very low and do not present immediate radioactive or toxic risks for the environment or human health […].” At the site of the Hadzici tank repair facility, which had been hit by 1500 DU rounds in September 1995, traces of DU were found in water from two wells. At two sites, the Hadzici tank repair facility (see above), and the Han Pijesak Artillery Storage and Barracks (hit by 2400 DU rounds in Sept. 1995), DU was detected in air samples.[94] In 2006, a publication in the Bosnian journal of basic medical sciences mentions elevated chromosome aberrations among 26 employees of the Hadzici tank repair facility.[95]

Kosovo/ Serbia/Montenegro (1999)
During the Kosovo War US A-10s fired 8.4 ton of DU, especially in the southern part of Kosovo.[96]

In January 2001, NATO released the locations of DU use in Kosovo.[97] In March 2001, the European Commission received the opinion of the group of scientific experts, established according to Article 31 of the Euratom Treaty, on the possible radiological health effects of DU. On the basis of the information available to date, the experts have concluded that radiological exposure to DU could not result in a detectable effect on human health. An Italian panel reached the same conclusion as the experts who worked for the European Commission: there is no proven link between DU and cancer in soldiers. The Italian panel, however, recommended the continued monitoring of soldiers’ health. The incidence of cancers among Italian soldiers who served in Bosnia and Kosovo was lower than the normal incidence of such tumors in the overall population. However, the rate of Hodgkin’s disease was higher than expected – nine instead of four cases – as well as that of acute lymphatic leukemia – two instead of the expected incidence of one. But those findings were not statistically significant.[98] In the same month UNEP releases its final report on DU in Kosovo. The UN organization reported that no widespread ground contamination was found in the investigated areas. However, concerns are raised about the risk of future DU contamination of groundwater and drinking water.[99]

Besides Kosovo, also areas in Serbia and Montenegro were hit by DU penetrators. in June 2001, Pekka Haavisto, chairman of the UNEP mission to Kosovo, reported during an expert meeting that cleaning of the DU impact site at Cape Arza on the Lustica peninsula in Montenegro is underway. During deep cleaning of the soil down to 90 cm, 77 penetrators have been recovered, so far. The government of Montenegro has allocated around 330,000 Swiss Francs (US$ 200,000) for this purpose.[100] At the end of May 1999, NATO aircraft targeted Cape Arza on Lustica Peninsula in Montenegro. They fired 480 rounds, most of them containing DU. A systematic survey and decontamination of Cape Arza was carried out in 2001 and 2002. An area of 45,000 m2 was surveyed, and DU contamination was found on 18,000 m2, with 486 contamination points. In total, 242 whole DU penetrators and 49 fragments (75 kg of DU) were found and disposed of safely. Approximately 7 tons of contaminated material (aluminum jackets, soil, pieces of rocks, dead leaves and needles) were also removed.[101]

After their work in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, UNEP  start investigating DU sites in Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia by the end of October 2001.[102] At the end of March 2002 UNEP released their findings.[103] At several locations DU penetrators or remnants were found. In September 2003, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Andjelka Mihajlov said that the remnants of more than 200 DU bullets have been found in an area near Presevo in southern Serbia., about 280 km southeast of Belgrade.  The government commissioned a team of experts to clean the site and three other sites. A month later Mihajlov said that results of the environmental radioactivity measurements in 2002 show that a risk of increased radioactivity was registered only in southern Serbia, in Bratoselce, Pljackovica, Borovac and Reljan, where the largest number of DU munitions were fired during the NATO bombing.[104] The clean-up of some 5,000 square meters of land in the village of Bratoselce near Bujanovac was finished in November  2003. The inspection team performing the task discovered around 100 kg of DU in the soil and stored some 2.5 tons of contaminated earth in the Vinca institute’s facilities. The Serbian government funded the project with 15 million dinars (US$ 260,000).[105] In Bovorac, 280 kilometers south of Belgrade and hit by 44 DU rounds, the clean-up had been completed in December 2006. The Serbian Environment Ministry said that 3,468 m3 of contaminated soil were removed from the Borovac site.[106] The cleanup operation in Reljan near Presevo in southern Serbia began in October 2006. A total of 161 DU rounds had been recovered adding that 6.5 out of 12 hectares of contaminated grounds had been searched and cleared. A total of 2.4 cubic meters of contaminated soil had also been collected and removed. The Serbian government has funded the cleanup operation with € 350,000 (some US$ 450,000).[107] In April 2008, a Serbian minister said that Serbia had been cleared of DU left from NATO anti-tank shells.[108]

Iraq (2003)
DU was also used during the 2003 Iraq war. The US and UK military used 77 ton of DU. In contrast with the 1991 Gulf War most of the DU was mainly fired in urban areas.[109]

A manual of the German Army (Bundeswehr), handed over to German campaigners, challenges US and UK denials over DU use in Afghanistan. If true, it runs counter to repeated assurances given by the US military that no DU was used. The manual, a war-fighting guide for Bundeswehrcontigents in Afghanistan is marked classified and for official NATO use only. It was written by the Bundeswehr’s Centre for Communication and published in late 2005. Campaigners have long suspected that the US military has not been entirely candid over the issue and papers have emerged showing that DU munitions were transported to Afghanistan. The use of A10 Warthog aircraft – one of the main users of DU ammunition – remains widespread to this day, although the number of armored targets is now much diminished. Estimates by Jane’s Defence in 2003 suggested that the Taliban had at least 100 main battle tanks and 250 armored fighting vehicles at the beginning of the conflict. It would be unusual if the US Army had chosen not to engage these targets with DU munitions from the air. The report said: “During the operation ”Enduring Freedom” in support of the Northern Alliance against the Taliban-Regime, US-aircraft used, amongst others, armour-piercing incendiary munitions with a DU-core.” (ICBUW – 21 July 2009)[110]

Developments since the 1991 Gulf War

After the 1991 Gulf War DU poisoning was and is an important issue for veterans. They succeeded to get attention for their problems in the media. By the end of the 1990s Robert Fisk, a senior journalist of the British Daily The Independent wrote several shocking reports on what is happening in the Greater Basra District, on the high rates of cancers and birth defects. The global media attention started with a media hype about the high rate of cancers among Kosovo veterans in January 2001. In the same year (and partly in 2002) a whole stack of literature studies on uranium contamination and the possible health effects was released, including the reports from the World Health Organization, NATO and the Royal Society.

In May 2002, a commission of researchers, appointed by the Italian Ministry of Defense, started a study on 16 Italian soldiers who developed Hodgkin’s lymphoma after returning from the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Kosovo. They have no explanation for excess incidence of Hodgkin’s lymphoma among Italian Balkans’ soldiers. In July 2002, the commission found no correlation between the tumors observed and DU. In June 2004, An Italian court in Rome awarded €500,000 compensation to a  widow of an Italian soldier, Stefano Melone, who had served in the Balkans. He died in 2001 at the age of 40 from a rare form of cancer.[111] In November 2004, the Italian Senate cleared the way for a parliamentary committee of inquiry into the causes of deaths and severe illnesses among Italian soldiers participating in international missions, and into the possible use of depleted uranium weapons in domestic military practice.

scientific uncertainties and gaps in knowledge
Meanwhile the United Nation’s environmental organization (UNEP) have published several reports on DU contaminations in the Balkans (and later in Iraq). The researchers are concerned on the impact of DU in the long-term for drinking water and food supply in the contaminated areas. During the 2003 Iraq War UNEP urged for sending scientific teams immediately after the war. In a press release UNEP states – on the basis of their surveys in Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro, and Bosnia Herzegovina – that there remains a number of scientific uncertainties that has to be investigated. For example the extent in which DU oxide is penetrating into the soil and possibly contaminates the groundwater. And the possibility that DU oxide dust can whirl up in the air by the wind or by human activities, including the risk that it can be inhaled. For obvious reasons the mission could not be carried out.[112] After the declarations from the Pentagon suggesting that it wasn’t needed to clear up DU contaminated areas, the Royal Society chairman of the commission on DU Dr. Brian Spratt responded: “Soldiers and civilians are running risks in the short term as well as in the long term. In particular children who are living in the contaminated areas are at risk.”[113]

A publication on increased incidence of chromosomal aberrations in residents of a DU-contaminated site in Southern Serbia was published in the scientific journal Environmental Research in May 2004. The authors analyzed blood samples of residents from three locations in Southern Serbia that were target areas for DU ammunition in 1999: Bujanovac – Vranje, Kosovo – Strpce, and Pljackovica – Przar. A statistically significant increased incidence of rogue cells and chromosomal aberrations was found in the blood of the residents of Vranje and Bujanovac.[114]

Another Journal report dramatic increase of uranium leaching rates from corroding DU penetrators after three years. The authors observed high U-238 concentrations in seepage water and said it   highlight the need for further investigations on the transport of DU through soil, in particular with regard to the potential future DU contamination of groundwater in areas affected by DU weapons.[115]

In October 2003, an international alliance of organization founded the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) in Berlaar, Belgium. Their lobbying activities are especially focused on the United Nations, particular the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2009 they received funds from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct a Basra Epidemiological Study and to perform a study on proliferation of DU weapons. More information can be found on their website.[116]

Health risks of depleted uranium oxides (DUO)

The greatest risk with the use of DU in antitank shells is carried by the dispersion of large amounts of very finely divided dust particles of uranium oxides that are released after impact of these projectiles on a hard target. The dust particles are toxic and radioactive. Via the lungs, the stomach and intestinal tract or open wounds the tiny particles are found in the human body. In arid areas, such as in Iraq, these particles can whirl up by disruption until many years after the hostilities and yet lead to contamination. The contaminated sites in Iraq from the 1991 Gulf War are still a potential risk for the local population and the foreign troops that are stationed there.

An Iraq survey found DU in large amounts in southern Iraq, including in Hilla, the port city of Basra, and Karbala and Najaf. Much of the scrap metal now being taken outside of Iraq for sale may be contaminated with depleted uranium, especially if it was hit by bombs during the war or in earlier conflicts, the environment minister said in October 2004.[117]

In November 2004, IRIN News report: “Iraqi environmental scientists investigating radioactive pollution around Basra are finding alarmingly high levels of radiation left by the use of DU in recent wars. But given the lack of a permanent, elected government in Iraq and poor security, they are finding it difficult to get permission to remove contaminated material amid growing instances of cancer and birth defects in the area. [..] They found children playing near a site with two contaminated Iraqi tanks, which was then fenced off and marked by warning signs. According to local residents, the area was a military target during the 1991 Gulf war and again in 2003, when it came under heavy fire from US aircraft.”

The article reported that 22 DU-polluted tanks were found in an area 5 km away from Basra city, close to the Iranian border, in December 2003. Earlier, DU contaminated tanks were found in  Muthana, Abu al-Kahsib and in Samawa.

Doctors in Basra have registered an increase of incidences of colon cancer and thyroid cancer, in addition to leukemia and lymphomas. IRIN News: <<According to Dr Janan Hassan, an obstetrician at the Basra Maternity and Children’s Hospital, malignancies and leukemia among children under the age of 15 have more than tripled since 1990. Whereas in 1990 young children accounted for only 13 percent of cancer cases, today over 56 percent of all cancer in Iraq occurs among children under the age of five.

“Also, it is notable that the number of babies born with defects is rising astonishingly. In 1990, there were seven cases of babies with multiple congenital anomalies. This has gone up to as high as 224 cases in the past three years,” she said.

Dr Jawad al-Ali, director of the Oncology Centre of Sadr Educational Hospital in Basra, told IRIN that there were a number of cases that led some doctors to assume DU’s adverse effects on human health in Iraq.

“There has been a sharp rise in cancer, birth defects, miscarriage, and in neurological disorders, muscular disease and kidney failure; causes have not been identified but they could be assumed to be caused by the toxicity of DU munitions,” the doctor said.
“There has been a sharp rise in cancer, birth defects, miscarriage, and in neurological disorders, muscular disease and kidney failure; causes have not been identified but they could be assumed to be caused by the toxicity of DU munitions,” the doctor said.>> (full text: see link)
More reports can be found on IRIN News: <>

Al Jazeera reported on 13 October 2009: “In 2008, the number of cancer victims increased sevenfold to 7,000 diagnoses. This year, there have so far been more than 9,000 new cases, and the number is rising.[118]

new insights on DU poisoning
Today we can come to the conclusion that there has been done pioneering research into the health effects of internal contamination with DU oxides (DUO). Besides the lungs, the kidneys and the bones, it has been proved that also the brains is a target organ of DUO. The assumption of a link between uranium and neurological damage takes back to at least the mid 1980s. Relatively recently has been determined that DU can pass the blood-brain barrier and accumulates in the brain. This route has not yet been incorporated in the current biokinetic model of the ICRP. Besides the chemical toxicity also the radiological component of DUO is more and more named as a cause for harmful effect on the central nervous system.[119] It has been proven that DU causes irreversible damage to the hereditary material and by which tumors can be aroused. (see next paragraph)

At the male sex DUO can accumulate in the testicles; at pregnant women DUO can pass the placenta and accumulate in the fetus / embryo. In the first case it has been found that uranium is concentrating in the testicles and that there were be found high levels of DU in the sperm of male Gulf War veterans. The investigation at women has been less made progress. In any case it has been determined that DU can pass the placenta and accumulates in fetal and embryonic tissue. Fetuses and embryos are yet one stage more susceptible for ionizing radiation than children. Though according to available epidemiological data there haven’t been shown any negative influence on the reproduction success of the veterans that have been exposed, researchers of the Royal Society notice that the concentration of DU in the testicles give cause for concern in connection with the possible synergistic effects of DU.[120]

DUO dust particles are often wrongfully compared with the uranium dust that is released at uranium mining or with uranium minerals that are present everywhere on earth by nature. That is tantamount to comparing apples with pears. There aren’t existing any analogue compounds of DUO in nature.[26] The DU oxides that arise are predominantly insoluble substances. This means that the particles that end up in the lungs are staying much longer in the body that the soluble forms of uranium oxides. The part that is left behind in the body and passes the lung-blood barrier after a number of years, finally accumulates for dozens of years in the bones, brains, kidneys and in other body tissues or organs.

