Audizione informale del Direttore del Centro Europeo Ambiente e Salute dell'Organizzazione Mondiale della Sanità, dottor Roberto Bertollini, e di un esperto dell'organizzazione non governativa "Osservatorio etico ambientale", Marco Saba, sugli effetti prodotti dalle armi ad uranio impoverito utilizzate nel corso della crisi del Kosovo
[NB: il testo in giallo costituisce un aggiornamento successivo]
La schermata dal sito
Roberto Bertollini - Direttore
Marco Saba - i-Manager
Vito Leccese, Enzo Trantino
Federico Guglielmo Lento, Gualberto Niccolini
Francesco Maria Amoruso, Beniamino Andreatta, Adria Bartolich, Giovanni Bianchi, Alfredo Biondi, Umberto Bossi, Mario Brunetti, Fabio Calzavara, Pier Ferdinando Casini, Enrico Cavaliere, Gabriele Cimadoro, Domenico Comino, Famiano Crucianelli, Franco Danieli, Ciriaco De Mita, Antonio Di Bisceglie, Aventino Frau, Giuseppe Fronzuti, Marco Fumagalli, Franca Gambato, Giorgio La Malfa, Carlo Leoni, Ramon Mantovani, Franco Marini, Antonio Martino, Antonio Martusciello, Francesco Monaco, Stefano Morselli, Rosario Olivo, Elio Massimo Palmizio, Marco Pezzoni, Romano Prodi, Michele Rallo, Umberto Ranieri, Dario Rivolta, Gianfranco Saraca, Mirko Tremaglia, Giuliano Urbani, Valter Veltroni, Marco Zacchera, Mauro Zani
Paesi in cui sono state usate queste armi
Nel 1960, il primo progetto organico di riciclaggio
Il primo uso durante un conflitto: Yom Kippur
Storia delle armi "impoverite": il Pentagono non le voleva?
Novità: l'uranio "impoverito" è fissionabile...
Perché queste armi sono illegali (Karen Parker)
Pericoli per la salute dall'uso di uranio impoverito
Quali cure praticabili ai soggetti esposti
Cosa sta succedendo in Iraq (Dan Fahey) (IAEA)
Quale situazione abbiamo nel Kosovo
Cosa si è fatto
Cosa si potrebbe fare
Bibliografia e riassunto di alcuni testi
Commiato e nota
Perché si è arrivati a questa convocazione ed alla presente situazione? Secondo noi perché l'accordo del 1959 tra IAEA e WHO ha creato una situazione tale per cui l'argomento "effetto sulla salute delle radiazioni" è diventato una sorta di tabù. Difatti dopo decenni di esperimenti sull'uomo eseguiti (si-spera-solo) negli USA, gli effetti sulla salute dell'uranio e di altri materiali radioattivi sono perfettamente noti. Per capire l'importanza della risoluzione WHA 12-40 del 28 maggio 1959, alleghiamo qui di seguito il discorso tenuto nell'occasione dal Dr.KAZANIEV della IAEA (ringraziando il WHO di avercelo fornito in tempo):
A12/VR/11 page 16
"Mr KAZANIEV (International
Atomic Energy Agency)
(translation from the Russian): Mr President [i.e. Marinesco], allow me to thank you sincerely for giving me the opportunity of speaking at a plenary meeting of your Twelfth Assembly on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
May I assure you and all the delegates to your Assembly that we of the Atomic Energy Agency well understand and highly appreciate the humane objectives and practical work of your Organization, which aims at uniting the efforts of all countries in order to use the achievements of world medical science and practice for the well-being of all people in the world and to make them available to all nations.
The International Atomic Energy Agency pursues the same aims as your Organization. It is working to unite the efforts of all countries towards the application of the greatest discovery of the twetieth century for the benefit of all, to ensure that the energy of the atom is used for peaceful purposes, and that it becomes a constructive force.
It is not yet twenty years since the energy of the atom was discovered, but we are witnesses of how the persistent efforts of human genius have already led to the application of atomic energy as a constructive force in many fields of human endeavour: in industry, in agriculture and in science, including medical research and medical practice.
The practical importance of the Agreement on co-operation between our two Organizations is to unite their efforts and the possibilities they offer in order to obtain maximum results in fulfilling those tasks with which they are faced.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has striven, from the very beginning of its existence, in October 1957, and is striving now, to develop its co-operation with various international organizations and to extend collaboration and mutual cp-ordination of their activities. This is shown by the fact that the Agency has already concluded an agreement and is successfully co-operating with the United Nations and with such extremely important United Nations bodies as the Economic and Social Council, the Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance, the Special Fund, the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination and a number of other bodies. In addition the Agency has agreements for co-operation with UNESCO, the International Labour Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Meteorological Organization, and is engaged in conversations with a number of other international organizations concerning the conclusion of agreements for co-operation with them.
You know, Mr. President, that under the terms of its Statute the Agency deals with various aspects of the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. Many of these aspects touch on the activities of your Organization also. It is sufficient to say that in accordance with its programme of activity the Agency embarked in 1958 on the training of 190 technicians and scientists connected with atomic energy in courses lasting from six months to six years. Twenty-seven of these 190 persons are being trained for practical work and scientific research on the use of isotopes in medicine. In 1959 the Agency has increased its training of staff for the peaceful uses of atomic energy. The programme for this year envisages the training of 243 technicians and scientific research workers. It is planned that 46 of these will be trained in the use of isotopes in medicine.
Another aspect of the Agency's activities deserves attention. Its programme for 1959 envisages the carrying out of work on the application of isotopes in medicine, which the Agency has divided onto four sections, namely diagnosis, the preparation of isotopes for therapy, therapy itself and medical research. The Agency is carrying out a whole series of other tasks and is in particular working out standards of radioactivity and health-protection and safety standards, as well as methods and regulations for the disposal of radioactive waste.
In view of the nature of the Agency's activities on regard to these problems, it was naturally eager to establish contact with your organization. A few months, therefore, after the foundation of the Agency consultation between our organizations began at Secretariat level concerning the possibility of concluding an agreement for the co-ordination of activity and the evidences of undesirable duplication.
You know, Mr. President, that the General Conference of the Agency unanimously approved the text of that Agreement on October last. The conclusion of the Agreement is beyond doubt of great importance for co-operation between our two organizations. I should like, however, to draw your attention, Mr President, to the fact that the Agreement undoubtedly requires from our organizations persistent day-to-day work together, and in our opinion only such work can satisfy the lofty objectives of the Agreement and create true co-operation.
The small amount of experiences accumulated so far in the solving of certain practical problems of co-operation between our two organizations shows that they both correctly understand the spirit and meaning of this co-operation and can work successfully to solve problems of mutual interest.
Le PRESIDENT PAR INTERIM: Merci, Monsieur Kazaniev."
Spetta al Ministro della
Sanità adoperarsi per annullare questo accordo scandaloso.
Indichiamo alcuni paesi dove sono state usate le armi all'uranio o dove si sono verificati incidenti dall'uso di queste armi, anche al fine di individuare eventuali rischi per il personale italiano:
Germania 1988 Crash e incendio di un aereo A-10 a Remscheid
Germania 1988 Incendio di 3 tank M60
Amsterdam 1992 Crash e incendio di un aereo 747
Arabia Saudita 1993
Germania 1993 [errata corrige: l'incidente in Germania "US Army accidental fire" è avvenuto nel 1988]
Kosovo 1999 Crash e incendio di due Apache e un aereo C-130
Londra 1999 Crash e incendio di un aereo 747
In Francia e Inghilterra
vi sono fabbriche e poligoni di tiro per queste armi. La Germania ha in
dotazione carri armati con armature in uranio.
Nel 1960, il Batelle Memorial
pubblica uno studio su come riciclare l'uranio impoverito in prodotti "civili":
Potential Nonnuclear Uses For Depleted Uranium, Harlan W. Nelson e Roland
L. Carmichael, scritto il 29 gennaio 1960, stampato nel luglio dello stesso
anno e reso pubblico nel 1999. Il testo era stato redatto per l'Oak Ridge
Operations Office, United States Atomic Energy Commission (oggi NRC) dal
Batelle Memorial Institute. L'Oak Ridge è uno dei tre impianti dove
si prepara l'uranio impoverito dall'UF6 (esafluoruro di uranio), uno dei
5 sistemi allora conosciuti. Si menziona che già una ditta aeronautica
aveva ottenuto la licenza per produrre i contrappesi per aerei all'uranio,
dovrebbe trattarsi della Lockheed poiché da una intervista resaci
da un ingegnere di Pratica di Mare, pare che già allora fossero
in uso su prototipi di velivoli militari.E' interessante notare che nel
libro si cita l'uso di piombo e tungsteno. Almeno per quest'ultimo bisogna
dire che sia per le pallottole che per i contrappesi è senz'altro
migliore. Il tungsteno, comunemente usato nei filamenti delle lampadine,
è addirittura più pesante dell'uranio. Altri usi suggeriti
per l'uranio, nel testo: componente di leghe metalliche, per produzione
di sferette metalliche, come messa-a-terra per impianti, etc. Nel testo
sono inoltre riportati gli effetti sulla salute dell'uranio impoverito,
noterete che già allora si aveva un quadro completo.
Dagli archivi della CIA:
Un articolo sul Wall Street Journal del 10 giugno 1991 rivela alcuni retroscena interessanti che potrebbero fare nuova luce su certe politiche estere: "La legge impone al Pentagono di comprare e immagazzinare metallo che non vuole". 200 milioni di dollari d'uranio: perché? La Nuclear Metals Inc. (Concord, Massachussets, oggi STARMET) ha reclutato legislatori, il centro di rifornimento dell'esercito ed il Dipartimento dell'Energia per far diventare "legge" l'ordine di acquisto.
Tra gli altri dati nell'articolo:
- "Il nostro Governo risponde alle nostre pressioni" dice il capo della società George Matthews, "c'era forse un altro modo [per vendere l'uranio]?"
