Depleted Uranium


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Depleted Uranium

  1. 2. <ul><li>Depleted uranium is basically nuclear waste. It is found in spent nuclear reactor fuel and is also a byproduct of uranium enrichment. Depleted uranium is about 60 percent as radioactive as natural uranium. It has a half life of 4.468 billion years, and remains weakly radioactive due to this fact. It emits alpha particles that cannot penetrate the skin. Its radioactivity, however, is not the problem. DU is a highly toxic metal which can cause serious damage to internal organs if it manages to enter the body. </li></ul>
  2. 3. <ul><li>Because of its high density, depleted uranium has found applications in both the military and by civilians. In planes it is used as a counterweight, in medicine to shield patients from radiation during radiation therapy, and to transport radioactive materials, among other things. In the military it is used for armor plating as well as armor piercing projectiles. </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>Depleted uranium was used in armor piercing projectiles during the Gulf War because of its density and pyrophoric properties. Upon impact with armor plating, depleted uranium penetrators sharpen rather than mushroom like traditional lead rounds and send bits of shrapnel flying in every direction. Being that depleted uranium is pyrophoric, it reacts chemically with air and ignites whatever it comes into contact with. Fires produced by explosions are said to reach up to 500 degrees Celsius. </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>There are storage and processing facilities for depleted uranium all across the United States. Many are near civilians, including facilities where DU munitions are manufactured. </li></ul>
  5. 7. <ul><li>Not only is depleted uranium being stored and processed on U.S. soil near civilians, but it is being tested as well. The problem? DU munitions send dust miles into the air upon impact, and the particles don’t settle. Rather, they remain suspended in the air, which means that they can be transported to other areas when the wind blows, causing widespread contamination. </li></ul>
  6. 8. <ul><li>It is estimated that about 320 tons of depleted uranium were used in Iraq in the Gulf War. Debris and particles released during conflict remained sustained in the air after the war was over and civilians and soldiers alike were exposed to the effects of the toxic metal. The result was an increased rate of birth defects as well as leukemia in children, among other things. </li></ul>
  7. 9. <ul><li>Several soldiers who participated in the Gulf War have complained about suffering from strange afflictions including hair loss, joint pain, and fatigue. Increased rates of lymphoma have been reported. Soldiers have also reported deformities in their children and miscarriages. There have been so many complaints that this phenomena has even earned a name: Gulf War syndrome. Civilians living near DU storage and processing facilities have also reported contracting forms of cancer. </li></ul>
  8. 10. <ul><li>Depleted uranium is still present all across the United States, potentially placing you and people you know in harm’s way. With depleted uranium, it’s not all cut a dry. With a half life as long as the solar system is old and a number of afflictions it can cause, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. </li></ul><ul><li>There is an abundance of information on depleted uranium and it’s effects on the internet, but here are a few links if you’re interested in learning more and even joining the cause to end the production, use, and storage of depleted uranium. </li></ul><ul><li>WARNING: There may be graphic and disturbing images of people who’ve been affected by depleted uranium, so this is not a subject for the faint of heart. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>