Besides the chemotoxic and radiotoxic effects of DU, there is also talk of the so-called “bystander effect”. This effect wasn’t discovered, but uncovered. Looking back in literature one can find early evidences. Until recently the bystander effect didn’t fit in the dogmas of radiation experts, by which it took a long time before the theory was generally accepted. For a long time it was assumed that only the body cells that were irradiated with alpha particles (DU emits alpha radiation) should experience damage from these ionizing radiation. The bystander effect shows that also neighboring non-irradiated cells can yet experience the same kind of damage as the irradiated cells (mutations or gaps in the hereditary material). The mechanism at the bottom of this hasn’t been yet completely revealed.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has determined that inhaling of 10 mg of DU oxides can cause health problems and has to lead automatically to testing. The UK says that 8 mg is hazardous for workers in the nuclear industry and that more than 2 mg is unacceptable for the general public. The World Health Organization (WHO)  considers a daily intake of 0.6 µg per kg body weight acceptable for swallowed uranium (a person of 68 kg has therefore a daily limit of 40 µg).

The toxicity of DU oxides is especially associated with damage to the kidneys. This, however, is based on examine to the effects of soluble forms of DU oxides, while the insoluble forms – such as the dust particles that are discussed here – are in the first place a hazard for the lungs and in the long term also for other tissues or organs.

The British scientist Randall Parrish and his team showed how long these DUO particles remains in the body. Not a year, like was told ten years ago. In 2007 his team did a survey among former workers and the people living in the neighborhood of a former munitions plant at which until 1980 DU anti-tank shells were produced. They found that almost everyone has ‘systemic’ DUO in their bodies.[121]

DU oxides cause damage to the genes, mutations and tumors [122]

The Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI), a research institute that is directly linked to the Pentagon, has provided under skilful leadership of Dr. Alexandra Miller a substantial contribution in the understanding of the effects of DU on cell level. Her studies have provided proof that DU oxides can cause damage to the DNA, are carcinogenic, and that they accumulate in the lymph nodes and the testicles.

The relative role of the radiobiological and the chemical components of the genetical damage caused by DUO is an important issue, because there is almost exclusively focused on the chemical hazards and that the radiobiological danger can be dealt with as of secondary importance.
In three successive publications in 2002 Miller and her colleagues could provide more clarification on the chemical and radiobiological properties of DUO and how these have a relation with the observed genetical damage. From these studies the image rises that ionizing radiation can play a role at the genetical effects. The team of Miller speculates that DUO can initiate as well as promote tumors. The initiation could be caused by the alpha radiation of uranium-238 (the main component of DU) and the spread of the cancer could be the consequence of chemically induced damage to the DNA.

Children in particular are running high risks in relation to the mutagenic and carcinogenic nature of uranium. The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) state that ionizing radiation interferes with a high grade of cell divisions. Tissues like brain, thyroid gland and breast appears to be more susceptible for radiation when they were exposed during normal periods of quick growth (this is in the early childhood or during the puberty).

[01] 1 t of UF6 is equivalent to 0.676 t U.
[02] Depleted Uranium Inventories
[03] The WISE Uranium Project (2006) “Depleted/Enriched Uranium Fraction Calculator,”
[04] Makhijani, Arjun  Ph.D. et al., Uranium Enrichment – Just Plain Facts to Fuel an Informed Debate on Nuclear Proliferation and Nuclear Power, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), 15 October 2004. p.38
[05] The five recognized nuclear weapons states are China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States.
[06] U.S. NRC 10 CFR 40.4 Definitions
[07] U.S. NRC Fact Sheet on Depleted Uranium and Other Waste Disposal
[06] The 11th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, September 2-6, 2007, Bruges (Brugge), Belgium. p.55
[08] Re-enrichment of West European Depleted Uranium Tails in Russia. Report prepared for Ecodefense Russia by Peter Diehl, November 2004.
[09] Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Alternative Strategies for the Long-Term Management and Use of Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride, U.S. Department of Energy, DOE/EIS-0269, April 1999. Quotation from WISE Uranium Project:
[10] More information on the current developments of DUcreteTM can be found here:
[11] Schwertz, N. et al.; Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride: Waste or Resource? This paper was prepared for submittal to the Global ’95 International Conference on Evaluation of Emerging Nuclear Fuel Cycle Systems. Versailles, France. September 11-14, 1995 p.5
[12] Audit Report – Potential Uses for Depleted Uranium Oxide, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Inspector General Office of Audit Services. DOE/IG-0810 January 2009
[13] Knoxville News Sentinel Dec. 18, 2006
[14] An extended overview of the US LLW Classifications can be viewed here:
Regulatory Status of Commercial and Military Waste Generated in the US Nuclear Fuel Cycle
[15] The NRC’s September 2-3, 2009, workshop on Depleted Uranium Waste Rulemaking
Arjun Makhijani’s notes – Published on 22 September 2009
[16] Federal Register: June 20, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 117) p. 35461-35462
U.S. NRC, 15 June, 2005
[17] EnergySolutions
[18] Not such conventional weapons
Operation Desert Storm: Army Not Adequately Prepared to Deal with Depleted Uranium Contamination. GAO/NSIAD-93-90; General Accounting Office (GAO), (January 1993).
Environmental Exposure Report
[19] Associated Press, 22 September 2009; The Salt Lake Tribune, 6 August 2009
[20] LES’s Flawed Waste Disposal Plan. Public Citizen, 2003
Makhijani PhD., Arjun, and Smith Ph.D., Brice; Costs and Risks of Management and Disposal of Depleted Uranium from the National Enrichment Facility Proposed to be Built in Lea County New Mexico by LES. Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, 24 November, 2004. Version for Public Release Redacted 20 March, 2007.
[21] Greenwire, 20 March 2009
Depleted Uranium Activity
[22] Beschikking Urenco Nederland B.V. voor het wijzigen van de verrijkingsfabrieken te Almelo (Verhoging verrijkingscapaciteit en revisie vergunning), Ministerie van VROM, Directoraat-Generaal Milieu Directie Stoffen, Afvalstoffen, Straling Straling, Nucleaire en Bioveiligheid, Den Haag, 15 oktober 2007.
Urenco News Magazine Autumn 2008.
Beantwoording Kamervragen Remi Poppe:
Gronauer Nachrichten, April 30, 1999; Westfälische Nachrichten July 31, 1999.
[23] UF6 reprocessing: is it profitable?
[24] IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Volume 49 – Chromium, Nickel and Welding – Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation. 5 November 1997
[25] Makhijani, Annie; and Makhijani, Arjun; Comments of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research on the Department of Energy Notice of Intent addressing the Alternative Strategies for the Long-Term Management and Use of Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride, 22 March 1996.
Uranium Radiation Properties (WISE Uranium Project)
[26] Baverstock, Keith; Presentation to the Defence Committee of the Belgian House of Representatives: 20 November 2006. p.3
[27] Dietz, Leonard A.; Contamination of Persian Gulf War Veterans and Others by Depleted Uranium, July 19, 1996 (last updated Feb. 21, 1999)
[28] The health hazards of depleted uranium munitions Part I. The Royal Society, 2001.
p.33 (Table 3), p.63
[29] Gulf War and Health: Volume 1. Depleted Uranium, Pyridostigmine Bromide, Sarin, and Vaccines. Institute of Medicine (IOM). The U.S. National Academies Press, 2000. p.98
[30] Fahey, Dan; Depleted Uranium Weapons: Lessons from the 1991 Gulf War. Chapter 2 in: Depleted Uranium A Post-War Disaster For Environment And Health. Laka Foundation, Amsterdam, May 1999. p.10
[31] How To Make an H-Bomb (or Thermonuclear bomb)


[83] Environmental Exposure Report: Depleted Uranium in the Gulf. Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, U.S. Department of Defense; July 31, 1998; Tab F – DU use in the Gulf War
U.K.: < 1 ton
U.K. Ministry of Defence
[84] Operation Desert Storm – Army Not Adequately Prepared to Deal With Depleted Uranium Contamination. U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), GAO/NSIAD-93-90, January 1993. p.6
Peterson, S.; “Special Report: Part 2 – Pentagon stance on DU a moving target – Tungsten: One alternative to a risky ‘favorite round’?.” Christian Science Monitor, 30 April 1999.
TAB G — DU Exposures in the Gulf War
[85] Health and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium Use in the US Army; US Army Environmental Policy Institute (AEPI), June 1995
[86] IAEA, The Radiological Conditions in Areas of Kuwait with Residues of Depleted Uranium. Vienna, 2001, p.22 and pp.30-31
[87] Patel, Purva; “Where others fear to tread; firm cleans up with dirty work,” The Houston Chronicle, 17 August 2004.
[88] Williams, Thomas D., Weapons Dust Worries Iraqis; Provisional Government Seeks Cleanup; U.S. Downplays Risks, Hartford Courant (Connecticut), 1 November 2004
[89] Request for a Classification, Country of Origin and Marking Ruling, HQ H018547, U.S. International Trade Commission Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule. 12 December, 2007
[90] Contaminated sand from Kuwait heads to US. Kuwait Times, 5 May 2008
[91] U.S. Department of Defense confirms Depleted Uranium use in Bosnia 1994/1995, (quoted from WISE Uranium project: “In U.S.-led NATO air strikes against Bosnia in 1994 and 1995, about 10,800 rounds were fired around Sarajevo, Kenneth Bacon, chief spokesman for U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen said. (AP Jan 4, 2001). This figure had first been reported by Italian Defence Minister Sergio Mattarella on December 22, 2000. (AFP Dec. 22, 2000). 10,800 rounds at 271 g each contain a total of 2927 kg of depleted uranium.)
[92] UNEP release 14 October 2002; AP 15 October 2002
[93] UNEP release Nov. 11, 2002
[94] UNEP release 25 Mar 2003
Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment, United Nations Environment Programme, March 2003
Current Issues – Depleted Uranium Weapons in the Balkans
[95] Ibrulj, S et al.; Chromosome aberrations as bioindicators of environmental genotoxicity; Bosnian journal of basic medical sciences.Vol.7, No.4. November 2007. pp.311-316
[96] NATO confirms details of DU ammunition use in Kosovo.
[97] tables:
Kosovo map:
See also UNEP’s overview map of 112 targeted sites:
[98] Opinion of the Group of Experts Established According to Article 31 of the Euratom Treaty – Depleted Uranium, 6 March 2001.
AP, 19 March 2001
[99] Depleted Uranium in Kosovo, Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment, UNEP 2001
[100] ZuerichExpress, 5 Jan 2001.
[101] Vukotic, P. et al.; Survey and Decontamination of Cape Arza, Targeted with Depleted Uranium Ammunition, 11th International Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association,  Madrid, Spain, 23-28 May 2004
[102] Advertiser, 29 October 2001
[103] UNEP release 27 March 2002
Depleted Uranium in Serbia and Montenegro – Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, UNEP, Geneva, March 2002.
[104] Kathimerini, 24 September 2003
Serbian Government 14 October 2003
[105] Serbian Government, 10 November 2003
[106] AP, 13 December 2005
[107] Xinhua, 12 December 2006
[108] AP, 22 April 2008
[109] U.S.: 75 ton (UK MoD)
Remains of toxic bullets litter Iraq
U.K.: 1,9 ton
[110] German Bundeswehr manual challenges US and UK denials over depleted uranium in Afghanistan
Zentrum für Nachrichtenwesen der Bundeswehr: Leitfaden für Bundeswehrkontingente in Afghanistan, Stand: 11/2005, p. 1-11
[111] Reuters, 9 May 2002; Swissinfo, 9 July 2002
Der Standard, La Nazione, 23 June 2004
[112] UNEP Press Release, 6 April 2003
[113] The Guardian, 17 april 2003
[114] Milacic, S. et al.; Examination of the health status of populations from depleted-uranium-contaminated regions; in: Environmental Research 2004, Vol. 95, No. 1 (May), p. 2-10
[115] Schimmack, W. et al.; Long-term corrosion and leaching of depleted uranium (DU) in soil. Radiation and Environmental Biophysics, August 2007, Vol. 46 (No. 3), p. 221-227
[116] International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW)
[117] IRAQ: Radioactive material and pollutants widespread. 21 September 2004 (IRIN)
IRAQ: Interview with new environment minister. 29 October 2004 (IRIN)
[118] IRAQ: High levels of radioactive pollution seen in the south. 18 November 2004 (IRIN)
Iraqi cancer figures soar, Al Jazeera English, 13 October 2009
[119] Briner, W. and J. Murray (2005) “Effects of short-term and long-term depleted uranium exposure on open-field behavior and brain lipid oxidation in rats,” Neurotoxicology and Teratology, vol. 27, pp. 135-44:
Bussy, C. et al., The brain is a target organ after acute exposure to depleted uranium,
Toxicology 212 (2005) 219–226
Bussy, C. et al., Changes in sleep–wake cycle after chronic exposure to uranium in rats,
Neurotoxicology and Teratology 27 (2005) 835 – 840
Bussy, C. et al., Chronic ingestion of uranyl nitrate perturbs acetylcholinesterase
activity and monoamine metabolism in male rat brain. NeuroToxicology 27 (2006) 245–252
Lemercier, V et. al., “Study of uranium transfer across the blood-brain barrier”, in: Radiation Protection Dosimetry Vol. 105 (2003), Nos. 1-4, p. 243-245
[120] Arfsten, Daryl P. et al. Evaluation of the effect of implanted depleted uranium on male reproductive success, sperm concentration, and sperm velocity. Environmental Research, Volume 100, Issue 2, February 2006, Pages 205-215
Hindin, Rita, “Teratogenicity of depleted uranium aerosols: A review from an epidemiological
Perspective, Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source 2005, 26 Aug 2005
Article URL
Domingo, J.L., “Reproductive and developmental toxicity of natural and depleted uranium: a review,” Reproductive Toxicology, vol. 15 (2001), pp. 603-9
[121] Randall Parrish, et al. “Depleted uranium contamination by inhalation exposure and its detection after approximately
20 years: implications for human health assessment.” Sci Total Environ. 2008 Feb 1;390(1):58-68. Epub 2007 Oct 31.
[122] Alexandra C. Miller, et al. “Potential late health effects of depleted uranium and tungsten used in armor-piercing munitions: Comparison of neoplastic transformation and genotoxicity with the known carcinogen nickel.” Military medicine, v. 167, Supplement 1 (Feb. 2002). pp. 120-122.
Alexandra C. Miller, et al. “Observation of radiation-specific damage in human cells exposed to depleted uranium: dicentric frequency and neoplastic transformation as endpoints.” Radiation protection dosimetry, v. 99, nos.1-4 (2002). pp. 275-278.
Alexandra C. Miller, et al. “Depleted uranium-catalyzed oxidative DNA damage: absence of significant alpha particle decay.” Journal of inorganic biochemistry, v. 91 (2002). pp. 246-252.
Alexandra C. Miller, et al. “Genomic instability in human osteoblast cells after exposure to depleted uranium: delayed lethality and micronuclei formation.” Journal Of Environmental Radioactivity, v. 64, nos. 2-3 (2003). pp. 247-259. “Sp. Iss. SI.”
Alexandra C. Miller, et al. “Effect of the militarily-relevant heavy metals, depleted uranium and heavy metal tungsten alloy on gene expression in human liver carcinoma cells (HepG2). Molecular and cellular biochemistry, v. 255 (2004). pp. 247-256.
Alexandra C. Miller, et al. “Potential health effects of the heavy metals, depleted uranium and tungsten, used in armorpiercing munitions: comparison of neoplastic transformation, mutagenicity, genomic instability, and oncogenesis.” Metal ions in biology and medicine, v. 6 (2000). pp. 209-211.
Alexandra C. Miller, et al. “Effect of the militarily-relevant heavy metals, depleted uranium and heavy metal tungstenalloy on gene expression in human liver carcinoma cells (HepG2). Molecular and cellular biochemistry, v. 255 (2004). pp. 247-256.
Miller AC, McClain D. (2007 Jan-Mar). “A review of depleted uranium biological effects: in vitro and in vivo studies”. Rev Environ Health 22 (1): 75-89. PMID 17508699.
Schröder, Heike, et. al., “Chromosome aberration analysis in peripheral lymphocytes of Gulf War and Balkans War veterans”, in: Radiation Protection Dosimetry Vol. 103 (2003), No. 3, p. 211-219
Virginia H. Coryell and Diane M. Stearns, Molecular Analysis of hprt Mutations Generated in Chinese Hamster Ovary EM9 Cells by Uranyl Acetate, by Hydrogen Peroxide, and Spontaneously.
Molecular Carcinogenesis 45:60–72 (2006)