- La Nuclear Metals Inc. deriva da un progetto metallurgico del MIT del tempo del Progetto Manhattan iniziato durante la seconda guerra mondiale, trasforma cristalli di esafluoruro di uranio in uranio metallico, è una società pubblica che è cresciuta 6 volte dal 1977 al 1983 raggiungendo un fatturato di 58 milioni di dollari;
- la NMI scrittura un lobbista, Edward Kinghorn, finanzia le elezioni del Senatore Storm Thurmond al Congresso con 25.875 dollari nel 1989 e 1990 ed ottiene la legge che impone l'acquisto del DU per la Riserva, senza che il Pentagono possa dire la sua;
- per allargare la lobby, coinvolge nell'ordinativo l'unica altra società che fabbrica uranio, la Aerojet Ordnance Tennessee, sussidiaria della GenCorp Inc., che entra nel business;
- a giugno, il Senatore Storm Thurmond, aiutato dall'altro Senatore democratico del South Carolina Ernest Hollings e dal Senatore democratico del Tennessee James Sasser, trasformano il disegno di legge in legge effettiva;
- si citano due incidenti in cui sono stati sotterrati dei carrarmati risultati troppo contaminati, in Germania ed Arabia Saudita durante degli allenamenti: il Pentagono non vuole responsabilità;
- il Pentagono fa svolgere delle indagini e scopre che la necessità di uranio era stata sovrastimata di cinque volte;
- il vicepresidente della NMI asserisce:"Promuoveremo per sempre l'importanza dell'uranio nella nostra società...".
Insomma, uranio "democratico"?
Il vero problema, a nostro avviso, è che di queste scorie non si
sa bene cosa fare. E negli USA nessuno stato le vuole sul suo territorio.
Questa la spiegazione fornita
da James E. Phelps, ex-direttore dell'ORNL:
There are two ways weapons can be banned --
(1) by a specific treaty banning a particular weapon or
(2) by operation of existing humanitarian (armed conflict) law and human rights.
DU is illegal by the second way -- in other words DU weapons violate existing humanitarian and human rights law. Note: Humanitarian law is the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Convention and all other treaty-based or customary rules of the laws and customs of war.
There are 4 criteria under which all weapons must be evaluated:
1. the geographical criteria -- weapons may only be used in the geographical area of a war. This means both in the countries at war, not in neighboring countries, and also only in legal fields of battle -- not schools, hospitals, civilain lands and buildings.
2. the "time" requirement. Weapons may only be used for the duration of the war. Weapons that can kill or have a negative effect after the war is over are illegal.
3. The "humane" test. Weapons may not be unduly inhumane.
4. the "environment" test. Weapons may not unduly harm the natural environment.
DU fails IN ALL FOUR TESTS.
1. DU cannot be geographically contained to the legal field of battle.
2. DU lasts far after the war is over.
3. DU must be viewed as inhumane -- killing children years after the war is over, being a cause of serious birth defects long after the war is over, killing by cancer and other horrific medical problems is per se inhumane.
4. DU has a devastating effect on the environment -- and for years after the war.
A country that uses DU weapons stays effectively at war for years after the war is over. Legal liablity for war damage from DU remains for the lifetime of the effects. The fact that DU may not be legally used because of its effects is one reason the US insists on the sanctions regime. The US does not the usual array of humanitarain and human righs organizations to go to Iraq to see for themselves (and Iraq is still "hot" so these persons could get ill). Also, the US hopes as many DU-effected people will die before the news is out so that there will not be people to seek legal damages (money) for the violations. I personally think DU has a genocidal effect in that it causes so many birth defects and may alter the genetic pool of an effected country. (The "inhumane" is particularily inhumane).
Remember that the International Court of Justice in its nuclear case outlines that existing law does provide checks on weapons but did not elaborate on the above outline test. This test is my legal work product so I would appreciate citing me for it although it is in existing humanitarian law. No one had pulled out all the criteria before I did. Also, the United Nations Sub-Commission on Human Rights acknowledged that such a test exists as the Sub-Commission has passed two resolutions to that effect and has undertaken a thorough evaluation of the issue. In the first round of that process, the UN Secretary-General issued a preliminary report on weapons in light of existing law in which he included many pages of my Memorandum on Weapons in Light of Humanitarian Law that I prepared for the Sec-Gen and the Sub-Commission. The work is still on the table and should proceed further at the next session. Meanwhile, the US is trying to derail this effort. However, the US is a little too late as the Sec. Gen has already published my legal findings (along with the legal findings and comments from other sources as well). It is clear that the Sub-Commission agrees that existing laws may ban weapons even though there is no specific treaty. And even if we got a treaty banning DU, the US would not ratify it and would seek to establish that therefore DU is legal for the US. This is not the case and never will be. DU fails the existing test. I am happy to provide more comments and actually am seeking funds to compile all the DU-UN documents. Seeing as I instigated them beginning in 1996. As you know I am a non-governmental representative (International Educational Development/Humanitarian Law Project) at the UN human rights and began the anti-DU/anti sanctions effort in 1996. At the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1996 we invited Margarita Papandreou (Greece) to join us -- which she did-- and she addressed the Commission on sanctions. I have continued to lead this work. Hope this is enough and all the best.
I pericoli in caso di
ingestione, inalazione, iniezione all'interno dell'organismo, sono:
- pericolo radiologico/carcinogeno (polmoni, ossa)
- pericolo chimico/tossico (reni)
- pericolo mutagenico (seme maschile, ovaio): deformità nei bambini, etc.
- pericolo immunitario generale (linfonodi, interazione fluoro-uranio, effetti globali)
[Notare la recente risoluzione del Senato USA per risarcimenti: non rilevanza fumatori/non fumatori]
all'uranio che ne aumentano i rischi:
- pericolo piroforico e in caso di incendio (usi civili e militari)
Durante la "International
Conference on Low-Level Radiation Injury and Medical Countermeasures November
8-10, 1999 - Bethesda, MD - USA", è venuto fuori un approccio nutrizionale
per la cura degli effetti della contaminazione. Questo a causa del fatto
che prodotti chemioterapici hanno gravi effetti collaterali. Si è
parlato quindi di antiossidanti e di vitamina "E" presa in grandi dosi.
Tenuto conto del fatto che essa è l'ingrediente principale di una
terapia molto discussa in Italia (MDB) ma che ha portato a notevoli percentuali
di sopravvivenza tra i malati di tumore, varrebbe la pena di approfondire
per non perdere una occasione importante per il nostro paese. La MDB potrebbe
rivelarsi un approccio importante per la prevenzione.
Dan Fahey è il responsabile per l'uranio impoverito della "Military Toxics Projctet", una ONG nata per evitare l'inquinamento negli USA dovuto all'uso di armi tossiche. Lettera dal reduce americano Dan Fahey sulla situazione in Iraq (gennaio 2000) :
DU Use Continues in Iraq
In 1997 I received a Freedom of Information Act response from the Department of Defense that stated US A-10 aircraft fired 783,514 rounds of 30mm DU ammunition during the 1991 Gulf War. Each round contains a DU penetrator weighing 0.666 pounds or 0.302 kg. Therefore, 521,820 pounds or 236,621 kg of DU was released in 1991 from rounds shot by A-10's.
I just came across a FOIA response from the 11th Wing of the US Air Force, dated May 24, 1999, providing information about "the use of depleted uranium in Yugoslavia and Iraq." The letter states, in part, "Iraq: Approximately 982,000 rounds of 30mm ammunition was expended during the Gulf War to the present date." This would appear to indicate that American aircraft have fired an additional 200,000 30mm DU rounds in Iraq since 1991. This seems plausible, considering the active war American aircraft have waged over Iraq since 1991. If this is true, American aircraft have released an additional 133,200 pounds, or 60,400 kg, of depleted uranium in Iraq. This would raise the official total estimate of DU shot in Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia to approximately 773,200 pounds (387 tons), or 350,000 kg.
If you are interested in
writing your own request for information about the amount of depleted uranium
shot in Yugoslavia or Iraq, write to:
Freedom of Information and Security Review
OASD (PA), Room 2C757
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400
Be sure to state that you are requesting information in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act. Ask that any fees be waived, and ask to be informed if there are any fees prior to the request being fulfilled. It's time for the war to end, for the use of DU to stop, for the civilians to be warned, and for the US act as a true world leader and go into Iraq and clean up DU contamination.
Dopo questa lettera, non
abbiamo più ricevuto notizie da Dan.
[Da febbraio 2000 invece è ripresa la corrispondenza. Nel giugno 2000 Dan si ritira definitivamente dall'incarico sul DU al Military Toxics Project.]
Iraq delegation presented during the 42nd General Conference September 1998, a document entitled "Radiation Effects". It included detailed information about the military aggression on Iraq, during which depleted uranium bullets were used for the first time in history. This was in violation to international agreements, the articles of which considered the protection of natural environment, which is stated in the 1977 first additional protocol to the Geneva agreement which was signed on 12 August 1949. It also violates the two treaties of Den Haag signed (1899, 1907) respectively. It also violates the principles of Nuremberg Act of 1945.
This action caused a great radioactive pollution to the environment where these bullets were used. Residents are still suffering its effects up to day. Disease which do not commonly appear in the region such as various forms of cancer, and early pregnancy abortion, deformed babies in addition to the after effects which may damage hereditary genes and future effects of radioactive waste resulting from radioactive aerosols due to the bombardment. This effect may be transferred to other regions in the country due to natural phenomena. Etc.
L'elenco delle patologie delle quali si è riscontrato un significativo aumento statistico:
Infertilità, deficenza renale, alterazioni della pelle, "blackfever", atrofia della tiroide, interruzioni di gravidanza, deformazione del feto e cancro.
La relazione parla della
previsione di 500.000 morti a fronte di 300 tonnellate impiegate.
Se, come pare, nella Repubblica
Federale Yugoslavia ne sono state sparate 100 tonnellate di uranio impoverito
(anche della Bosnia, nel periodo 1994-1995, non si hanno dati precisi ma
all'ospedale di Sarajevo è possibile verificare il risultato), si
può ipotizzare per similitudine un'incidenza su 170.000 persone.
Quello che ci colpisce, al contrario di quanto avvenuto per l'Iraq, è
che non si facciano progressi ufficiali nel sapere quante e dove sono state
sparate di queste armi nei balcani. Neanche l'UNEP è riuscito ad
avere risposte dalla NATO. Tuttavia il secondo rapporto dell'UNEP che alleghiamo,
è un buon punto di partenza per una valutazione della situazione
di fronte alla quale dovremmo trovarci. Bisogna tenere presente che affrontare
coscienziosamente questo problema, per evitare che nei Balcani un genocidio
avvenga davvero ed alla luce finora della mancanza di collaborazione da
parte della NATO nel reperimento delle informazioni, vuol dire far lievitare
la spesa della ricostruzione ad oltre 200 miliardi di dollari. Per la NATO
non è difficile chiarire le cose poiché ogni operazione di
bombardamento dovrebbe essere stata registrata. Tuttavia si ricorda che
anche per quanto riguarda le bombe sganciate nel lago di Garda, nulla ancora
Si tenga presente che da nostre fonti ufficiose, dovrebbero essere state impiegate anche un paio di tipi di mine anticarro all'UI: una francese ed una americana. Per quanto riguarda l'Adriatico, la cifra è ricavabile dalla differenza tra le bombe caricate sugli aerei e quelle effettivamente sganciate nella RFJ. Difatti gli aerei non possono atterrare con queste armi a bordo per vari motivi.
Estratti dal rapporto dell'Agenzia
della protezione dell'Ambiente delle Nazioni Unite
UNEP/UNCHS Balkans Task Force (BTF) DU Report - October 1999
"In general, however, it
is expected that due to the insoluble nature of the dispersed uranium and
uranium oxides (UO2, UO3, U3O8), these compounds will pose primarily a
radiological, not chemical, toxicological risk following inhalation.
8.2.5. Conclusion on chemical toxicity
In general, it can be concluded that soluble uranium compounds do have a greater chemical toxicity than insoluble compounds. This toxicity results primarily in kidney damage. Depending on the degree of exposure, impairment of kidney function could occur after a few days. Often these effects will disappear after cessation of exposure, although kidney morphology will not return to normal. "
Radiation exposures are controlled on the basis of a system of radiation protection proposed by the ICRP. The objective of this system is to prevent the occurrence of acute effects (which may occur at high doses and dose rates) and to minimise the risk of cancer, which may be predicted at lower doses and dose rates. The doses and dose rates normally encountered are very much lower than those at which acute effects may occur. The primary potential health effect of concern, is the risk of cancer induction.
The system of radiation protection is based on the underlying assumption of a linear relationship between dose and the risk of cancer induction. Limits and reference levels for radiation exposures therefore do not reflect the borderline between what is safe and unsafe, but rather a balance of what may be tolerable and what is unacceptable.
For example, ICRP have recommended dose limits of 20 mSv per year for workers, and 1 mSv per year for members of the public. These limits relate to exposures from practices, which may be controlled prospectively, that is to say, the dose received due to the practice may be foreseen and measures taken in advance. The limits are not directly relevant to clean-up criteria for material already existing in the environment. Such criteria are currently under
development by ICRP and IAEA. These suggest that some form of remediation may be necessary if long-term exposures exceed around 10 mSv.
These and other levels, together with the global annual average dose from natural sources of 2.2 mSv, may provide a basis for judging predicted doses from exposures to DU in the environment.
Of the NATO forces, U.S., British and French have DU weapons in their arsenals. The U.S. A-10 Warthog attack plane is usually equipped with DU rounds. The British Harrier plane also uses DU rounds and French aircraft probably do so. That airplanes in Kosovo used DU is not confirmed.
The U.S. A-10 Warthog airplanes are designed to be used against tanks and other vehicles. In Kosovo, the Warthogs searched the theatre for targets. Most of the attacks were made against dummies. Information in the press claims that over 90% of the targets hit were dummies, and it was stated by a KFOR officer in Kosovo that many attacks were made against dummies. This implies that DU ammunition, if used, may be found in many places in Kosovo. However, it is less likely that this kind of ammunition has been used against buildings and industrial sites.
If DU ammunition was used, NATO airforces may have exact information on where it was used. When an attack begins a video records the event and the coordinates of the target are automatically stored.
The DU ammunition used by the A-10s is fired by the General Electric GAU-8/A 30 mm seven-barrel gattling gun. This is said to fire 3900 round per minute. The bullet has a length of 173 mm and a diameter of 30 mm (Figure 1). The bullet is covered by an aluminum case. Inside the bullet is a conical DU penetrator. Its length is 95 mm and the diameter at the base 16 mm. The weight is 292 g.
There are some suggestions that DU was used in rockets and missiles. During the visit to Kosovo by the BTF Fact Finding Group, it was mentioned that DU might have been used as counterweights in cruise missiles. In the Gulf War, DU also was used in tank ammunition. NATO tanks were never used in combat in Kosovo, but it might be possible that DU rounds were fired from tanks across the borders from Macedonia and Albania. To work on the basis of correct information on the possible use of DU in the Kosovo conflict it is necessary to receive data from NATO.
3.2.4. Inhalation of resuspended DU
By wind, walking in the area,
digging etc. dust from ground may be air born and be inhaled. All DU is
assumed to be present in the form of small particles (<10 m) and to
be in the form of insoluble oxides (Type S), which are cleared from the
lungs only slowly.
Soil samples can be used
to investigate if an area has been contaminated by DU. The samples have
to be analysed at laboratories. Several different methods are used. The
more investigations of DU can rely on measurements of radiation in the
field the better, as measurements in the field always is faster and cheaper
than analyses of samples at laboratories. However, the radiation from the
DU might be too week to detect with field instruments and this might make
it difficult to determine small contamination of an area and from that
decide on the need to bound the affected area.
3. Waste disposal
3.1. The problem
At the places, where depleted uranium (DU) has been used, uranium dust and pieces of DU are assumed to be found within a rather limited area, the target area. When the contaminated areas are identified, measured and decontaminated there will be an amount of waste containing DU diluted with soil and others like contaminated clothes, tools, instruments etc. Probably the volumes are not huge but because of the radioactivity the waste would be considered as potentially dangerous and need special treatment. Furthermore, solid pieces of
DU should be taken care of by official bodies like the police or some other authority and then be stored as radioactive material or radioactive waste until further instructions are given. Normally radioactive waste is generated in connection with some civil, beneficial and justified use of radioactive material and the waste has to be taken care of in an optimised way according to well specified regulations.
But in the case of DU used for military purposes there are quite different conditions which put the problems into other perspectives.
3.2. The principles
Even though there are quite different conditions after a military conflict some guidance can nevertheless be obtained from principles on waste management and disposal applied in normal conditions.
As regard radioactive waste there is a well-developed system in most countries for waste management and disposal based on internationally accepted principles. However, even if these basic principles are the same in most countries, namely the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) recommendations and EU´s and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)´s basic safety standards for the protection of workers and the public completed with the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management there are differences in the practical applications concerning methods and applied limits for different types of waste and disposal options. An agreed general principle is that increasing activity of the waste requires safer disposal option. Other influencing factors are kind of radiation, radionuclide and half-life. That means that potentially least dangerous waste can be exempted or cleared from ordinary radiation protection requirements and can be handled and disposed of as ordinary non-radioactive waste. Next steps may be shallow land burial, rock repository and finally deep geological disposal for the most dangerous waste (high level waste and spent fuel).
Considering the management and disposal of depleted uranium as waste there are no generally accepted standards and there are few examples of national applications. An example is given in Appendix11. The problem is not only technical. Depending on the national legislation uranium in manageable quantities may not be considered as waste but as nuclear material with an economic value with special requirements as regards licensing, control and safeguard.
In comparison with the reference levels that exist for different types of radioactive waste, uranium in any form as a long-lived alpha radiation emitter would not be expected to be waste that could be exempted or cleared but should be taken care of as potentially dangerous waste. However, exemptions/clearance occur. That depends on the fact that uranium because of its long half-life has a very low specific activity and can easily be diluted to harmless concentrations. For example, uranium from leaching processes can in small amounts (of the order of 100 kg per year) and low concentrations (a few hundred ppm) be disposed of in a municipal refuse dump or landfill for non-radioactive waste. The estimated risks are very low and the only way of exposure (might occur after a considerable time) is by consumption of fish from a nearby lake or water from a well.
As to the chemical toxicity aspects, there may be special regulations that specify what is to be considered as dangerous and not dangerous waste. In the latter case the waste is taken care of in municipal refuse dumps and in the former case in special facilities for dangerous waste. In case of uranium in larger amounts it would be considered as dangerous waste from chemical point of view.
3.3. Tentative solutions of the problems with depleted uranium as waste in Kosovo
If depleted uranium has been used in the Kosovo conflict and the countermeasures in attacked areas have led to manageable amounts of waste, concerned authorities should decide firstly
-who is responsible to take care of the waste
secondly, the one(s) responsible should,
-prepare and issue instructions
on the management and disposal of the waste based on the following tentative
1. collected dust mixed with soil etc. is brought to a municipal refuse dump.
2. collected solid pieces of depleted uranium are taken care of by responsible authorities and stored pending later decisions on disposal or other solution.
These tentative recommendations have to be analyzed more in detail before applied and implemented.