Depleted Uranium reports

Uranium ends up with scrap metal dealer


VRT nieuws (English) | 22/12/2013 | Colin Clapson

Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) has provided further details about the after low radioactive waste from two Boeing 747s ended up with a scrap metal dealer. The FANC says that the depleted uranium is still intact and as a result as yet there has not been any impact on the environment.

The depleted uranium came from two Boeings at Ostend Airport. Some of the uranium was retrieved from a container at the airport. The rest was sent to a scrap metal dealer, but because he failed to notify the FANC it started an investigation.

Kortrijk prosecutors that are responsible for environmental crimes in West Flanders Province are now awaiting the completion of the FANC’s investigation before deciding on any court action. An official from the Kortrijk prosecutor’s office told the Belgian press agency Belga: “When that investigation is complete, we will see which legislation governing waste management and ionising radiation has been violated. If criminal acts have been committed, we will prosecute.”

Depleted uranium is used as ballast in the tail of aircraft to provide a counterweight. An aircraft usually contains some 850 kilos of low radioactive waste.

Cover-up of effects of depleted uranium weapons on West’s soldiers and Iraqi citizens

West covering up depleted uranium use in wars: Webre   6 Dec 13 Press TV has conducted an interview with Alfred Lambremont Webre, an international lawyer in Vancouver, concerning the rising number of suicide rates among Canadian war veterans.

The following is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Mr. Webre, first of all, who would you blame for this rising trend that we are seeing among these war veterans? Is it because the situation is not being treated when they come back home? Can this issue even be pursued through legal channels?

Webre: Yes, the cause of this was very squarely pointed out in the final opinion of the Tokyo International Tribunal for war crimes in Afghanistan. In their final opinion, they stated that the US forces used depleted uranium weapons in Afghanistan in the manner that Zyklon B gas was used across Europe as a weapon of mass murder in Afghanistan calculated to destroy all the living species exposed.

And so what has been found is that exposure to the ionizing radiation in depleted uranium weapons has been felt both by the targeted victims of Afghanistan but also by the Canadian, by the US and by the UK troops who have had to handle the depleted uranium weapons and who have been in the proximity of the ionizing radiation there.

And it is now known that the [Persian] Gulf War syndrome was caused by large-scale use of depleted uranium weapons against Iraq in 1991 so that 70 percent of [Persian] Gulf War veterans have now had children born after the [Persian] Gulf War with mutations, deformities, genetic [dis]orders and suffer from the same syndromes that go on to produce suicides.

And so there are more that one million US veterans that are on total disability now because of exposure to depleted uranium so that all of the suicides in the Canadian armed forces from Afghanistan are from exposure to ionizing radiation of depleted uranium weapons to which they were not trained and the controllers of the allied armed forces used these depleted uranium weapons knowingly in the words of the International Tokyo Tribunal to cause crimes against humanity, genocide and omnicide.And omnicide is a word, the killing of all living things, the genome of all living things including humans, animals and plants and now this is coming home with the suicides of the Canadian forces and the suicides in the American and the British forces and all of the deformed babies and offspring in these soldiers but the greatest tragedy is in Iraq and Afghanistan itself.

Press TV: With what you are saying and the evidence to support it, do you think this issue can be raised in international courts? Or do you think the US could be standing accountable for the use of depleted uranium and the effects that it is having or is going to have?

Webre: Both Iraq and Afghanistan, in my judgment, should immediately go at the international level and break open the courts of justice at the International Criminal Court and other venues and we know those successful legal venues in international organizations to secure damages for what has been called a silent genocide.

This is a complete cover-up by the US, the UK and Canadian forces and also because Canadian uranium has been exported illegally against the Canadian nuclear commission regulations in which no Canadian uranium may be used in weapons and all depleted uranium in US and UK depleted uranium weapons is Canadian uranium and Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, has knowingly allowed this to go forward.

No Link Found Between Illness And Depleted Uranium

Legion Magazine | November 29, 2013 by Sharon Adams

There is no strong research linking exposure to depleted uranium to health problems of veterans, yet those problems are real and deserve further research, concludes a report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. 

Several veterans who believe their health conditions are linked to exposure to depleted uranium took their protests public, sparking former Veterans Affairs minister Steven Blaney to commission a scientific advisory committee to study the issue. That report, delivered in January, concluded depleted uranium is potentially harmful, but “it is not associated with a large or frequent health effect.”

Although incomplete military records make it impossible to tell where and when individuals were deployed, and there is no way currently to accurately measure soldiers’ exposure, the advisory committee concluded it is unlikely Canadian soldiers have been exposed to harmful levels of depleted uranium (DU).

That left veterans hanging. To qualify for benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), veterans must provide a diagnosis and proof of a link between military service and their illness or injury.

Depleted uranium is used as tank armour and tank-piercing ammunition. It becomes hazardous when it burns, creating dust that can be breathed in by troops exposed to burning vehicles, salvaging damaged vehicles or in clean-up operations.

The Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA) conducted its own study, examining peer-reviewed and less rigorous scientific studies and hearing evidence from expert witnesses and veterans. Opposing positions emerged. Expert witnesses agreed with the scientific advisory committee’s conclusions, while veterans were critical, citing omissions and questioning the advisory committee’s impartiality.

Retired naval lieutenant Louise Richard served as a nurse in the Gulf War in 1991, where depleted uranium ammunition was used, and personnel were also exposed to various inoculations, medications to protect against nerve gas exposure, pesticides, toxic smoke from burning oil wells as well as patients with communicable diseases.

Sick personnel left the services “undiagnosed, misdiagnosed…untreated,” she said. “Our symptoms, illnesses and concerns have been minimized, belittled, ignored.” Medical documentation to support benefit claims is often missing. Record keeping in a war zone is not always easy.

ACVA, made up of a dozen members of Parliament and chaired by Nova Scotian Greg Kerr, concluded that at present there is no clear scientific evidence linking exposure to depleted uranium to adverse health effects.  However, the report, titled Depleted Uranium and Canadian Veterans, acknowledges that still leaves sick veterans waiting for answers. These veterans “would benefit more from research conducted…away from depleted uranium.” It recommends the federal government support research focusing on treatment of illnesses that have complex or poorly understood causes, but that can “in all likelihood” be attributed to military services.

The report recommends VAC seek scientific advice on links between military service and veterans’ health problems from independent organizations such as the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research. It also notes VAC needs to clarify its process for using scientific evidence to establish or disprove a connection between military service and medical conditions.

“Public policy needs to be supported by credible research,” said Andrea Siew, director of The Royal Canadian Legion’s Dominion Command Service Bureau in Ottawa. However, she added, “the government has been slow to accept credible research,” citing the Institute of Medicine’s research on ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.)

“It is time research moved on to finding links between military service and such health problems as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and cancers,” she said.

ACVA recommends VAC consider introducing a “flexible mechanism” to assess links between military service and medical conditions with complex causes that are difficult to identify or poorly understood. “Veterans who might have suspected that their health problems were related to depleted uranium exposure still cannot find a satisfactory explanation for the cause of their health problems,” the report says.

Confrontations over access to benefits “do no justice to the sacrifice made by veterans or to Canadians’ desire to treat veterans with the respect they deserve,” the report goes on. “Every effort should be made to ensure that challenging a decision concerning access to medical services or financial benefits does not become an ordeal for veterans and their family members.”

A government reply to the report is expected this fall.

NATO’s depleted uranium kills Serbian war veterans
Independent Balkan News Agency | Milos Mitrovic | 04/05/2013

More than one hundred Serbian war veterans from Municipality of Leskovac, southern Serbia, have passed away in the last three months only. They were mobilized in the wars of the former Yugoslavia that occurred from 1990 to 1999. However, most of them were soldiers engaged in Kosovo war in 1999, aged from 37 to 50, and 95 percent died from cancer, the leader of the war veteran organization Dusan Nikolic revealed.

The representatives of this organization believe that deaths are caused by the impact of depleted uranium which NATO used during its intervention against Serbia in 1999. Another reason was post war stress that they had been exposed to, Belgrade`s daily “Vecernje novosti” reported.

“Every day our organization loses at least one of its members. In most of the cases, cause of death was cancer of colon, cancer of esophagus or lung cancer. The second most frequent cause of death was stroke, but compared to malign diseases, its percentage was significantly lower, Dusan Nikolic explained.

The statistics of the organization of War veterans is based on the information collected from the deceased veterans’ family members who contacted them in effort to obtain the right of war wages.

Sasa Grgov, the chief internist of Leskovac General Hospital, said that local physicians did not practice a kind of statistic mentioned by the organization of War veterans. “We did not collect the information whether our patients had been exposed to the impact of depleted uranium and whether they had been engaged in war”. However, Grgov said that exposing to radiation was a “very possible” cause of death of many veterans, given that the number of patients with malignant tumors was growing.

Grgov also stressed that “it would be terrifying if current growing national trend of colon cancer remains”. “Up to this moment about 30 patients with bloody stool and without the other cancer symptoms are treated. Cancer was found at five patients”, Grgov revealed.