U.S. regulations on waste disposal
The Clean Air Act (CAA) classifies all substances containing radionuclides as hazardous substances (40 Code of Federal Regulations, CFR, 61; 42 U.S. Code, USC, 7412). Any substance classified as hazardous under CAA is also classified as hazardous under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) (42 USC 9601). However, CERCLA excludes DU from its requirements if the release of DU into the environment occurs in compliance with a valid Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) permit, license, regulations or order. Furthermore, RCRA excludes DU in its definition of solid waste. Disposal of DU is controlled by the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act (LLRWPA) and its amendments and by NRC regulations (10 CFR 612; 10 CFR 20). In the United States, the Army must manage expended DU ammunition and vehicles contaminated with DU according to LLRWPA. This act allows states to create regional compacts for low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) disposal. The Army must dispose of LLRW at either a federal disposal facility or a state compact facility. (U.S. AEPI 1994)
“The US Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC) allows the Army to bury low concentrations of DU with
no restrictions on burial method. Under this option DU must meet EPA standards.
In addition, the waste must not expose the public to more than 1 millirad
per year (0.01 mSv/y) of radiation to the lungs or 3 millirads per year
(0.03 mSv/y) to the bone from inhalation and ingestion for any foreseeable
use of material or property. In addition, the concentrations must be low
enough that no individual will receive an external dose in excess of 10
micro-roentgen (0.1 µSv/h) above background. These standards are
compatible with guidelines recommended by EPA (42 FR 60956-60959; 46 FR
Alternatively, NRC allows the Army to dispose of low concentrations of Du by burying them under prescribed conditions so that no subsequent land use restrictions and no continuing NRC licensing of the material are required. The concentration of DU must be low enough that no member of the public will receive more than 1 millirad per year to the lungs, 3 millirad per year to the bone, or 10 µR/h (0.10 µSv/h) above background if they avoid excavation in the burial ground (46 FR 52061-63)”. (U.S. AEPI 1994).
L'Osservatorio Etico Ambientale
ha creato un sito Internet dove ha reso disponibili a tutti i documenti
raccolti sull'uranio impoverito. Alcuni deputati e senatori hanno presentato
interrogazioni di cui alcune ancora senza risposta. La Commissione Affari
Esteri si è interessata sentendo vari esperti. Alcuni media hanno
parlato del problema.
Dal punto di vista giuridico,
recepire la "UN Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection
of Minorities - Resolution condemning the use of Depleted Uranium and certain
other weapons - 48th session - agosto 1996" evitando che il nostro paese
sia usato come base di partenza per l'utilizzo di questi armamenti in conflitti
e dando un chiaro segnale alla comunità internazionale. Proporre
al Parlamento Europeo e/o al Consiglio d'Europa di fare altrettanto. Oltre
a sensibilizzare la NATO al fine di acquisire dati necessari per difendere
le popolazioni da rischi inutili, e magari proporre di sostituire le armi
all'uranio con quelle al tungsteno tra l'altro prodotte dalle stesse case
(vedi Primex), ci sono degli accorgimenti che sarebbe utile adottare, visto
che si è affrontata la questione, anche per i vari usi civili in
cui v'è rischio d'incendio. Il rapporto dei VdF di Malpensa del
14 c.m. dimostra che la struttura non è adeguatamente preparata
anche culturalmente ad affrontare questo problema. L'Alitalia in televisione
parla di un chilo di uranio sul velivolo mentre la casa costruttrice di
contrappesi (STARMET) parla di 1.500 chili per velivolo.Il Ministero dell'Interno
manda circolari dove parla di "necessità di usare l'uranio sugli
aerei" quando di fatto varie compagnie l'hanno sostituito col tungsteno
(come la JAL, la Martinair, etc.), evitando di esporre la popolazione a
rischi inutili anche nell'eventualità di un incendio del velivolo.Lo
stesso presidente della STARMET in una riunione negli USA ha dichiarato
che non v'è futuro per l'uso di uranio come contrappeso negli aerei.
Si ricorda che nessuna assicurazione copre i rischi per incidenti di questo
tipo (neanche all'estero) prevedendo anzi una clausola specifica di esclusione
per il nucleare. Chi ripaga le vittime?
Studi e pubblicazioni dello scienziato Leonard A. Dietz che dimostrano:
a- che una particella di
ossido di uranio della dimensione inferiore a 5 micron, una volta
dispersa nell'aria può raggiungere qualsiasi punto della terra;
b- che una volta che una
di queste particelle viene respirata, irradia localmente con raggi alfa
il tessuto dei polmoni con dosi significative;
c- un metodo corrretto per valutare la quantità di raggi alfa emessi dall'uranio impoverito;
d- che civili e militari sono stati inconsapevolmente contaminati dall'uranio impoverito.
DU Spread and Contamination
of Gulf War Veterans and Others, Dietz-LA, Metal of
Dishonour, Depleted Uranium. How the Pentagon radiates soldiers & civilians with DU weapons
pg 134-152, July 19 1996
How Micrometer-Size Uranium
Particles Can Become Suspended in Air and Dispersed by Wind
Leonard A. Dietz, February 19, 1993
of Uranium-238 into Thorium-234, Protactinium-234 and Uranium-234, Dietz-LA,
Self, unpubl, Jan 17 1993
Alpha-Counting Method for
Analyzing Depleted Uranium - Uranium Battlefields
Home & Abroad - Depleted Uranium Use by the U.S. Department of Defense,
by Bukowski-G and Lopez-DA, October 22 1991 - Appendix 10 - pg 143-151, Dietz-LA,
Estimate of Radiation Dose
from a Depleted Uranium Oxide Particle - Uranium Battlefields
Home & Abroad - Appendix 11 - pg 153-155, Dietz-LA, Depleted Uranium Use by the U.S.
Department of Defense, by Bukowski-G and Lopez-DA, May 24 1991
Dietz LA. CHEM-434-LAD: Investigation
of excess alpha activity observed in recent air filter
collections and other environmental samples [Unclassified Technical Report]. Schenectady
(NY): Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory; 1980 January 24.
A. Dietz and J. C. Sheffield, "Secondary electron emission induced by 5-30
ions striking thin oxide films", Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 46, No 10, October 1975,
Dietz è stato recentemente operato per una cataratta ed è
The Angry Genie : One Man's
Walk Through the Nuclear Age by Karl Ziegler Morgan, Ken M. Peterson
240 pages (June 1999)
The Plutonium Files : America's
Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War
by Eileen Welsome (Pulitzer Prize)
(October 1999) 576 pages
The Nuclear Barons by Peter.
578 pages of text, a bibliography, a section of notes, and an index.
The Nuclear Barons: An international elite of scientists, technocrats and businessmen who have for more than four decades, controlled the world's destiny. Their decisions - usually kept secret, often shortsighted, sometimes veiled by lies and obfuscations - have led inexorably to the present nuclear mess. Radiation hazards, prohibitively costly energy, waste disposal systems, plant safety, weapons proliferation: the nuclear nightmares we live with are the direct result of choices that were never thought through to their logical conclusions, never opened to public debate.
Uno dei tanti testi sui risultati degli esperimenti sull'uomo:
Title: MAXIMUM PERMISSIBLE
AMOUNTS OF NATURAL URANIUM IN THE BODY, AIR AND DRINKING WATER BASED ON
HUMAN EXPERIMENTAL DATA ( HEALTH PHYSICS, VOL 1, PP 288-305 - 1958 )
Author: BERNARD, S.R.
Opennet Entry Date: 08/27/1994
Si può trovare in Internet: http://www.osti.gov:80/
L'inganno nucleare (THE NUCLEAR
Radiazioni, cancro, epidemiologia
Nuclear Regulatory Commission on DU hazards dated 1966
This information is from a FOIA request to the NRC for information concerning DU. What the NGWRC received was over 17,000+ pages of information showing how significant is the knowledge of the NRC and the DOD on hazards associated with depleted uranium, spanning from 1961 to 1997. This information shows how much data has been aquired pertaining to test firing depleted uranium munitions since 1958. Aerosolization data, air sampling, resuspension, protective measures, medical measures and data.
One of these pages was provided
to OSAGWI when they released the RAND report on DU, which was promptly
ignored with the statement that "this page speaks only to uranium and thorium".
The subject line clearly indicates it also concerns depleted uranium.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
on DU hazards dated 1966 (allegato)
ANNEX D-1 AMXBDC-X 229
STANDING OPERATING PROCEDURE FOR HANDLING, USE AND STORAGE OF URANIUM AND THORIUM
11 febbraio 1966
Potential for Discovering Commercial Uses
Steven M. Baker, Ph. D.
5 August 1998
Hanson, Wayne C. Ecological Considerations of Depleted Uranium Munitions, LA-5559. Los Alamos, NM: Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, June 1974.
This report concluded that the major ecological hazard from expended DU munitions would be chemical toxicity rather than radiation. Because DU munitions are composed of alloys, the mobility of the DU is substantially decreased compared to uranium. However, the report stated that the chemical toxicity of expended DU to terrestrial ecosystems could not be ignored and must be seriously considered.
Report Number 2
Environmental Assessment, Depleted Uranium (DU) Armor Penetrating Munitions for the GAU-8 Automatic Cannon, Development and Operational Test and Evaluation, AF/SGPA, April 1975.
This was the Environmental Assessment for the US Air Force’s GAU-8 Program. It covered the manufacturing, transportation, storage, use and disposal of GAU-8 ammunition and resulted in a finding of no significant environmental impact.
Report Number 3
Elder, J.C., M.I. Tillery, and H.J. Ettinger. Hazard Classification Test of GAU-8 Ammunition by Bonfire Cookoff with Limited Air Sampling, LA-6210-MS, Informal Report. Los Alamos, NM: Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory of the University of California, February 1976.
On August 26, 1975, the Los Alamos Lab (under contract to the US Air Force Armament Laboratory, Eglin AFB, FL) tested the GAU-8 ammunition to establish its hazard classification. The new armor-piercing version of the GAU-8 (30-mm) contained a DU core. In addition to "fragment pattern scoring" (the usual objective of a bonfire cookoff test), testers sampled the air to evaluate the potential for airborne DU. One hundred and eighty live GAU-8 rounds were set off in the bonfire cook-off. The test plan did not include the measurement of aerosol size characteristics and mass concentrations.