The war veterans from Leskovac recalled the research conducted by medical “Batut” Institute which showed that NATO aircraft and artillery targeted Serbia with ammunition that included 15 tons of depleted uranium. According to the research, 40.000 people died because they had been exposed to the depleted uranium. Nikolic suggested that this number would be tripled in the end of the decade.

Contamination event at Oak Ridge Depleted Uranium Recycling Facility

Enformable Nuclear News | 19 December 2012


Tennessee is the only state that allows commercial burning of radioactive waste, licensing six incinerators, and receives 75 percent of the nation’s low-level radioactive waste, which according to state records is roughly 20,500 tons per year.

On Friday, December 7th, workers at the Energy Solutions Bear Creek Depleted Uranium Recycling Facility in Oak Ridge Tennessee, workers placed a drum of Depleted Uranium shavings in Area 9 of the old ATG building, covered with mineral oil.  When workers arrived at the facility Monday morning they discovered the poly drum had completely disappeared, the Depleted Uranium shavings were on the floor, the oil was on the floor, and some of the shavings had changed in physical appearance, now seemingly looking like ash.

According to information released by EnergySolutions, the poly drum had burned up and the contents of the drum were now mixed with the ash and oil on the concrete floor.

Depleted uranium is the man-made byproduct of the uranium enrichment process, “depleted” simply means the Uranium-235 has been reduced, and unlike other radioactive material, its chemical composition changes over time, making it more in radioactive.


The Oak Ridge plant incinerates 15,000 tons of radioactive waste per year, most of which comes from the United States, but in 2011, the East Tennessee facility applied to import and treat 1,000 tons of German radioactive waste, and ship it back to Germany to be stored as ash.

Modern radioactive waste disposal costs have escalated much greater than inflation, largely due to increasing environmental regulations, disposal site uncertainty, and risk potential.

In July 2009, Energy Solutions was awarded a $9.3 million order for dismantlement and decommissioning of the S3G/S6G nuclear submarine refueling complex at Pearl Harbor.  In Phase 1 alone, over 20 million pounds of waste was shipped to the Bear Creek facility.

The Bear Creek facility also manages classified nuclear waste, which is specially processed with special melting technology and capabilities to obscure any classified information or classified DOD components prior to disposal poly drum.

Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Source: WGBH News

Source: Energy Solutions Annual Report


Study: US depleted uranium hit Iraq newborns horrifically

IINA | Thursday, 20 December 2012

birth defects

Baghdad, 06 Safar 1434/ 20 December 2012 (IINA) – American ammunition may be the reason behind the mounting number of babies born with birth defects in Iraq, a study revealed.

Accounts of children being born with cancer and birth defects have been highlighted in German newspaper Der Spiegel, where Iraqis who were interviewed were not sure of the explanation behind so many dead and deformed newborn babies in Basra, according to Al Arabia. “Some had only one eye in the forehead. Or two heads,” Askar Bin Said, an Iraqi graveyard owner, told the newspaper, describing some of the dead newborn babies that are buried in his cemetery. “One had a tail like a skinned lamb. Another one looked like a perfectly normal child, but with a monkey’s face. Legs of one girl had grown together, half fish, half human,” he added.
The report cites a study published in September in the Germany-based Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology saying there was a “sevenfold increase in the number of birth defects in Basra between 1994 and 2003. Of 1,000 live births, 23 had birth defects.” “War pollution — due to everything from heavy metals from exploded ordnance to radiation left behind by depleted uranium used on US ammunition and tanks — inhaled by Fallujah’s residents, seeped into the ground water, flowing in the nearby Tigris River, choking the air they breathe,” a report from Global Research said on Tuesday.


U.S. depleted uranium casts horrific shadow on Iraq’s newborns

Accounts of children being born with cancer and birth defects have been highlighted in German newspaper Der Spiegel, where Iraqis who were interviewed were not sure of the explanation behind so many dead and deformed newborn babies in the Iraqi city of Basra.

“Some had only one eye in the forehead. Or two heads,” Askar Bin Said, an Iraqi graveyard owner, told the newspaper, describing some of the dead newborn babies that are buried in his cemetery.

“One had a tail like a skinned lamb. Another one looked like a perfectly normal child, but with a monkey’s face. Or the girl whose legs had grown together, half fish, half human,” he added.

The report cites a study published in September in the Germany-based Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology saying there was a “sevenfold increase in the number of birth defects in Basra between 1994 and 2003. Of 1,000 live births, 23 had birth defects,” adding that similar high numbers were reported from the city of Fallujah.

“War pollution — due to everything from heavy metals from exploded ordnance to radiation left behind by depleted uranium used on U.S ammunition and tanks — inhaled by Fallujah’s residents, seeped into the ground water, flowing in the nearby Tigris River, choking the air they breathe,” a report from Global Research said on Tuesday.

Such illnesses found in children include of hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) cases, spinal cord abnormality and a high concentration of lead in the milk teeth found in sick children.

The Der Spiegel report drew ties between the use of uranium ammunition on the country during years of fighting, adding that Iraq-based cancer specialist Jawad al-Ali noticed a spike in “double and triple cancers.”

“There is a connection between cancer and radiation. Sometimes it takes 10 or 20 years before the consequences manifest themselves,” he told the newspaper.

“It isn’t just that the number of cancer cases suddenly increased. We also had double and triple cancers, that is, patients with tumors on both kidneys and in the stomach. And there were also familial clusters, that is, entire families that were affected,” he added.

U.S. Depleted Uranium as Malicious as Syrian Chemical Weapons

Huffington Post | Craig Considine | 08/29/2013

By this time you have likely heard of the atrocity that recently took place in which over 1,000 Syrian civilians reportedly died at the hands of a chemical weapon attack. Seeing the video and images of dead or helpless Syrian civilians struggling for life reminds me of another terrible weapon of war — depleted uranium.

It is no secret that the U.S., with the assistance of other governments, used depleted uranium in the Gulf and Iraq War. A simple Google search of this topic can produce dozens and dozens of credible reports or stories to confirm these war crimes. For example, an important report on Harvard University’s website discusses the fallout of depleted uranium contamination in Iraq. Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi, who authored the report after the Gulf War, wrote that:

“Depleted Uranium (DU) weaponry has been used against Iraq for the first time in the history of recent wars. The magnitude of the complications and damage related to the use of such radioactive and toxic weapons on the environment and the human population mostly results from the intended concealment, denial and misleading information released by the Pentagon about the quantities, characteristics and the area’s in Iraq, in which these weapons have been used.”

Similarly, as Democracy Now! reported in an interview with Al Jazeera reporter Dahr Jamail, “the U.S. invasion of Iraq has left behind a legacy of cancer and birth defects suspected of being caused by the U.S. military’s extensive use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus.” Democracy Now! wrote:

“Noting the birth defects in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, Jamail says: ‘They’re extremely hard to bear witness to. But it’s something that we all need to pay attention to … What this has generated is, from 2004 up to this day, we are seeing a rate of congenital malformations in the city of Fallujah that has surpassed even that in the wake of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that nuclear bombs were d’ pped on at the end of World War II.'”

Moreover, Robert Koehler, a HuffPost blogger, has written extensively about the U.S. government’s use of depleted uranium in Iraq. The following passage from Koehler’s blog “The Suffering of Fallujah” gives us an idea of the immense impact that depleted uranium has had on Iraqi civilians:

“Thus last November, a group of British and Iraqi doctors petitioned the U.N. to investigate the alarming rise in birth defects at Fallujah’s hospitals. ‘Young women in Fallujah,’ they wrote … are terrified of having children because of the increasing number of babies born grotesquely deformed, with no heads, two heads, a single eye in their foreheads, scaly bodies or missing limbs. In addition, young children in Fallujah are now experiencing hideous cancers and leukemias.'”

Koehler continues:

“The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has just published an epidemiological study, “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009,” which has found, among much else, that Fallujah is experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia and infant mortality than Hiroshima and Nagasaki did in 1945.”

Although Iraqi civilians have born the brunt of this awful weapon, American soldiers that served in the Gulf and Iraq War are also suffering from the fallout of depleted uranium. This issue is discussed in-depth by the Campaign Against Depleted Uranium, which campaigns to “ban on the use of uranium in all conventional weapons and weapon systems and for monitoring, health care, compensation and environmental remediation for communities affected by their use.”

Countries around the world have called for the ban of depleted uranium, but unfortunately this demand has fallen on deaf ears. When asked in 2003 about Iraq’s complaints about depleted uranium shells, Colonel James Naughton of U.S. Army Material Command stated in a Pentagon briefing that “They want it to go away because we kicked the crap out of the them.”

Last week, UK foreign secretary William Hague, said that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is “not something that a humane or civilized world can ignore.” Ironically, Western countries such as the UK and their allies have appeared to ignore the use of weapons that are equally vicious.

When “non-Westerners” make use of weapons of mass destruction, there is outrage and calls for military intervention from “the West,” but when “Westerners” themselves use them, it is totally permissible, and the world can hardly react.

Craig Considine
Ph.D. candidate, Trinity College Dublin; Film director, ‘Journey into America’; Interfaith activist

The Toxicity of Everyday Survival in Iraq

Jadaliyya | Omar Dewachi | Aug 13 2013


Relatives wait with the coffin of a girl who died of cancer, outside Saddam Medical City in central Baghdad, 17 April 2003. AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

For more than two decades, Iraq has been the subject of a large-scale toxic warfare experiment. Operation Desert Storm, fought in 1991, was the first time in military history that depleted uranium (DU)—a nuclear waste by-product—was systematically employed against both military and civilian targets. US forces used DU on a much larger scale during the war and occupation that started in 2003.

The effects of this toxic and biological experiment go beyond body counts and the epidemiological evidence of illnesses. They also go beyond the environmental contamination caused by DU-laden weapons. Toxicity has penetrated the quotidian realities of life in Iraq.  It is what Iraqis have to endure and negotiate every day in the face of physical, political, social, and environmental degradation—what I call here the “toxicity of everyday survival.”

From Cold to Hot Wars

The original research on the use of DU in warfare dates back to the Cold War era. In the 1970s, US military laboratories began experimenting with alternative heavy metals and alloys to use against the Soviets’ newly developed line of military armor and tanks that were resistant to conventional lead- and steel-based anti-tank ballistics. Depleted uranium is 2.5 times heavier than steel and 1.5 times heavier than lead. It is also relatively cheap because it is produced from processed uranium nuclear industrial waste. It has many of the “penetrating qualities” that were sought at the time. Thus, projectiles were given the sexually charged name “DU penetrators.” Moreover, DU was superior to other heavy metals and alloys for its incendiary effects.

While uranium exists in nature in various forms and is used in a number of building products, its use in warfare in high concentrations unleashes a spectrum of toxicity. The bio-toxic life of the DU projectile is released on high-speed impact with the surface of its target. The collision produces colossal kinetic heat, which causes metal to disband and flesh to burn and disintegrate. When the DU projectile pierces a target, such as a vehicle with passengers, its explosive heat carbonizes all forms of life and machinery.

As DU disintegrates under the high heat of the explosion, it turns into its particle form, uranium oxide, which lingers in the vicinity. These particles are water insoluble and their size can be about one-hundred times smaller than a white blood cell. They contaminate water and soil and enter into the food chain. The particles are so small that they can be blown by wind for tens of kilometers. The uranium aerosol enters the body through ingestion or inhalation, or through coming in contact with an open wound.

The toxicity of DU does not come only from its capacity to kill life, but also its ability to create an array of pathologies and afflictions. In the lungs, the radioactive uranium dust has a bio-toxic life span of close to one year. It can cause many acute symptoms due to its immediate chemical toxicity, which irritates and destroys lung tissue. As it makes its way to the blood stream, the uranium oxides bind with organic compounds to form chemical and organic complexes that deposit in the bones, lymphatic system, liver, and kidneys. DU’s radioactive toxicity, more than its chemical toxicity, affects the development of different kinds of malignancies and genetic mutations. Still, the chemical and irradiation toxicity happen simultaneously to produce a series of acute, chronic, and deadly ailments.

Empire’s Toxic Laboratories

One tragic irony in the DU toxicity that afflicts Iraq is that while the US developed this weapon for Cold War purposes, it was used for the first time after that war ended. Operation Desert Storm was the first post-Cold War war, and the first occasion for the US to experiment with its DU arsenal. Since then it has been a weapon of choice for imperial adventurism and military operations elsewhere as well.

The US military deployed hundreds of tons of DU during the forty-day military campaign, Operation Desert Storm. Much of its use was concentrated in the south of Iraq, as well as in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, where the main combat between Iraqi military and American-led coalition forces took place. Doug Rokke, the former head of the Pentagon’s Depleted Uranium Project, described Operation Desert Storm as “the most toxic war known to man.”

The force of this toxic storm was emblematic in images of incinerated bodies and the miles of destroyed military vehicles on Highway 80 (the “Highway of Death”) between Kuwait and Basra. The US military used DU-laden weapons to target alleged storage sites and depots of chemical and biological weapons that released more toxicity in the air. The DU arsenal was also used to hit many civilian targets, such as power supply and water purification plants across the country.


The US military used DU-laden weaponry even more systematically and expansively during the 2003 invasion and throughout the occupation. In urban warfare, it was fired at vehicles and buildings in highly populated civilian areas. It was employed in “counter-insurgency operations,” such as the two battles of Fallujah in 2004.

For two decades, the use of DU and its effects have been a subject of political and scientific controversy. In the US, this controversy played out in scientific evidence of the links—and official denial of those links—between DU and the variety of inexplicable conditions that afflicted US veterans. These conditions, loosely termed the “Gulf War Syndrome,” affected up to one in four Gulf War veterans. The Pentagon criticized scientific research-based evidence as inadequate, and continued to deny veterans’ healthcare claims based on exposure to DU. The Pentagon asserted the “safety” of DU-weaponry on the basis of a number of questionable reports by the RAND Corporation and the Institute of Medicine, a non-profit organization.

In 2004, the results of a five-year Pentagon-sponsored study insisted that DU was neither sufficiently toxic nor radioactive to cause health threats to soldiers. One official involved in the study reported that DU is “a lethal, but safe weapons system.” The study has been criticized as a cover-up, including by the US National Academy of Science. The Pentagon maintains that the destructive capacity of DU is militarily advantageous, and therefore a legitimate and necessary element of the US arsenal.

Since 1991, American and British DU weaponry has been deployed in a number of military operations. It was used during the 1999 NATO bombing of Kosovo and in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Concerns over the rise of cancer rates and other DU-related afflictions have also been on the rise in these countries. Israel also allegedly used DU weaponry in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008 – 2009, and its recent airstrike on targets in the Syrian capital Damascus.

At present, there are no international laws or treaties banning the use of depleted uranium. Therefore, it is up to individual states whether to acquire and use DU-laden weapons. Countries including Germany, Canada, Czech Republic, Norway, and the Netherlands have pledged not to use depleted uranium. Only the US and Britain have admitted to using DU in their military operations.

The Breakdown of Health Care in War-Torn Iraq

In the aftermath of the 1991 war, Iraq witnessed a surge of unexplained cases of physical deformities in both human and nonhuman lives in areas that were subjected to heavy bombardment and shelling by the US military. Farmers complained about genetically mutated livestock and crops. There was a rise in unexplained miscarriages, birth defects, and cancer among infants and children. In the words of one Iraqi pediatrician working in Basra, “Something happened to our environment during that war.”

Most research and observations by Iraqi doctors and scientists were dismissed by the US as regime propaganda. Still, the transformations in Iraq’s environment transcended the breakdown of physical life; it generated shifts in structures of health care in the country. The UN-imposed sanctions compounded the impact and effects of environmental toxicity plaguing the country.

Across Iraq, cancer wards became emblematic of this breakdown of the depleted capacity of medicine and science to save and revitalize life. In the capital’s main pediatric hospital, families from all over the country rushed their infants and children to seek treatment for different kinds of complex conditions. Doctors nicknamed the cancer ward “The People’s Republic of China” in reference to its overcrowded and congested conditions. Often, more than one child shared the same bed in the six-bed-occupancy rooms. Mothers and relatives slept on the hospital’s floor next to their sick children.


Baghdad hospital cancer ward, 2002. James Longley/Daylight Factory

 In this mélange of care and toxicity, doctors struggled to save lives in the face of lack of basic supplies, shortages of cancer medications, and the deterioration of care facilities and economic conditions brought on by the sanctions. Over the course of a decade and in the face what I call “ungovernable life”—life that is reduced to its mere vital survival and stripped of its potential for revitalization—many doctors fled the country in search of better careers, and to escape the precariousness of Iraq.

This breakdown of structures of care still lingers more than ten years after the US invasion. Every year, tens of thousands of Iraqis have to travel abroad to seek medical care. Their therapeutic itineraries take them to various regional private medical hubs such as India, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Unlike the caricature of the medical tourist who travels for cosmetic surgery or other elective procedures, many Iraqis sell belongings or depend on assistance from family, friends, tribes, and political parties to fund treatment for critical health problems.

In Beirut, the American University Medical Center (AUBMC) buzzes with Iraqi patients seeking critical medical and surgical care. They come from all ages, social backgrounds, and governorates. Close to one-third of the approximately five thousand Iraqi patients who have frequented this one hospital since 2003 come for cancer surgeries, radiation, or chemotherapy. Although cancer care is free in Iraq, patients opt to pursue costly survival options abroad because of the unwieldy bureaucracy and the shortages of cancer medication and technology at home.

Over the past ten years, the Iraqi leadership and corrupt government institutions have been unable or unwilling to provide basic healthcare to citizens, especially for the rising numbers of cancer cases. In the south of Iraq, even poor families from the impoverished rural areas are left with no option but to seek care in neighboring Iran.

The collapse of medical care also has been mirrored in the breakdown of trust between doctors and patients; this is another essential reason that patients seek care abroad. Iraq’s health system is plagued by mis-diagnosis, mistreatment, and neglect. Patients accuse doctors in Iraq of being incompetent, greedy, and indifferent. One patient, commenting on the lack of trust in medical doctors, summed it up: “All the good doctors have left, and the ones who remain have lost their humanity.” While Iraq was once celebrated as one of the leading countries in the region for its medical capacities and infrastructure, the degeneration of Iraqi health care began under the effects of the 1991 war and twelve years of sanctions.

Thousands of Iraqi doctors and specialists have escaped the country to seek security and careers elsewhere. Since 2003, this exodus has increased due to ongoing violence that targets doctors directly. Hundreds, if not thousands, of doctors have been threatened, kidnapped for ransom, and/or assassinated. Some doctors have refused to perform surgical operations on patients for fear of retribution or demands for “blood money” from angry family members who might not accept unfavorable outcomes. The Iraqi Parliament recently passed a law allowing doctors to carry arms for their own protection.

Injury and Survival

The political and social malaise continues to be shaped by the failure of the political leadership to rebuild the country’s infrastructure. In Iraqi cities, people are forced to deal with paralyzing traffic congestion, security checkpoints, concrete walls, and the noisy hum and fumes of diesel generators that are used to compensate for war-caused electricity shortages. Poverty, disability, and unemployment are rampant. Sectarian violence in the form of car bombs, suicide bombers, and militia attacks hit streets, neighborhoods, markets, and religious sites, turning the urban space into a slaughter spectacle. Killers are elected to parliament, and religious and political leaders incite violence as they secure wealth, property and power. Corruption festers in this everyday toxic environment.

The injury and survival journey of Abu Ahmed, a thirty-five-year-old man from Fallujah, illustrates this everyday toxicity.[i] In July 2006, during the height of the sectarian violence, Abu Ahmed was shot in the face by an American paramilitary sniper who, he presumes, was a Blackwater contractor because of their presence in Fallujah at that time. The bullet pierced his windshield and ripped through his face. He was rushed by passers-by to the nearest hospital in Fallujah. There, doctors replaced lost blood and cleaned his wound. The bullet, which was extracted from his face, destroyed large parts of his left cheekbone, leaving a two-inch crater which makes it impossible for him to close his mouth fully. Abu Ahmed had to readapt slowly to the most basic daily functions of drinking and chewing food.

The hospital in Fallujah could do only so much. Abu Ahmed was told that he needed a more specialized hospital and surgeons capable of providing facial reconstructive surgery. At the time, he would not dare to venture to the capital because of the violence. Patients were being kidnapped from hospital beds and killed by a Sadrist militia group that had infiltrated the management of the Ministry of Health. His only alternative was to seek care outside the country.

Abu Ahmed’s extended family managed to raise some money by selling a small piece of land. With that and his own savings, Abu Ahmed decided to head to Amman to seek the opinion of a specialist. During that period, waves of Iraqis displaced by the sectarian violence were leaving the country for Jordan and Syria. Jordanian officials systematically denied entry to Iraqi Shi’a forcing them to settle temporarily in the more hospitable Syria.

Abu Ahmed, a Sunni from the province of Anbar, had been working as a driver between Amman and Fallujah for years. Indeed, he had been driving back from Jordan when he was shot. When he went to seek medical treatment, however, Jordanian customs officers denied him entry. Trying to explain the reason for his trip, he removed the yeshmagh (kuffiyah) wrapped around his face to show them his injury. After listening to his story, the customs officers were even more insistent on rejecting him. Surveying his wound, they expressed their suspicion about Abu Ahmed’s involvement with a “terrorist group.” From their point of view, what else could explain why US paramilitaries shot him in the first place!

When Abu Ahmed returned to Fallujah, he was advised to try Syria, where medical and surgical treatment was much cheaper than Jordan. After receiving his first reconstructive surgery in Syria, his family pressed him to make repeat trips for cancer tests because his injury is, both literally and figuratively, an open wound and therefore all the more vulnerable to toxicity. Abu Ahmed’s family, like many Fallujah residents, was concerned about the rising cancer rates following injuries from American ammunition.

According to Abu Ahmed, this kind of risk management practice has become common knowledge as people experience and deal with rising cancer rates, genetic mutations, birth defects, and disabilities. In 2003, his tribe was targeted in a full-scale US air strike that killed eleven people and injured dozens, including women and children. A number of those who were injured fell sick shortly thereafter and died from rapidly developing cancers or other unexplained conditions. The tribe was attacked by US forces on a number of other occasions as well.

In 2012, Abu Ahmed underwent surgery at AUBMC to reconstruct his facial injury with bone and skin grafts. While the surgery restored his functionality and some of the cosmetic aspects of his wound, he lives with the fear and prospect of developing cancer. For him and his extended family, war injuries and cancer are tightly knit phenomena in these webs of toxicity. His wound is not a mere metaphor of the precariousness of the social body; it is the interstitial materialization of war in his everyday survival.


Since 1991, Iraq has been one of the main sites for a US war experiment that has exported toxicity and disability across the world. Hundreds of known sites are contaminated with DU in Iraq. According to one report, the cleanup costs are estimated at thirty million dollars. Recent medical and environmental research in Iraq have just begun to officially document links between the high rates of cancer and congenital birth defects in a number of Iraqi cities to exposure to DU and other toxic weapons. Still, with the ongoing US denial of the lethal and lingering toxicity of DU, and the current political disarray in Iraq, there is little hope that this issue will be addressed anytime soon.

Iraq’s toxicity and the resultant social scars run as deep as the molecular and genetic makeup of society and will afflict generations to come. Despite the end of the occupation in 2011, toxicity still shapes everyday survival in Iraq. The body of Abu Ahmed and millions of Iraqis continue to endure America’s poisonous gift of liberation. Their lives and wounds might be vulnerable to toxicity, but they are open, and shared. They seek everyday survival under conditions that stand as a testament to the horrors of empire’s toxic experiment.

[i] The information about Abu Ahmed is derived from interviews for my current book project, Ungovernable Life: War and Mandatory Medicine in Iraq

World Health Organization Covers Up Iraq War Crimes

By mrdsk on

Container with depleted uranium found at Miami-area airport

Source: Reuters – Thu, 25 Jul 2013

MIAMI, July 25 (Reuters) – A 55-gallon drum containingdepleted uranium was found near a dismantled plane at aMiami-area airport on Thursday, prompting a brief evacuation butofficials said it posed no environmental risk.

The uranium was discovered on old aircraft parts which hadbeen broken up and placed into a container at the Opa-locaExecutive Airport, said Mara Burger, a spokeswoman for theFlorida Department of Environmental Protection.

“Someone disposed of the plane inappropriately,” she said.

The parts contained uranium 238, a material once used onairplanes for navigational purposes, Burger said.

No injuries were reported and a hazmat team dispatched tothe airport found only minimal levels of radiation, saidLieutenant Arnold Piedrahita, a spokesman for Miami-Dade FireRescue.

The airport handles some secondary traffic for MiamiInternational Airport and offers aircraft maintenance and repairservices. (Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Alden Bentley)

uranium laser enrichment technology

US uranium laser enrichment technology threatens Nuclear Non-Profileration Treaty

The Voice of Russia | 26 December 2013

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Photo: RIA Novosti

The uranium laser enrichment technology that has been given a new impetus in the US is capable of knocking the bottom out of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The technology consists in uranium isotope separation with laser stimulation (SILEX). Optimists put a great deal of trust in this and pessimists warn about negative consequences.

Gas diffusion and centrifuge treatment remain the principal ways of industrial uranium enrichment. The basis of the method is the difference in weight between the isotopes of non-fissionable uranium-238 and fissionable uranium-235. As for the laser method, it is based on the difference of isotope response to electromagnetic excitation.

Starting with the 1970s, the US has been taking great efforts to design effective laser enrichment systems. They did not manage to overcome technical difficulties and the idea was put on the shelf. Now the US is trying to re-energise it. General Electric and Hitachi have set up a joint venture and are building a plant to separate isotopes with laser stimulation.

Champions of the technology are convinced that it will become a revolution. The enrichment efficiency is allegedly up to 16 times as high, while capital investment and power cost are much lower. Skeptics, however, point out that profits for the end consumer are not going to be very high because the cost of enrichment is only 5% of the nuclear energy consumption cost. Director of the Power Engineering and Safety Centre Anton Okhlopkov is speaking:

“The US is by no means the first country to have invested in the uranium laser enrichment technology. The Soviet Union and then Russia pursued research to that end in the past, only to conclude that the technology can be effectively used in a laboratory environment, but is no good for use on industrial scale. Whatever cost value gains have been made in a lab will be lost in switching over to industrial production.”