Analysis of the air sampling data concluded nothing beyond the obvious fact that DU aerosol was released. All but one of the 180 rounds remained within 400 feet of the bonfire. The exception was a shell base. The DU penetrators lost a good deal of mass in the bonfire—about 30% of the penetrators lost visually detectable amounts of DU. The remaining rounds escaped the high temperatures that normally turn DU into aerosol and ash. As the report notes, "Almost total dispersion of several penetrators to aerosol and ash illustrated the probable fate of any penetrator remaining in a high temperature region." In other words, in fires, the potential for DU aerosol dispersion is greater than in other scenarios.
Report Number 4
Prado, Captain Karl L. External Radiation Hazard Evaluation of GAU-8 API Munitions, TR 78-106. Brooks Air Force Base, TX: USAF Occupational and Environmental Health Laboratory, 1978.
The study concluded that the standards for protection against radiation (10CFR20.105) were met during typical field conditions, provided that: "(1) occupancy of any area 100 cm from any accessible surface of stored CNU-309/E containers by non-occupationally exposed personnel does not exceed a total of 1,000 hours per year, and that (2) the PGU-14/B cartridge is in a case when handled (If the cartridge is handled directly, the total contact time with the projectile surface should not exceed 180 hours per calendar quarter)."
Report Number 5
Bartlett, W.T., R.L. Gilchrist, G.W.R. Endres, and J.L. Baer. Radiation Characterization, and Exposure Rate Measurements From Cartridge, 105-mm, APFSDS-T, XM774, PNL-2947. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, November 1979.
This was one of three studies recommended by the Joint Technical Coordinating Group for Munitions Effectiveness Working Group on Depleted Uranium Munitions in their initial 1974 environmental assessment of DU. This study focused on the health physics problems associated with the assembly, storage, and use of the 105 mm, APFSDS-T, XM774 ammunition. The conclusion of the report was that the "radiation levels associated with the XM774 ammunition are extremely low. The photon emissions measured did not exceed a maximum whole-body or critical organ exposure of 0.26 mR/hr. Even if personnel were exposed for long periods to the highest levels of radiation measured, it is doubtful that their exposure would reach 25% of the maximum permissible occupational dose listed in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20."
Report Number 6
Gilchrist, R.L., J.A. Glissmyer, and J. Mishima. Characterization of Airborne Uranium From Test Firings of XM774 Ammunition, PNL-2944. Richland, WA, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, November 1979.
This was the last of three studies recommended by the Joint Technical Coordinating Group for Munitions Effectiveness (JTCG/ME) in the late 1970s. The purpose of this particular test was to gather data necessary to evaluate the potential human health exposure to airborne DU. (The other two studies were: "Radiological and Toxicological Assessment of an External Heat (Burn) Test of the 105 mm Cartridge, APFSDS-T, XM774" and "Radiation Dose Rate Measurements Associated with the Use and Storage of XM774 Ammunition.") Data collected during this test included the following:
of airborne DU
2.Quantity of airborne DU
3.Dispersion of airborne DU from the target vicinity
4.Amount of DU deposited on the ground
5.Solubility of airborne DU compounds in lung fluid
6.Oxide forms of airborne and fallout DU
The study included extensive assessment of total and respirable DU levels above the targets and at downwind locations, fallout and fragment deposition around the target, and high-speed movies of the smoke generated by the penetrator impact to estimate the cloud volume. Although technical problems were encountered during the test with filter overload, etc., the following conclusions were drawn:
firing generated approximately 2.4 kg of airborne DU.
2.Approximately 75% of the airborne DU was U3O8 and 25% was UO2.
3.Immediately after the test, about 50% of the airborne DU was respirable, and about 43% of that amount was soluble in simulated lung fluid within seven days. After seven days the remaining DU was essentially insoluble.
4.Particles in the respirable range were predominantly U3O8. Iron and traces of tungsten, aluminum and silicon compounds were found in the airborne particles.
5.The report stated that "Measurement of airborne DU in the target vicinity (within 20 ft) after a test firing showed that personnel involved in routinely changing targets could be exposed to concentrations exceeding recommended maximums. This may have resulted in part from mechanical resuspension of DU from the soil or other surfaces."
Numerous problems were encountered during the sampling for total particulates, which contributed to the conclusion that the average fraction of the penetrator being aerosolized was 70%. These problems included:
the particulate samplers became clogged and the flow rates dropped to zero which required that the sampling time be estimated, the number of fallout trays near the target was inadequate to determine the amount of DU deposited on the ground, and the cloud volumes could not be fully evaluated because of inadequate films of the cloud.
Despite the technical problems encountered during the test, 70% is frequently cited as the average level of penetrator aerosolized during hard impact.
Report Number 7
Davitt, Richard P. A Comparison of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Depleted Uranium and Tungsten Alloy As Penetrator Materials, Tank Ammo Section Report No. 107. Dover, NJ: US Army Armament Research and Development Command, June 1980.
This report provides an excellent history of the logic behind the Army’s decision to use DU as a kinetic energy, armored-piercing munition. The final selection of DU over Tungsten was based on a combination of reasons, including the lower initial cost of the penetrator itself and its overall improved performance. DU and Tungsten were rated even for "producibility." Tungsten had the advantage for safety, environmental concerns, and deployment.
Report Number 8
Ensminger, Daniel A. and S.A. Bucci. Procedures to Calculate Radiological and Toxicological Exposures From Airborne Release of Depleted Uranium, TR-3135-1. Reading, MA: The Analytic Sciences Corporation, October 1980.
This report provided a description of the models for assessing radiological and toxicological exposures from airborne dispersions of DU under given release conditions—particularly APFSDS-T (Armor-Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding Sabot-Tracered) XM774 and M735A1 rounds.
Report Number 9
Elder, J.C. and M.C. Tinkle. Oxidation of Depleted Uranium Penetrators and Aerosol Dispersal at High Temperatures, LA-8610-MS. Los Alamos, NM: Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory of the University of California, December 1980.
This was an early test to evaluate the consequences of exposing DU penetrators to a variety of thermal conditions ranging from 500° C to 1,000° C in different atmospheres for 2 to 4 hours. The general conclusions of these tests were:
with respirable-sized particles are produced when penetrators are exposed
to temperatures above 500° C for one-half hour or more.
2.When the penetrators were exposed to sustained fires; forced drafts and temperature cycling enhanced the production of oxide and aerosol.
3.Since the penetrators are not in themselves flammable, complete oxidation required adequate fuel and a fire of more than 4 hours.
Report Number 10
Chambers, Dennis R., Richard A. Markland, Michael K Clary, and Roy L. Bowman. Aerosolization Characteristics of Hard Impact Testing of Depleted Uranium Penetrators, Technical Report ARBRL-TR-02435. Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD: US Army Armament Research and Development Command, Ballistic Research Laboratory, October 1982.
This is the early documentation required by the NRC to support indoor, confined testing of 105 and 120mm kinetic energy DU rounds. NRC initially approved the test firing of 10 rounds to verify the integrity of the test facility; then it approved the firing of 20 DU penetrators to characterize the aerosol generated by a penetrator impact with an armor target. The study contradicted a previous study by Battelle for the XM774, which indicated that up to 70% of the DU penetrator was aerosolized upon impact. During this study, approximately 3% of the penetrator was aerosolized 2-3 minutes after impact, and accounting for error, it was highly unlikely that more than 10% was aerosolized. The test data was consistent with previous test data for small caliber ammunition. For the aerosolized particulates, the mass mean diameter was 1.6 microns and approximately 70% was less than 7 microns, which is considered the upper range of respirable particulates for DU. The study raised many questions concerning the nature of aerosols generated by hard impact testing of DU penetrators.
Report Number 11
Hooker, C.D., D.E. Hadlock, J. Mishima, and R.L. Gilchrist. Hazard Classification Test of the Cartridge, 120 mm, APFSDS-T, XM829, PNL-4459. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, November 1983.
The purpose of this test was to determine the behavior of the XM829 cartridge when subjected to (1) detonation of an adjacent XM829 cartridge, and (2) a sustained hot fire. The test concluded that detonating a XM829 cartridge in one container would not cause the immediate detonation of XM829 cartridges in adjacent cartridges. But if a fire starts and continues to burn, adjacent cartridges may ignite, scattering debris up to 40 feet. A mass analysis for the two tests conducted under this project indicated that at least 80% of the cartridge’s mass was recovered in the 1982 test and 100% was recovered in the 1983 test. No DU contamination was detected in samples from the sand taken from ground zero. An analysis of the filters from 7 high volume air samplers also indicated that the airborne level of DU remained at natural background levels. The report noted that "great care was taken during this time to prevent the residue from being scattered by winds and that under different conditions these values could vary." An analysis of the respirator canisters also revealed no measurable levels of DU.
Report Number 12
Mishima, J., M.A. Parkhurst, R.L. Scherpels, and D.E. Hadlock. Potential Behavior of Depleted Uranium Penetrators under Shipping and Bulk Storage Accident Conditions, PNL-5415. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, March 1985.
The purpose of this test was to characterize the particle size, morphology, and lung solubility of DU oxide samples from 120 mm M829 DU rounds exposed to an external heat test and to conduct a literature search on "uranium oxidation rates, the characteristics of oxides generated during the fire, the airborne release as a result of the fire, and the radiological/toxicological hazards from inhaled uranium oxides."
The test results indicated that a maximum of 0.6% by weight of the DU oxide generated was in the respirable range (i.e., less than 10 m m Aerodynamic Equivalent Diameter) and that the respirable fraction of the oxide was insoluble (i.e., 96.5% had not dissolved within 60 days). The study concluded that DU oxides formed during burning should be classified as insoluble (Class Y-dissolution half-times in the lung of more that 100 days).