The basic problem about the SILEX technology is that it may prove largely helpful to the forces that are engaged in nuclear proliferation. SILEX theoretically makes it more likely for such forces to get hold of nukes. In any event, the new technology brings up some difficult problems for the non-proliferation regime guarantors to consider and settle, because NPT is essentially out of line with the realities of this day and age.

Experts point out several NPT challenges, above all, the conflicting nature of the system of international relations and the growing gap between a majority of world nations and the group of the more technologically and militarily advanced countries, which provides for a free use of force by the leaders and urges the outsiders to see nuclear weapons as the most effective means of containment. Scientific and technological progress is yet another challenge to the nuclear non-proliferation regime, since it helps bridge the gap between the countries that can and that cannot manufacture their own nuclear weapons. SILEX is a graphic illustration of the last challenge, so all apprehensions for the technology in question are quite justifiable. This is what a member of the Foreign and Home Policy Council, Vladimir Averchev, says about it in a comment.

“Technologies have a decisive role to play in weapons development. Technologies challenge politicians each time they enter a new stage of development, which is often the case with strategic armaments, specifically the incessant competition of offensive and defensive weapon systems. This is also true of the uranium laser enrichment technology, which makes uranium enrichment theoretically accessible to poorer countries, thereby creating a potential threat.”

Efforts to retain the non-proliferation regime intact meet with growing resistance. Some countries claim the regime is economically discriminating, since it enables the countries with nuclear arms to control the market of radioactive materials and nuclear technologies.

In a sense, the non-proliferation regime has been around for quite some time due to inertia. Quite a few countries with high technological and economic potential have been prevented from making a decisive step thanks only to the political will of their leaders. Strict and uniform application of non-proliferation provisions is of paramount importance today. Unfortunately, one can still see manifestations of a double-standard policy. The United States encouraged the nuclear programme of Iran under the Shah and took a soft stand on Pakistan’s effort to develop nuclear weapons. Double standards are conducive to growing risks. It’s the double standards, rather than the new uranium enrichment technology, that is the main challenge to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Haryana’s Nuclear Power Plant: Inviting Disaster

Dianuke | December 30, 2013 | M G Devasahayam

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the 2800 MW Gorakhpur Nuclear Power Plant (GNPP) in Fatehabad district of Haryana. According to Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) 1,503 acres of land had been acquired for the project and the setting-up of this plant would accelerate the pace of ‘development’.

What has been left unsaid is that this water-guzzling plant is located on the fragile Fatehabad Branch of the Bhakra Canal system. For operating this plant Haryana Government has allocated 320 cusecs of water from the state’s share under the Bhakra Water Sharing Agreement 1959 between Punjab and Rajasthan. Haryana being the successor state of Punjab is legally bound by this Agreement. Since the Agreement mandates that Bhakra water can only be used for irrigation and generation of hydel-power, Bhakra-Beas Management Board cannot give additional water for the nuclear plant.

Water-use allotment for irrigation in the culturable command area is 2.25 cusecs per thousand acres. 320 cusecs can irrigate about 142, 000 acres and diverting this quantum of water to generate nuclear power will deprive such vast area of irrigation. Even taking into account 30% of water that would be recycled back to the canal, the irrigated area lost would be about 100,000 acres. And the polluted water returned to the canal would slow-poison the downstream agriculture and drinking water. This canal is also plagued with frequent breaches that could pose serious danger to the safety of the power plant.

This is a semi-arid region and water is the life-line for its economy and sustenance. Power generated in this nuclear plant would no doubt lead to ‘development’ of MNC/commercial/residential/ industrial complexes, Malls and Theme parks in Delhi, Gurgaon and other places. But in the project affected area Agriculture will perish and radiation will cause serious damage to wildlife (deer/blackbuck) in nearby villages. In fact on this count National Green Tribunal has ruled against the setting-up of GNPP residential colony in the neighbouring Badopal village.

Legally also this diversion of water is untenable. Water is basic to life and comes within the guarantee of Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution. A huge quantity cannot be diverted in an already water deficit area in violation of the 1959 agreement which permits collaboration for improving irrigation and generation of hydro-electric power only. Environmental Impact Assessment of the project does not address this most critical issue. All that it says is: “….Government of Haryana confirmed allocation of 320 cusecs of water for consumptive use through Fatehabad branch canal sourced by Bhakra mainline tail end at Tohana Head-works”.

There was no public consultation and whatever report sent by DC, Fatehabad was sham.

Prime farming land was acquired for the project through coercion and bribing landowners with huge compensation. Central Government is fully involved in this skullduggery. Nuclear Power Corporation of India is the owner of the project, Ministry of Environment & Forest has dealt with the water issue in a most shabby manner and has given conditional environmental clearance to the plant. Pursuing a pre-set agenda Planning Commission has given its in-principle approval.


Bhakhra Canal near Gorakhpur supposed to provide water for the reactor dried up in the summer this year.

Be that as it may, there are certain basic realities about promoting nuclear power in India. First is that nuclear reactors are located in areas that support lakhs of people living off farming, fishing, and other occupations, and these people see, quite correctly, the reactor as a major threat to their life and livelihood. Post-Fukushima, the worry has become much more severe and tangible. The Indian government’s response to the opposition has been a combination of coercion, bribery, and propaganda. Its nuclear efforts are not respectful of human/democratic rights.

The second reality is that nuclear energy is not the answer to India’s electricity problems. The current nuclear capacity in the country is just 5,780 MW, about 2.5 percent of the total generation capacity and produces not more than 1% of country’s electricity needs. Even with optimistic assumptions about the future, this fraction is unlikely to increase to more than 5 percent for decades. But optimism is misplaced. DAE has long made ambitious projections and failed to deliver. In 1969, the nuclear establishment had predicted that by the year 2000, there would be 43,500 MW of nuclear generating capacity. In 2011 achievement was only 4800 MW and Government’s aspiration to increase it to about 64,000 MW by the year 2032 is utopian and impractical.

This is because DAE’s plans involve constructing hundreds of fast breeder reactors. In the early decades of nuclear power, many countries pursued breeder reactor programs, but practically all of them have given up on breeder reactors as unsafe and uneconomical. Imported light water reactors are unproven and prohibitively costly. DAE has simply not absorbed the lessons from the sorry history of nuclear technology globally, and thus shows a lack of organizational learning.

The third reality is that India need electricity that is cheap and affordable whereas nuclear power is expensive. If all costs-construction, commissioning, operation, decommissioning and safe storage of spent-fuel are honestly factored in nuclear power is way costlier than any other source of electricity. Future reactors, both imported and indigenous, will continue to be much more expensive, making electricity generated in these unaffordable to many sections of society. Expectations that the nuclear industry will learn from past experience and lower the construction costs have been belied repeatedly. On the other hand it has been going up while wind/solar power costs are declining.

What is worse, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report says that India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) was weak, under-resourced and “slow in adopting international benchmarks and good practices in the areas of nuclear and radiation operation”. PAC recently tabled a scathing 81-page report in Parliament, critical of the decades-long delay in establishing an independent regulator for the nuclear industry.

According to the Report, AERB was not an independent statutory body but rather a subordinate agency of the government. AERB cannot set or enforce rules for radiation and nuclear safety. In many cases there are no rules. Despite an order from the government in 1983, the AERB has still not developed an overarching nuclear and radiation safety policy for India. The absence of such a policy at macro level can hamper micro-level planning of radiation safety in the country.

As a result, PAC found that India was not prepared for a nuclear emergency and went on to say that off-site emergency exercises carried out highlighted inadequate emergency preparedness even for situations where the radiological effects of an emergency origination from nuclear power plants are likely to extend beyond the site and affect the people around. PAC report is based on a ‘performance audit’ carried out by Comptroller & Auditor General of India last year.

Sum and substance of PAC Report is that the failure to have an autonomous and independent regulator is clearly ‘fraught with grave risks’ for setting-up nuclear power plants in India. The Fukushima lessons as brought out by Japan’s Independent Investigation Commission are pointed, poignant and portends ill for nuclear power in over-populated India with limited land/water resources and weak regulatory governance. In the event Prime Minister laying the foundation of GNPP is queer and inappropriate!


Shri is former IAS Officer of Haryana Cadre with experience in power sector-Government and Corporate. He was formerly SDM of Fatehabad Subdivision where this plant is located.

Other readings:
A Nuclear Disaster So Close To Delhi
Farmers Say NO to Nuclear in Haryana, Boycott the Farcical Public

Fukushima: Privatizing the Risk

Dianuke | December 30, 2013

Nuclear Technology: Lasting Damage To Life’s Genetic Integrity And Heritage
Book Review of “Fukushima And The Privatization Of Risk” by Majia Holmer Nadesan (1)

By Richard Wilcox, Ph.D. | December 28, 2013

“Life was not a valuable gift, but death was. Life was a fever-dream made up of joys embittered by sorrows, pleasure poisoned by pain; a dream that was a nightmare-confusion of spasmodic and fleeting delights, ecstasies, exultations, happinesses, interspersed with long-drawn miseries, griefs, perils, horrors, disappointments, defeats, humiliations, and despairs–the heaviest curse devisable by divine ingenuity; but death was sweet, death was gentle, death was kind; death healed the bruised spirit and the broken heart, and gave them rest and forgetfulness; death was man’s best friend; when man could endure life no longer, death came and set him free.” – Mark Twain (2)

“Yeeehaw!” – Slim Pickens and how he learned to love the bomb

Introduction: Our Genomic Legacy In Danger

“Yeeehaw” indeed. And pardon Twain’s ironic twist of words, he was a great lover of life but had moments of doubt. We have our own troubles too, most of them caused by fellow travelers, our collective ignorance and complicity on a runaway train of greed, unaccountability and mutually assured destruction. Given that the genome is the building block of life the pervasive disruption at that level from ongoing nuclear disasters will reverberate in biogeographical and transgenerational dimensions, and cause lasting damage to the viability of our descendants.

Anyone tuned into the message of the alternative media these days will already know the compendium of ailments: a malevolently designed global slavery and depopulation agenda implemented by the powers-that-be to shear the sheeple on their way to the slaughterhouse. Whether by stupidity or malevolence in the end the result is bad news.


Fukushima reactor and the leaking water tanks where they continue to store the highly contaminated water. They have to use more water daily to cool the reactors and in turn have to deal with more contaminated water. The elevated ground below the reactors that was supposed to be a safety layer can now collapse.
Important lesson is, when it comes to nuclear, a safety layer can become a vulnerability in ‘out-of-design’ situations. And nuclear engineers actually spend their lives inside the design.
Photo Courtesy: New York Times

I’m mad as hell so allow me to interject a bit of personal vitriol here. In Tokyo where I live, I recently had a conversation with a reputable Canadian university professor who questioned whether further research into the Fukushima disaster wasn’t beating a dead horse. If only that were true. A year earlier at that same university (where I work as a moderately paid but insecure contracted teacher– and gratefully subsidize the full time professors who enjoy the benefits of an academic apartheid) a different and particularly snooty British professor chastised me for writing articles about Fukushima. Apparently criticizing Japan is not good for the university image! At another university where I work most professors are mum on the topic– their policy is simply to ban articles on Fukushima from their in-house journal: blatant censorship. What a bunch of incredible hypocrites and cowards.

Enter Majia H. Nadesan, communications professor in the area of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University, an exception to the rule of bought and paid for academicians, a person of honesty, wisdom, no little amount of courage and a holistic understanding of nature.

Her newest book, “Fukushima And The Privatization Of Risk,” is a strong reminder that the Pandora’s Box of nuclear gremlins released into the world during the past two centuries is damaging the genomic integrity of homo sapiens and other species. Though you and I might survive Fukushima’s radiation (or die younger than we should have), future generations of humans and earthy organisms may suffer transgenerational mutations that could ultimately lead to extinction. Of course, humanity has already triggered the Earth’s sixth great extinction episode due to habitat destruction, poaching, pollution, war, etc.

Nuclear Winter In The Heartland

When I was a curious and curly haired boy I vividly recall the day when our teacher informed us about the danger of nuclear war with the Soviets. I was emotionally upset by what I learned. Walking home in the blustery weather, dark clouds on the horizon formed a cold front and puddles covered in thin sheets of ice were broken beneath my feet, and my heart turned hard. What was the point of all the niceties and rituals of life if we were going to die in a nuclear war?

Eventually I learned to repress and forget those thoughts in order to survive, and life went on without a big bang.

On March 11, 2011 during the afternoon while I was at home in Tokyo, I felt a larger than normal tremor, which kept building in intensity, and went on for four or five minutes. Today the flood of bad news emanating from the Fukushima nuclear disaster flows unrelentingly from the magnitude 9 earthquake that occurred on that day. The numerical measurements and scale of radiation released from the accident are unprecedented and catastrophic (3).