Report Number 13
Wilsey, Edward F. and Ernest W. Boore. Draft Report: Radiation Measurement of an M1A1 Tank Loaded with 120-MM M829 Ammunition. Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD: US Army Ballistic Research Laboratory, undated.
This work was supported by the Project Manager, M1A1 Abrams Tank System, US Army Tank and Automotive Command. The tank was loaded with forty M829 120mm rounds to evaluate crew radiation exposure levels. "Preliminary results of the radiation exposures to M1A1 tank crews were well within the Nuclear Regulatory Guidelines for the general population and there was no undue radiation hazard when the tank was fully loaded with M829 rounds."
Report Number 14
Magness, C. Reed. Environmental Overview for Depleted Uranium, CRDC-TR-85030, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, Chemical Research & Development Center, October 1985.
This is an excellent environmental overview of DU—its relation to natural uranium, its applications (both commercial and military), and its long-term effects on man and the environment. The Army conducted this study to fulfill the relevant background information for Army documentation requirements as detailed in Army Regulation (AR) 200-2.
Report Number 15
Scherpelz, R.I., J. Mishima, L.A. Sigalla, and D.E. Hadlock. Computer Codes for Calculating Doses Resulting From Accidents involving Munitions Containing Depleted Uranium, PNL-5723. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, March 1986.
The report described the Army’s computer modeling to determine whether or not an exclusion zone should be imposed around an accident site, where a boundary should be located, and whether the potential effects farther downwind would be significant or trivial based the characteristics of the incident, the actual munitions involved, and the packaging of the munitions.
Report Number 16
Haggard, D.L., C.D. Hooker, M.A. Parkhurst, L.A. Sigalla, W.M. Herrington, J. Mishima, R.I. Scherpelz, and D.E. Hadlock. Hazard Classification Test of the 120-MM, APFSDS-T, M829 Cartridge: Metal Shipping Container, PNL-5928. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, July 1986.
This was a follow-up test to the Hazard Classification Test summarized in PNL 4459 (Report Number 11 above), which was conducted with a wooden shipping container. This follow-up test was conducted to evaluate a new PA-116 metal shipping container. The results:
round in a metal shipping container by way of an external source did not
cause the detonation of the entire package contents.
2.Ignition of one round surrounded by other rounds did not cause sympathetic detonation of the other rounds.
3.Igniting the cartridges’ propellant with a sustained fire caused individual rounds to explode. These explosions caused perceptible blast pressure pulses up to 20 feet away.
4.The individual explosions blew cartridge and shipping container fragments into the air. The penetrators were recovered within 20 feet of the fire. Most of the fragments fell within 200 feet. Two fragments were recovered between 300 to 600 feet from the fire.
5.Four of the 12 penetrators from the fire test showed evidence of oxidation. One penetrator core had oxidized almost completely to oxide powder.
The test also revealed these radiological aspects:
of the total DU in the 12 cores was converted to oxide during the fire.
2.The oxide was predominantly U3O8.
3.The fraction of generated oxide that was aerodynamically small enough to be suspended in air and carried by the wind was 0.002 to 0.006 (0.2% to 0.6%).
4.The fraction of generated oxide that was small enough to be inhaled was about 0.0007 (0.07%).
5.The solubility of the DU oxide in simulated lung fluid indicated that 96% was essentially insoluble. Four percent was dissolved in the fluid within 10 days.
6.During the test, winds were relatively calm. "Air monitors (detection limit of 1m g DU) set up to intercept downwind DU aerosol detected no DU on their filters and tended to confirm that there was no significant airborne DU oxide."
The study concluded that, "the minute quantity of oxide that was of respirable size and the calm winds limited the downwind disposal and posed no biological hazard to cleanup crews or others in the area."
Report Number 17
Hooker, C.D. and D.E. Hadlock. Radiological Assessment Classification Test of the 120-MM, APFSDS-T, M829 Cartridge: Metal Shipping Container, PNL-5927. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, July 1986.
This was the follow-up study to a 1983 study evaluating potential health problems when the M829 cartridge is shipped and stored in wooden containers. This follow-up assessment was necessary to evaluate radiation levels when the M829 cartridge is packaged in a metallic container. Results of the study indicate the following:
of the M829 effectively shield out the predominant nonpenetrating radiation
emitted from the bare penetrator; the 1 MeV photons resulting from the
decay of the 234m Pa can penetrate both the components of the projectile
and the metal container.
2.The radiation levels emanating from the assembled M829 cartridge are no different from the 1983 study, and the slightly higher radiation measurements at the surface of the package are a function of the reduced distance between the penetrator and the outer package surfaces.
3.The radiation levels associated with the M829 ammunition do not present a significant potential hazard to personnel handling and storing the ammunition.
4.The radiation levels at the surface of the single shipping container, measured with field-use-exposure-rate instruments, do not exceed 0.5 mR/hr, and all other criteria given in 49 CFR 173.421 and 173.424 are satisfied by the M829 shipping package. The package therefore qualifies for shipment as "excepted from specification package, shipping paper and certification, marking and labeling requirements." The inner or outer package must, however, bear the word "Radioactive."
5.The ammunition prepared for shipment must be certified as acceptable for transportation by having a notice enclosed in or on the package, included with the packing list, or otherwise forwarded with the package. This notice must include the name of the co-signer and the statement, "This package conforms to the conditions and limitations specified in 49 CFR 173.424 for articles manufactured from depleted uranium, UN 2909."
Report Number 18
Life Cycle Environmental Assessment For the Cartridge, 120MM: APFSDS-T, XM829. Picatinny Arsenal, NJ: US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, Close Combat Armament Center, December 12, 1988.
This was the initial Environmental Assessment (EA) for the M829 armor piercing round. The M829 replaced the XM827 (the American analog of the German DM 13), which was the initial APFSDS-T round. The program included the development and testing of four rounds: Target Practice (M831), High Explosive (M830), Armor Piercing (XM827), and Target Practice (M865). The EA incorporates all of the previous supporting studies on the M829 round (e.g., the radiological and hazard classification of the metal and wooden shipping containers). The conclusion of the EA was a "Finding of No Significant Impact" for the design, production, test and evaluation, deployment, and demilitarization of the M829.
Report Number 19
Parkhurst, M.A. and K.L. Sodat. Radiological Assessment of the 105-MM, APFSDS-T, XM900E1 Cartridge, PNL-6896. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, May 1989.
In this study the XM900E1 round was packaged in the PA-117 steel container. The conclusions of the report are as follows:
of the XM900E1 effectively shield out the predominant non-penetrating radiation
emitted from the bare penetrator and significantly reduce the majority
of the penetrating radiation. The 1MeV photons resulting from the decay
of 234mPa can penetrate both the components of the projectile and the metal
canister but are somewhat reduced.
2.Radiation levels associated with the XM900E1 ammunition do not present a significant potential hazard to personnel handling and storing the ammunition.
3.Radiation levels at the surface of the single shipping package, measured with field-exposure-rate instruments, do not exceed 0.5 mR/hr and all other criteria specified by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) in 49 CFR 173.21 and 49 CFR 173.424 are satisfied by the XM900E1 shipping package."
Report Number 20
Wilsey, Edward F. and E.W. Bloore. M774 Cartridges Impacting Armor-Bustle Targets: Depleted Uranium Airborne and Fallout Material, BRL-MR-3760. Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD: Ballistic Research Laboratory, May 1989.
This study was one of several
conducted on the M774 ammunition (105mm). It addresses only one objective—the
documentation of the amount of DU aerosol and fallout around and downwind
of the armor-bustle target. "Very little of the depleted uranium of the
M774 penetrator left the immediate target area as an aerosol." The highest
value—regardless of the wind conditions—was so low that over 1,400 such
tests would have to be fired in a week before tolerance limits would begin
to be reached. While the
threshold limit value was exceeded when the cloud passed over the samplers, the time-weighted-average exposure for a 40-hour workweek was only 0.07% of the occupational Threshold Limit Value.
Report Number 21
Erikson, R.L., C.J. Hostetler, J.R. Divine, and K.R. Price. Environmental Behavior of Uranium Derived From Depleted Uranium Alloy Penetrators, PNL-2761. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, June 1989.
This report covers some of the factors affecting the conversion of DU metal to oxide, the subsequent influences on the leaching and mobility of uranium through surface water and groundwater pathways, and the absorption of uranium by growing plants. Although the report is not directly related to the Gulf War, it demonstrates the Army’s efforts to understand the environmental fate of uranium.
Report Number 22
Fliszar, Richard W., Edward F. Wilsey, and Ernest W. Bloore. Radiological Contamination from Impacted Abrams Heavy Armor, Technical Report BRL-TR-3068. Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD: Ballistic Research Laboratory, December 1989.
The objective of this test was to evaluate DU aerosol levels generated inside and outside a heavy armor Abrams tank (i.e., DU armor) impacted by various types of rounds. The test also evaluated particle size distributions of DU puffs generated by the impact near the point of impact and within 100 meters from the tank, resuspension levels within 100 meters of the tank, and DU contamination in air from a burning M1A1 tank with heavy armor after being hit.
The following types of rounds were used in the seven tests:
1.120 mm APFSDS,
KE - tungsten
2.120 mm, Heat - MP
3.100 mm AP-C steel rod
5.120 mm APFSDS, KE - DU (Test 5A)
6.120 mm APFSDS, KE - tungsten (Test 5B)
In evaluating the data from the test, it is important to recognize the difference between the aerosols typically generated as puffs from impact and aerosols generated from a fire plume involving DU penetrators. Numerous tests have demonstrated that "DU penetrators when burned in a fire for hazard classification, have formed highly insoluble DU oxides, at least in the respirable size range."