Fukushima nuclear power plant no. 1 (FNPP#1) (in Japanese “dai-ichi” meaning “no. 1”) is leaking upwards of 160 billion becquerels of radiation into the ocean every day (4);

Not including the initial releases, nearly 45 trillion becquerels of radiation were released into the air and water just during a recent two year period (5);

There is much debate about what effect the huge amount of radiation released is having on the health of the Pacific Ocean and its biota. The radioactive plume of doom has already reached the North American western shores (6) and will likely reach the Atlantic Ocean (7). Some scientists say the radiation is diluting and in general not a dire threat to biota or humans who consume seafood (8; 9), although these reports should be greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism (10; 11). Some medical researchers say that the above ground nuclear tests alone have resulted in millions of deaths (as will be discussed);

There is a growing amount of data that indicate the ongoing radiation releases are bioaccumulating up the food chain. In conjunction with other forms of pollution that threaten oceanic and terrestrial health this could be contributing to disease and death of various ocean biota (12);

Although US officials downplay radiation traveling from Japan along currents toward the US west coast, levels of cesium in seawater may range from 30 to 100 becquerels per cubic meter, not a trivial amount considering bioaccumulation and magnification rates in sealife and that it may be ongoing for a practically unlimited period of time (13);

In Japan fish are contaminated with radiation (14) while US west coast seaweed has shown signs of Fukushima contamination (15). Tokyo drinking water has detectable amounts of radiation and recently it was found that half of children tested there had cesium in their urine (16);

While Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) slowly removes the fuel rods from the Unit 4 fuel pool (we wish them luck in a very risky operation), everyone agrees that getting to units 1, 2, and 3 is currently impossible with human workers given that the fuel (corium) is melted below the reactor containers and continues to be intensely radioactive. As far as I know, no one has come up with a plan to deal with the corium, and the idea of creating a concrete sarcophagus over the plant as was built in Chernobyl has been dismissed by many experts. Fukushima is built on soft, artificial “fill” ground which would allow the radiation to leak from beneath the reactors to the ocean. Radiation continues to leak with no end in sight;

In Japan the passage of the ambiguous and vaguely worded “Secrets” law threatens freedom of press, thereby criminalizing honest reporting of the ongoing nuclear crisis (17; 18; 19; 20). This resurrects phantoms of Japan’s past militarism, Orwell’s 1984 and Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago of Interogators now stalking Japan’s archipelago of iPhones and teen idol dimbots. What seems like a harsh and desperate measure from the atavistic cronies in the majority Liberal Democratic Party may actually succeed given the lack of organized political or public opposition.

Privatizing Risk: Internalizing Profits, Externalizing Costs

Nadesan’s slim volume is written in a scholarly but readable style and offers an authoritative interpretation for the academic, environmental and nuclear politics specialist, and the keenly interested general reader. Although under 150 pages the book has an admirable 512 citations, which render it well argued, if not rock solid, in analysis and conclusion. The book is precise in use and introduction of difficult scientific concepts and vocabulary yet cuts to the bone of the subject. Nadesan sorts through the mass of data now available from scientific and media sources in order to guide the reader to the most relevant and significant information. Wrestling with an inherently complicated topic that is prone to misunderstanding, Nadesan fulfills a badly needed service to offer clarity and scholarly precision to the subject.

The book unfolds in three stages:

A concise history of the nuclear weapons and energy project which exposes the fatal link between the two ventures and how Japan’s nuclear power program emerged from that context;

A coherent time line of the chaotic and complex events that occurred during the March, 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster;

Radiation risks from Fukushima and other sources and how they will affect human, wildlife and environmental health and integrity.

Forgive Us Our Criminal Transgressions As We Have Committed Criminal Transgressions Unto The Earth: Lead Us Not Into Denial, But Deliver Us From Extinction

I wrote to Dr. Nadesan and asked what compelled her to face the Fukushima Hydra. Obviously she would have been concerned with the health impacts from the nuclear disaster as Fukushima radiation continues to contaminate the western US (where she lives) as it is transported by wind and water.

“I was working on a book titled Dispossession that examines the financial crisis and the BP oil spill when the Daiichi disaster occurred. What struck me is that all three disasters were managed using the same propaganda techniques, which were designed to minimize public perceptions of risk and criminal transgression.

In all three cases, the disasters’ risks escalated because of a failure of leadership. The BP oil disaster risks were escalated by the unprecedented use of Corexit. The financial crisis still has not been resolved because of the failure to address the derivatives and fraud at the heart of the crisis. The American economy still suffers from the decision to bailout the banks, while leaving citizens to fend as best they can. The Fukushima Daiichi crisis risks continue to escalate because of a failure to acknowledge the scale of disaster and evacuate/mitigate appropriately. Across these cases, risks have been shifted to the general populace because of a prioritization of the interests of those responsible for the crises.

I added a chapter on Fukushima to the Dispossession project, but soon realized the story demanded a full book. Fukushima and the Privatization of Risk evolved as a focused look at how risks during the ongoing disaster have been denied, trivialized, and externalized. I emphasized the genetic effects of radiation because I’ve considerable background writing about environmental health and genomics. My three previous books on autism and biopolitics (the politics of life) offer detailed accounts of the fundamental openness and vulnerability of the human genome. Ionizing radiation, I soon learned, is among the most genotoxic substances known, but the biological effects have historically been highly contested by the global nuclear-military-industry complex. The interests of this complex continue to be prioritized over human health and welfare” (personal communication, December, 2013).

The Fukushima Disaster

Nothing epitomizes the notion of privatization of risk better than the Japanese government’s failure to evacuate residents who were in harm’s way when the Fukushima nuclear reactors exploded and melted down on and after March 11, 2011. Nadesan writes that the government prioritized “managing panic” rather than decisively acting on a “data-driven evacuation of citizens.” Giving that wa (harmony) is a social virtue in Japanese society, it was figured that long term effects from cancer would be preferable over the embarrassment of admitting that a terrible mistake had been made. “[T]he true risks for Fukushima residents and others exposed to Fukushima fallout will only be realized in the future.” Ah, there’s the rub, “no immediate danger” as government spokesman Edano loved to repeat at the time.

The process of bioaccumulation of radiation from the food and water supply can take up to several decades to kill a person, and by then the accident will have been long forgotten with the epidemiological data hidden in a morass of scientific fraud and bureaucratic unaccountability. Even in the best cases of medical science it is nearly impossible to prove cause and effect until it is too late. By the time all data is collected the cohorts are already dead. Such data could be valuable to build a case against nuclear energy, but even with Chernobyl there is still a huge amount of denial by the nuclear establishment of the ill effects on populations.

What happened at Fukushima was nothing new. Limited liability corporations in conjunction with crony politicos have been poisoning the planet and its people for a long, long time. We homo sapiens (the wise species) put up with a heck of a lot of abuse. Nadesan writes that:

“The privatization of risk is a global social trend occurring in myriad ways as risk is shifted from organized entities– such as government and corporations– to private citizens.”

With Fukushima, we have an industrial accident of unprecedented scale, which the powers-that-be cannot sweep under the rug. The issue is plagued with uncertainty and fear, due to the great “scale of emissions” “extent of fallout and deposition patterns” as well as uncertainty about the continued amount of radioactive releases from the FNPP#1.

The reactor buildings themselves are unapproachable by human workers. Bring in the reptilian robot workers from Mars! In fact, Tepco is desperate for workers and hiring old men and foreigners.

The key debate is about the health effects of radiation with authorities in Japan and the US assuring us that the amounts most people are exposed to is nothing to get riled up about. After all, you could slip on ice and bump your head, get run over by a truck or be struck down by a lightening bolt as well.

Nadesan cites an important report from a Tokyo University MD who notes that Fukushima released the equivalent of 29.6 Hiroshima atomic bombs. That is a statistic you would think garner some attention. Yet the internet trolls at the Japan Times comment section love to point out that radiation is in bananas, and bananas are safe and delicious. The same paid disinformation agents who are employed by the CIA, the US government, corporations and the nuclear industry would not want to live in Fukushima, work at the FNPP or move back into the evacuation zone, themselves. Hypocrites, cowards, liars and frauds.

Nadesan asks “[w]hat health risks face citizens of Japan and elsewhere impacted by the dispersion of fallout through weather patterns and ocean current?” Yet even the critical minded Asahi Newspaper was informing readers that “eating more cesium” than usual was not dangerous. Well, that was in early 2012 and since then such ridiculous claims are less commonly heard, and most people are more skeptical of the authorities’ claims of food safety. I live in Tokyo and can say that shoppers will tend to buy foods from outside the Tohoku (northeastern) region, especially if it says “Fukushima” on the label. This is obvious given the low prices of produce sold from that region, and the higher prices of products from the more distant Kyushu island of Japan (where demand but also transport costs drive up prices). Although the government does not clearly explain the risks of consuming radioactive food and water, most people have a vague sense about the danger.

Nadesan points out, and I concur from people I have talked to in Japan, that most are only vaguely aware of the effects from bio-accumulation to themselves and the intergenerational damage to the human genome, which damages the health and viability of descendants. I did not understand the nuances of genomic disruptions and dangers until I read this book. Still, the nuclear agenda has come under attack from a wide variety of conscientious sources, including journalists, scientists and doctors. When the World Health Organization tried to downplay the effects of radiation from Fukushima not everyone bought the toxic goods they were selling (21).

The Nuclear Weapons/Power Cartel: Destroying the World One Missile DU Munition And Dirty Bomb Nuclear Power Plant At A Time

Nadesan points out that “[n]uclear power has from its beginnings been tied closely to nuclear weapons production…. despite engineering challenges, prohibitive costs, and public discomfort about radiation, the major industrial powers launched their nuclear energy programs.”

US President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech in 1953, was “a masterpiece of inversion, transforming the horrors of nuclear weapons into the productive, peaceful promise of nuclear energy” and was the treacherous launch pad for the world’s most deadly technology. Atoms for Peace lead to Japan’s adoption of the “Atomic Energy Basic Law” two years later.

At the same time the official promoters and apologists for nuclear energy, the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), was created in association with the the Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO, a part of the United Nations. How ironic that the IAEA’s work has contaminated the world food supply with radiation spewed from the nuclear power operators. Nadesan writes that the “IAEA endows research at institutes through grants, a practice that began in 1960 and continues today.” The IAEA sees no problems with a nuclear accident here, a catastrophe there, and promotes the “peaceful uses of nuclear energy” without any shame. We need nuclear energy like we need a hole in the head.

I wonder what George Orwell would have said about nuclear power given the cognitive dissonance (a favorite literary device of his) that is required for its implementation. The hubris of the promoters of science and technology often allows them to sacrifice safety and sanity in exchange for material rewards. For example, for 1.4 trillion dollars, just half the cost of the War in Iraq, a genocidal and completely unwarranted attack that killed and displaced millions and destroyed an entire country, enough wind turbines could be built to meet US electricity demands (22). Renewable energy would be the ethical choice in this case.

The double-think, hypocrisy and denial of the dangers of the nuclear agenda were apparent during the Cold War, and it is purported by some analysts that the entire Cold War itself was a conspiracy to oppress the world’s peoples under two comparatively oppressive systems, communism (Stalin’s mass murder regime) and capitalism (USA’s global military empire). That issue aside, Nadesan states that it “was clear that the spread of commercial nuclear energy would increase the risks of nuclear weapons proliferation.” This is no small insight. The very technology that was claimed to bring liberating energy and prosperity to the world also enabled the nuclear arms race and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis.

Today, exporters of nuclear technology such the US, France and Japan also claim to fight “terrorism.” War is Peace when the now totally discredited beacons of peace and democracy are actually the true promoters and supporters of terrorism. What could be more terroristic than the US and France in tearing up the Middle East, or Japan damaging one of the world most important ecosystems, the Pacific Ocean! “BRIC” countries mistakenly to join the nuclear arms and energy bizarre so as not lose geopolitical and economic advantage.

Nuclear power has never been only a form of “peaceful” energy production. Nadesan notes that in Japan nuclear power is about “promoting multiple forms of security.” This process began shortly after the end of WWII when the CIA and a shrewd businessman named Matsutaro Shoriki transformed the Yomiuri shimbun (newspaper) into a propaganda rag in order to persuade the bombed out and shell shocked Japanese public to adapt the very sinister technology that had laid waste to their country.

Previous to Eisenhower’s reign, President Harry S. Truman carried out a massive “soft power…. Campaign for Truth” in order combat communism. This was a US “cultural offensive” that involved “Japanese intellectuals” of which Shoriki was but one, albeit very important, agent (23).

Nadesan outlines how it was not by coincidence that Japan’s first law to legalize nuclear energy production and the LDP, Japan’s major political party, were born the same year, spawned out of a CIA incubator. Years later, the very reactors to meltdown at Fukushima were also American made, the flawed Mark 1 reactor design produced by General Electric (who in collusion with the US government, intentionally carried out an engineering fraud when defects became known in the 1970s but were papered over with duct tape and Elmer’s Glue!). Today GE is integrated with the Japanese corporation, Hitachi.

Not all can be blamed on the USA, however. Nadesan points out “that TEPCO’s nuclear power plants have been plagued with scandals” throughout most of the time of their operation, especially in recent decades as the reactors have aged. She delineates the pattern of criminal negligence on the part of the company to put profits before people and the environment. Even after the 2011 accident “[n]uclear energy was prioritized over the myriad economic and social risks caused by the Fukushima disaster.”

The Nuclear Ace Up The Sleeve Deception

According to the logic of nuclear warfare game theory, Japan’s obsession, especially driven by the political philosophy of the LDP, is to sacrifice, in “kamikaze” fashion, the ecological health and sustainability of the physical nation in exchange for the “security” of holding the barely concealed Ace-up-the-sleeve nuclear weapon capability deterrent.

Japan is the only country to develop a stockpile of weapons grade plutonium– sufficient to equip 5,000 nuclear warheads– which also is technically considered to be a non-nuclear weapons country (similarly Israel is presumed to have hundreds of nuclear weapons already built but has never officially declared their existence or signed the non proliferation treaty).

Nadesan writes that “Japan’s status as nuclear weapons-capable is loudly broadcast through its uranium reprocessing and enrichment capabilities, plutonium stockpiles, and advanced aeronautical capabilities.” Indeed, Japan has “risked accident, terrorism, and international criticism for pursuing plutonium stockpiles” in conjunction with their nuclear fuel reprocessing allies in France and Britain.

Given that it is impossible to provide reliable security for a nuclear reactor in a cost efficient manner, it is clear that nuclear power is the greatest threat to a nations’ security. In Japan’s case, the earthquake that destroyed no less than four reactors and spewed massive radiation into the environment was the “terrorist” at work. But any sitting reactor acts as a ticking time bomb, a veritable doomsday machine with a bull’s eye target painted on its side just waiting for a super high-tech drone attack from an enemy. In this case the sane and ethical option would be to adopt photo voltaic panels which are infinitely safer and fast becoming cheaper.

Fukushima’s Deadly Legacy

Given the well financed campaign by the nuclear industry to downplay nuclear disasters, Nadesan’s analysis of radiation risks is indispensable. The era of atmospheric testing of nuclear devices (A la Slim Pickens’ beloved mushroom cloud) which occurred mainly in the 1950s, totaled over 500 above ground detonations. This became a cause for grave concern among conscientious scientists and the public.

The 1956 U.S. Academy of Science report, “Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation” (aka the “BEAR” report) is cited by Nadesan “to demonstrate that geneticists warned decades ago of the potential for significant intergenerational health and reproductive risk from nuclear weapons and energy-sourced radiation exposure, but their warnings were discounted” due to “perceived national security benefits” by the nuclear priesthood of scientists and policy makers.

The BEAR report– which was written by highly credentialed scientists that were nevertheless under attack from the nuclear-military proponent sector– states after careful consideration that “even very small amounts of radiation unquestionably have the power to injure hereditary materials” in humans and other organisms. Nadesan summarizes some of the main points of BEAR:

“Radiations cause mutations. Mutations affect those hereditary traits which a person passes on to his children and subsequent generations….

Practically all radiation-induced mutations which have effects large enough to be detected are harmful. A small but not negligible part of this harm would appear in the first generation of the offspring of the person who received the radiation. Most of the harm, however, would remain unnoticed, for a shorter or longer time, in the genetic constitution of the successive generations of offspring….

Any radiation dose, however small, can induce some mutations….

Like radiation-induced mutations, nearly all spontaneous mutations with detectable effects are harmful….

Additional radiation (i.e., radiation over and above the irreducible minimum due to natural causes) produces additional mutations (over and above spontaneous mutations)….

What counts, from the point of view of genetic damage, is not the rate [of exposure to radiation]; it is the total accumulated dose to reproductive cells of the individual from the beginning of his life up to the time the child is conceived….”

Nadesan highlights radiation effects on children and cites the work of Ernest Sternglass who in 1969 “publicized his research by arguing…that radioactive fallout from atmospheric testing had caused the death of 375,000 infants” and “countless fetal deaths” from 1951 to 1966.

In addition to data cited by Nadesan, Epstein reported that a “2002 U.S. Centers for Disease Control report calculated that fallout caused 15,000 U.S. cancer deaths, a figure some believed was a gross underestimate. The following year, a blue ribbon European panel reported 61,600,000 cancer deaths worldwide from fallout” (24).

Bertell makes a bolder estimate that “[u]p to 1,300 million [1.3 billion!] people have been killed, maimed or diseased by nuclear power since it’s inception. The industry’s figures massively underestimate the real cost of nuclear power, in an attempt to hide its victims from the world” (25).

Nadesan cites the former head of the UN, Kofi Annan who “calculated that at least 7,000,000 people were adversely impacted by the [Chernobyl] disaster.”

The Dangers Of Ionizing Radiation

One of the arguments often marshaled by nuclear apologists is that natural background radiation is not bad for you, ergo radiation released from nuclear fission processes is also safe.

However, Nadesan points out that “mitochondrial DNA is particularly vulnerable to disruption by ionizing radiation, even among people acculturated to relatively high levels of natural (not human produced) background exposure.” She found that in one study “children exposed to higher than ordinary gamma radiation…. found a 12 percent increase in childhood leukemia for every millisievert of natural gamma-radiation dose to bone marrow.” Iran is often mentioned by nuclear apologists as evidence that high background radiation is totally safe, and yet a study found that “higher rates of mitochondrial DNA mutations correlated with higher background exposure” and affected the genomic integrity of future generations of offspring.

In other words, neither natural background radiation nor manmade forms are safe: “common forms of exposure to ionizing radiation can cause cancer and leukemia and…genetic damage can be transmitted across generations.”

There is mounting evidence that radioactive pollution in the global environment plays “a causative role in childhood diseases such as autism and congenital heart disease” and that novel genetic mutations caused by radiation “may have significant transgenerational effects.” One researcher cited by Nadesan notes that “[g]enomic instability is an all-embracing term to describe the increased rate of acquisition of alternations in the genome.” The cellular process of life is open to “multiple pathways” for disruption and the perpetuation of “induced instability” from radiation.

In an important report from 2006, Nadesan concludes of its findings that “radiation exposure that overwhelms repair mechanisms can result in a cascade of genomic events posing long-term adverse effects for biological health and reproduction.”

Nadesan concludes her chapter on radiation effects with this disturbing indictment of the current health regime:

“[C]urrent risk models may under-predict the incidents and range of diseases caused by radiation exposure, within the individuals live span and across generations of their progeny. Bio-accumulation in organs, bio-magnification in predators, synergy effects, and the vulnerabilities produced by increased rates of transgenerational genetic mutations present significant challenges to the ecological validity of contemporary dose-effect models.”

This is a major scandal given that the establishment risk models focus on immediate doses to the individual rather than their descendants. That is what is called the Externalization Of Risk and what I call the Futurization Of Murder as we are exposed to “increasingly radiotoxic environments.”

Conclusion: Time To Loudly Ring The Warning Bell

Nadesan poses a question to thoughtful readers as well as to the lackey politicians tied to the nuclear industry, who claim to care about human and environmental welfare, and economic prosperity.
“A nuclear disaster such as Fukushima produces risks that are truly cataclysmic, but also immeasurable. How does one measure the range of diseases that will be caused and/or exacerbated by an increase of exposure to radioisotopes in the air , drinking water, precipitation, and food, especially across generations?”

But how can this be? By the very fact that radiation risks are largely immeasurable, the powers-that-be can hide behind plausible deniability, and go on their merry way even if their own children may come to suffer from Fukushima induced diseases. The warning bell has been rung loudly, but is there still time to save the planet? Nadesan poignantly asks:

“How many more bells will ring before humanity has destroyed its ecosystem and genome beyond repair?”

Thank you Professor Nadesan. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming: News at 11:00 followed by the late late show starring Peter Sellers in “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” Have a pleasant evening, and remember: “yeeehaw.”

Richard Wilcox  –  Richard Wilcox holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from a social science, holistic perspective. He teaches at a number of universities in the Tokyo, Japan area. His articles on environmental topics including the Fukushima nuclear disaster are archived at and are regularly published at Activist Post and


1. Majia Holmer Nadesan, Fukushima And The Privatization Of Risk. 2013, 149 pp. (Palgrave/Pivot).

2. Directory of Mark Twain’s maxims, quotations, and various opinions

3. Fukushima by the numbers

4. Water radiation soars at Fukushima No.1

5. 44.9 Trillion Becquerels Contamination Released to Sea & Air In Last 2 Years At Fukushima Daiichi

6. Fukushima contamination carried to shores of U.S.

7. Gov’t scientists concerned Atlantic Ocean to be contaminated by Fukushima plume now in Pacific — Currents carrying it to U.S. East Coast

8. Fukushima radiation circulating but diluting in Pacific

9. FAQ: Radiation from Fukushima, August 28, 2013

10. Fukushima’s Damnably Unstable Atoms Contaminate Pacific Ocean

11. Pump and pray: Tepco might have to pour water on Fukushima wreckage forever

12. Animal Anomalies: Is the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster a ‘Tipping Point’?

13. Fukushima isotopes are nearing West Coast — Official: U.S. ocean water to have 100 Bq/m3 of cesium-137?

14. Greenpeace Finds Cesium In Japanese Grocery Store Fish

15. US Pacific Coast Seaweed Shows With Fukushima Cesium Contamination

16. Cesium Found In Children’s Urine Shows Ongoing Widespread Problem In Japan

17. Japan’s secrets bill turns journalists into terrorists

18. Terrorists unite: All you have to lose is your freedom

19. Abe’s second strike against freedoms

20. The Plan For Japan

21. WHO Lies Refuted: Physicians’ Group Predicts 100,000+ Fukushima Cancer Incidences/Deaths

22. Exposing SCIENTIFIC FRAUD re; 911 truth.
See: 55 min. mark re; wind power
Tony Szamboti on Frank Greening & 9/11 controlled demolition debate

23. Soft Power: The U.S. Cultural Offensive and Japanese Intellectuals

24. Did the Atom Bomb Test Fallout Cause Cancer?

25. Victims Of The Nuclear Age

Mandela and Vanunu

Two Men of Courage

Counterpunch | MAIREAD MAGUIRE | December 23, 2013

This week the World’s political leaders stood united in admiration at the Memorial service in South Africa to honour the memory of Nelson Mandela, Leader of his country, and a man of courage who gave inspiration to many  people around the world.

Across the world in East Jerusalem in solitude sits another man of courage Mordechai Vanunu. In l986 Vanunu, the Israeli Nuclear whistle-blower, told  the world about Israel’s secret nuclear Weapons. For this he served 18 years in an Israeli prison, 12 in solitary confinement, and since his release in 2004 he has been forbidden to leave Israel, speak to foreigners, and is constantly under  surveillance.

On 25thDecember, 2013 Christmas day, he will be brought again before an Israeli Supreme Court and will, yet again, ask for his right to leave Israel. The Supreme Court can give him his freedom to go get on a plane and leave Israel as he wishes to do. I appeal to President Shimon Perez, to Prime Minister Netanyahu, to let him go. He is a man of peace, desiring freedom, who followed his conscience.

He is no threat to Israel. He like Mandela, has served now 27 years and deserves his freedom.

To the World’s Political Leaders who recognized in Mandela, a man of  Honour and courage and saluted him, I appeal to you to do all in your power to help Vanunu get his freedom now. You have it in your power To do so, please do not be ‘silent’ whilst Mordechai Vanunu suffers and is refused his basic rights.

To the World’s media, I appeal to you to report on Vanunu‘s continuing isolation and enforced silence by Israel.

To civil communities everywhere, I appeal to you to increase your efforts for Vanunu freedom and demand ‘Israel let our brother Mordechai Go.

We cannot be free while he is not free.

Mairead Maguire is a Nobel Peace Laureate and a co-founder Peace People.

Vanunu pleads with High Court to allow him to leave Israel

The Jerusalem Post | YONAH JEREMY BOB | 12/25/2013

Ex-technician at Dimona nuclear plant was imprisoned 18 years for divulging secrets related to Israel’s purported nuclear weapons program.


Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu Photo: Reuters

The High Court of Justice on Wednesday heard a petition submitted by Mordechai Vanunu, the man who leaked information regarding Israel’s reported nuclear weapons program in 1986, to leave the country via the West Bank.Vanunu’s lawyer, the charismatic and colorful Avigdor Feldman, thundered away at the state, saying, “This man is not allowed to leave a country that does not want him in it and in which he does not want to be.”He added that Vanunu merely wanted to leave the country to marry his girlfriend and live out his life quietly. Vanunu was formerly a technician at the Dimona nuclear plant who was imprisoned for 18 years for divulging secrets related to Israel’s purported nuclear weapons program.

Since his release from prison in 2004, Vanunu has had a range of highly unusual restrictions placed on his movement and his right to interact with other persons, particularly foreigners and the press. The High Court has numerous times approved these restrictions, and Vanunu has numerous times violated them, sometimes being temporarily penalized or reprimanded.

But Feldman claimed that after 29 years, Vanunu’s secret information was so dated that it could no longer threaten the state.

Feldman also said that Vanunu could have revealed secrets in other ways remotely, withoutneeding to speak to someone in person, but had chosen not to.

Regarding Vanunu’s violations in meeting with foreigners, Feldman claimed that he had not told them anything or been accused of telling them anything about Israel’s purported nuclear weapons program.

Feldman’s point was that Vanunu had never violated the substance of the restrictions against him; the attorney also presented the meeting his client had with foreigners as happenstance when he was out at a café.

He tried to portray the restrictions as unnecessary and draconian.

The state, in contrast, said that expert reports and secret information, which it presented to the court in a closed-door portion of the hearing, proved that Vanunu’s information was still relevant and its revelation would endanger state security.

Another report indicated that Vanunu was still highly motivated to divulge secrets if he left the country and was beyond the state’s reach, said the state.

Vanunu’s request comes after various recent legal developments, including a March 2011 law empowering the state to revoke certain convicts’ citizenship, and his desire to use the law as a way to get the state to revoke his citizenship and expel him from the country after repeated past requests were denied.

A decision is not expected soon.