The following permissible exposure levels of uranium in the air and soil were extracted from Table 5 of the report:
Less than -
Non-occupational, Soluble U-238 3 x 10-12 m Ci/ml
(or 192 m g/day) 10CFR20, App B Table 2, Column 1
Occupational, Soluble U-238 7 x 10-12 m Ci/ml
Table 1, Column 1 Soil
Unrestricted 35 pCi/gram
97 m g/gram
Federal Register, 46, 205, pp. 5261 to 5263, (1981)
Removable contamination for
Alpha: 450dpm/100 cm2
(AMC) DARCOM 385-1.1-78
Based on the test data, exposures from passing clouds are insignificant beyond 100 meters. The maximum estimated intake at distances greater than 100 meters was 0.82 micrograms of DU. The study noted that it would only take four minutes to reach the airborne limit for the general public, but the passing cloud from each test was present for only a few seconds at a given location. Within 100 meters, but outside the cloud path, air sample results were also insignificant. This included air samplers within 5 to 10 meters of the target. Air sample results in the cloud path varied with the highest level being recorded at a distance of 10 meters from the target (280 micrograms—an acute exposure). There was little additional intake after the puff passed by. Air sampling results for test #6 (a Hellfire equivalent caused a fire that consumed the vehicle) were still within the intake limit even though the air samplers were also exposed to the plume of the fire.
Cascade impactor data for puff of smoke generated at impact revealed that the particles within the cloud were primarily respirable particles (ranging from 76% at the point of impact to 85% just outside the cloud path and 79% along the cloud path). Results of the resuspension air samplers at a distance of 10 to 100 meters from the target revealed that at least for this test, resuspension was not a problem. The highest level recorded was 1.7 x 10-14 microcuries/ml which was well within the limit for airborne uranium.
A personal sampler was worn in the breathing zone by a member of the initial reentry team to evaluate resuspension at the test pad and while climbing inside the crew compartment. All of the resuspension results were within acceptable limits except in Test 6B. For Test 6B, reentry occurred following the fire and the Test 6B sample was collected primarily from inside the crew compartment. The report indicated that a penetrator might have been ejected from one of the storage compartments into the crew compartment and then completely oxidized during the test. Even so, the report cited that the airborne concentration was just above the limit for soluble U-238 and that the limit for insoluble U-238 (5 x 10-12 microcuries/ml) was probably appropriate. Based on the insoluble U-238 criteria, all resuspension data would be within acceptable limits.
Test data for representative welding operations lasting approximately 20 minutes revealed that exposure levels were above the unrestrictive release limits of 3 x 10 -12microcuries/ml of uranium. However, they were never above restricted area limits of 7 x 10-11 microcuries/ml. Local exhaust ventilation was not used for these welding operations and the welding was performed both outside and inside the target, both indoors and outdoors. The report stated that "Even if airborne levels of DU had been above the restricted limit during welding, the welder probably would not have been overexposed. The exposure would be time-weighted to the actual amount of time the welder was working. The usual patchwork took about 20 minutes." However, the welder would still need to wear a respirator under the ALARA guidelines and to protect against other welding hazards such as iron oxide fumes.
For all of the tests, the highest fallout levels occurred on the test pad within 5 to 7 meters of the target. However it was noted that heavy armor material was blown out 76 meters (250 feet) or more from the target after several tests.
Interior air sampling was also taken during the three last impact tests when breakthrough into the crew compartment occurred. Data, though limited, was collected on the first two of those impact events. Data for the last impact was lost because the vehicle caught fire destroying all of the air samplers. During the two impact events in which the penetrators entered through the turret into the main crew area, the air samplers located in the Commander, Gunner and Loader crew positions all shut down during the initial minute following impact. This is probably attributable to either ballistic shock from the impact itself, and/or disruption by the short-lived electromagnetic field, which occurs during armor impact. All of the air samplers placed within the vehicle were small battery powered samplers.
In conducting an assessment of the data it was conservatively assumed that the samplers that shut off did so within the first second after impact. Based on that assumption and knowing the flow rate of the respective samplers, an estimate of intake by an individual was calculated with reference to an inhalation rate of 30 liters per minute (lpm). The maximum mass of DU on a filter in the first breakthrough impact was 3.7 mg DU total dust at the Gunner’s position. This equated to a projected intake of 26 mg DU total dust for that second in time. In the second breakthrough impact event, the maximum mass of DU measured on a filter was 4.6 mg DU total dust at the Driver’s position. This sampler, however, continued to run until turned off during re-entry activities, about 16 minutes after impact. Based on the sampler flow rate and an inhalation rate of 30 lpm, a projected intake to the driver over that 16-minute period would have been 28 mg DU total dust.
Although the filter for the driver collected 4.6 mg of DU over the 16-minute period, the highest filter reading in the main crew compartment during the event was 2.4 mg, presumably collected in a matter of moments before the sampler shut off. This fact suggests that appreciably higher concentrations of DU might have been collected in the main crew compartment, as opposed to that in the driver compartment, had the sampler not shut off.
Based on the circumstances surrounding each of the two impact breakthroughs for which samples inside the vehicle were collected, significantly higher results would have been predicted for the first impact breakthrough. In the first the turret armor impacted had already been hit on two prior occasions, that may have added to the DU residue inside the tank that was resuspended in the crew compartment at impact. In addition, a DU kinetic energy (KE) round was fired into the armor package during this breakthrough event. In contrast, the round fired for the second event was a non-DU KE round, and the DU turret armor package impacted was impacted for the first time. This discrepancy may be explained by the fact that in the first breakthrough event the vehicle's NBC exhaust air filtration exhaust system was running and the Loader's hatch opened upon impact. In the second breakthrough event, the NBC system was off, and none of the vehicle's hatches opened when impact occurred.
Report Number 23
Hadlock, D.E. and M.A. Parkhurst. Radiological Assessment of the 25-MM, APFSDS-T XM919 Cartridge, PNL-7228. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, March 1990.
The purpose of the study was to assess the health issues associated with the handling, storage and shipment of 25mm, APFSDS-T, XM919 ammunition for the US Army Bradley M3A1 and the US Marine LAV-25. The DU cartridges for the M919 ammunition are packaged in the Army plastic (M-621) and metal (PA-125) shipping containers and the Marine metal (CNU-405) shipping container. The study evaluated radiation levels for shipping containers in storage configurations within and outside the fighting vehicles. The results are as follows:
levels associated with the M919 are low and do not present a significant
hazard to personnel handling and storing the ammunition.
2.The radiation levels in the Bradley M3A1 and the LAV-25 are also low. Potential doses to personnel in these vehicles will depend on the length of occupancy in the vehicle and the configuration of the stored munitions.
3.The components of the M919 effectively shield out the predominant non-penetrating radiation emitted from the bare penetrator and significantly reduce the majority of the penetrating photon energy. The one MeV photons resulting from the decay of 234mPa can penetrate both the components of the projectile and the plastic M-621 and metal shipping containers but are somewhat reduced.
4.Radiation levels at the surface of the single shipping container and the pallet of 27 shipping containers, measured with field-exposure-rate instruments, do not exceed 2.5 mR/h. The exposure rate is well within the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) special exemption of 2.5 mR/h limit for DU munitions. Therefore, if the Army obtains approval from the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC), the XM919 shipping container may be shipped under DOT exemption DOT-E96-49. Otherwise, the containers must be shipped under the provisions of 49 CFR 173.425 entitled "Transport Requirements for Low Specific Activity (LSA)."
Report Number 24
Parkhurst, M.A., J. Mishima, D.E. Hadlock, and S.J. Jette. Hazard Classification and Airborne Dispersion Characteristics of the 25-MM, APFSDS-T XM919 Cartridge, PNL-7232. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, April 1990.
Although the 25mm, APFSDS-T M919 cartridge was not used during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, a summary of the Hazard Classification testing is included to demonstrate consistency with previous Hazard Classification tests performed on cartridges used in the Gulf War.
The Hazard Classification Tests performed on the XM919 included the Stack Test which evaluates propagation of detonation and the External Fire Stack Test which evaluates the explosive and fragmentation nature of the cartridge resulting from setting fire to boxes of cartridges. In addition, the M919 was tested against hard armor targets and against wood and masonry to determine the extent and nature of Du aerosols created.
The results of the M919 tests are as follows:
There was no propagation of initiation demonstrated from the Stack Test. The effects of initiation of the donor cartridge were limited to the donor container. There was no propagation of initiation to the other shipping containers. The results of the External Fire Stack Test indicated there was no mass detonation of the cartridges. The cartridges exploded progressively and the effects were limited to the immediate test area. Many of the penetrators that remained in the fire showed some signs of oxidation. Approximately 35% of the total DU used in the External Fire Stack Test was oxidized. Between 0.1% and 0.2% of the oxide was within the respirable range. The lung solubility analysis of the DU oxide determined that 92.6% was insoluble and 6.8% was slightly soluble. There was no indication that any measurable DU became airborne as a result of the External Fire Stack Test. The fraction of DU made airborne from the hard target impact testing was less than 10%. Less than 0.1% of the initial DU penetrator weight was within the respirable size range. About 17% of the oxide present in the smallest size fraction was soluble while the remaining 83% was insoluble.
Report Number 25
Kinetic Energy Penetrator Long Term Strategy Study (Abridged), Final Report. Picatinny Arsenal, NJ: US Army Production Base Modernization Activity, July 24, 1990.
This report addressed battlefield DU exposures relative to peacetime occupational limits. Civilian battlefield exposures are not thought to be significant. "All combat-related internal and external radiation risks were in the range of 10-7 to 10-5. The most significant external radiation exposure occurs during the loading and unloading of ammunition lockers, with a lifetime increased cancer risk to the extremities as high as 3 x 10-4 resulting from a worst case, 20-year exposure. Even minimal safety precautions would reduce this risk to levels well below those tolerated in most occupational environments."
The report also addressed the following theoretical exposures;
Radiation Exposure Maximum Exposure. Assuming ¼ of a day, seven
days/week, 52 weeks/year + .25 rem/year, and a half-filled DU kinetic penetrator
ammunition rack, this level is well below the occupational limit of 5 rems/year.
2.Soldier Taking Refuge. Assuming a scenario of a tank hit by a DU penetrator, a soldier taking refuge would receive a maximum exposure of 23 mrem—equivalent to a lifetime increased cancer risk of less than 5 X 10-6, which is three orders of magnitude less that the lifetime increased cancer risk calculated in the same manner resulting from all background radiation exposures.
3.Major Tank Battle. Assuming a two-month duration, the lifetime increased cancer risk for military personnel would be 1.5 X 10-7. Downwind of such a battleground, the public would experience a lifetime cancer risk increase of about 3 X 10-5.
The report also addressed the need for further evaluation of battlefield conditions. "Exposures to military personnel may be greater that those allowed in peacetime, and could be locally significant on the battlefield. Cleanup of penetrators and fragments, as well as impact site decontamination may be required." "Public relations efforts are indicated, and may not be effective due to the public’s perception of radioactivity." The Overview also indicated that further studies were needed on DU combat impacts for post-combat briefings and actions.
Report Number 26
Jette, S.J., J. Mishima, and D.E. Haddock. Aerosolization of M829A1 and XM900E1 Rounds Fired Against Hard Targets, PNL-7452. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, August 1990.
The purpose of this study
was to characterize particulate levels after hard impact with both complete
and partial penetration of the armor. Tests were performed with both the
M829A1 and XM900E1 rounds, as well as two non-DU rounds (the M865 and DM13).
The purpose of the non-DU round firings was to evaluate DU resuspension
during hard impact tests. The sample results were questioned when the percent
aerosolized was initially estimated to be only 0.2% to 0.5% for the M829A1
and 0.02% to 0.04% for the XM900E1. These values were approximately two
orders of magnitude below expected values. A value of 70% has frequently
been cited in the popular press based on one of the initial studies performed
by Battelle for the XM774. This study stated that it was highly unlikely
that more than 10% was aerosolized upon impact. In keeping with other studies
indicating that a high percentage of the respirable dust from hard-impact
testing was soluble in the lungs, this study’s evaluation of the respirable
dust fraction indicated that 57 to 76% was class "Y" material and 24 to
43% was class "D" material. (Class "D" materials have dissolution half-times
less that 10 days; class "W" materials have dissolution half-times of 10
to 100 days; and class "Y" materials have dissolution half-times greater
than 100 days.) The resuspension tests indicated that most of the resuspended
dust was non-respirable—which is consistent with the theory that most of
the respirable dust was removed by the filtering system
in the enclosure.
Report Number 27
Munson, L.H., J. Mishima, M.A. Parkhurst, and M.H. Smith. Radiological Hazards Following a Tank Hit with Large - Caliber DU Munitions, Draft Letter Report. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, October 9, 1990.
At the beginning of the Gulf
War crisis, Battelle’s Pacific Northwest Laboratory was tasked to predict
potential radiation hazards to personnel entering a site where a tank has
been hit by DU. Their prediction was based on a DU penetrator for a 105-mm,
APFSDS-T kinetic energy round striking an armored vehicle and penetrating
one side of the vehicle. No live fire testing was performed under this
tasking. Their estimates were based on previous tests and their "best educated
estimates" of exposures for the following scenario: The vehicle contains
no DU munitions or DU armor. The event occurs in a desert-like climate,
which exhibits high daytime temperatures and low nighttime temperatures
and large fluctuations in relative humidity between inland to coastal areas
and from day to night. There are winds associated with the changes in surface
temperature. Personnel are in the immediate area for inspections and observation
within days after the event. Clean up and recovery activities occur within
weeks to a few months.
The report stated that the "impact of a DU penetrator with an armored vehicle would be expected to result in aerosolization of 12% to 37% of the penetrator, smearing of DU metal around and through the penetration, and scattering of metal fragments both inside and outside the vehicle. The aerosolized DU would most likely be oxidized uranium and form particulate material which, depending upon its size, could deposit around the immediate area and preferentially downwind. The material smeared around and through the vehicle penetration would be both DU metal and DU oxide."
The report indicated that exposures to casual passers-by and cleanup personnel would be very low. "Occupational dose limits for external exposure are 5000 mrem/year to the whole body, 50,000 mrem/year to the skin, and 75,000 mrem/year to the hands and feet (extremities). Since the most likely organ to be exposed during contact with penetrator fragments is the skin, it would require over 800 hours of direct contact to bare skin to reach the current occupational limit for skin exposure." Because such direct and long exposure is quite unlikely, the report indicated the radiological hazard from external exposure to DU fragments was very low for causal passers-by and cleanup personnel.
The report stated that the "principal hazard from exposure to DU material is inhalation and lung deposition of particulate uranium. Alpha particle emissions to the lungs from inhaled DU constitute the main health concern from the inhalation of the mostly insoluble DU. Occupational exposure limits for the inhalation of 238U are 7 x 10-11 microcuries/ml for soluble forms of uranium and 1 x 10-10 microcuries/ml for insoluble uranium compounds. These exposure limits are based on continual intake of 238U for 13 weeks at 40 hour/week. In terms of mass the limit is an average of 0.2 mg/m3 of 238U aerosols in a 40-h work week."
The report noted that 44% to 70% of the DU material aerosolized would be equal to or less than the 3.3 micrometer Aerodynamic Equivalent Diameter (AED) which is the approximate size that would be inhaled into the deep lung. Characterization of the DU penetrators oxidized in various Hazard Classification testing indicated that 0.2% to 0.6% of the oxide was less than 10 micrometer AED—which is considered as respirable (inhaled into the nasal passages).
The report stated that any hazards from the presence of DU are relatively insignificant as compared to the other battlefield considerations and should not be considered during life saving and rescue activities.
During the recovery operations, the report expressed concerns that the large fragments could pose a potential hazard from external radiation and their surfaces could be a source of uranium oxide contamination as they erode. The report also expressed concern that aerosolized DU which had been deposited in and around the vehicle and on the soil in the immediate area could be resuspended by wind and during cleanup and recovery operations.
The following precautions during general clean up and recovery efforts are quoted from the report:
area approximately 30 meters in radius from the vehicle to minimize unnecessary
exposure to personnel and resuspension of DU material.
2.Perform a radiological survey of the restricted area using a thin window GM portable detector or a micro-R meter.
3.DU metal penetrator fragments detected during the survey should be placed in plastic bags, sealed in a container, and stored as appropriate for disposal.
4.DU oxidized penetrator fragments, identified as a black powder, should be placed in plastic bags and sealed in a container for removal. A small amount of sand around and under the oxidized material may also be contaminated and need to be removed. If piles of oxidized DU are not removed at the time of the survey, it is prudent to fix them in place when detected by covering them with an inverted can or similar mechanism to minimize potential movement.
5.The openings to the interior of the impacted armored vehicle should be closed. The DU penetrator opening and the immediate area around it should also be covered to provide containment and minimize spallation and removal of impacted material. It is assumed that the vehicle will be moved to another location for decontamination and disposition.
6.Intrusion into the restricted area during periods of high winds should be discouraged to minimize potential resuspension of radioactive material.
7.Precautions necessary for entry into the restricted area should depend on the purpose of the entry.
The report also provided general guidance on routine monitoring and decontamination procedures.
dosimeters should not be necessary for survey, vehicle closure, clean up,
or recovery activities.
2.Entry for radiological survey of the vehicle’s exterior should require no special protective clothing—provided walking over piles of DU oxide is avoided and actions to disturb the soil are minimized.
3.Entry into the interior of the vehicle for any reason should require a single layer of protective clothing, shoe covering, coveralls, gloves, particulate filter respirator and head covering.
4.Entry for pickup of DU fragments and piles of oxide outside the vehicle should require a single layer of protective clothing, shoe covering, coveralls, gloves, particulate respirator, and head covering
5.Entry to close an opening in the target vehicle should require only gloves for hand protection.
6.After the penetrator fragments and piles of oxide are picked up and the vehicle is closed, entry to remove the vehicle should require no protective clothing.
The transmittal Memorandum recommended that all openings should be sealed and only external surfaces decontaminated in the field. Decontamination of the interior should only be performed in a facility set up for that purpose. The memorandum also recommended limiting intrusion into the cleanup/recovery area during periods of high winds because of the potential for contamination resuspension.
In summary, the report concluded that there is little potential for radiological hazard to personnel entering the site following the impact of a DU penetrator with a tank or other armored vehicle. (The prediction did not assume a DU round impacting an Abrams Heavy Armored vehicle with DU armor.) The report did recommend the use of respiratory protection to minimize the inhalation hazard and decontamination of the body of any fatalities before they are released.
Report Number 28
Memorandum for SMCAR-CCH-V from SMCAR, Radiological Hazards in the Immediate Areas of a Tank Fire and/or Battle Damaged Tank Involving Depleted Uranium, Letter Report, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, December 4, 1990.
As noted in Report #27, Battelle’s Pacific Northwest Laboratory was tasked to predict potential radiation hazards to personnel entering a site where a tank has been hit by DU. Their prediction was based on a DU penetrator (105mm, APFSDS-T kinetic energy round) striking an armored vehicle and penetrating one side of the vehicle. The report did not evaluate a DU munition impacting an armored vehicle containing DU armor or DU munitions. The December 8, 1990 report comments on the Battelle Letter Report (Report Number 27) and expands the prediction to address DU munitions impacting an armored vehicle containing DU munitions and/or DU armor. Although no live fire testing was performed for this report, the conclusions and recommendations were drawn from BRL Technical Report BRL-TR3068, Radiological Contamination from Impacted Abrams Heavy Armor (Report Number 22 above).
The memo attempted to expand on the guidance included in TB 9-1300-278, "Guidelines for Safe Response to Handling, Storage, and Transportation Accidents Involving Army Tank Munitions Which Contain Depleted Uranium, which was the guideline for responding to peacetime accidents. The memo cited the following points:
Intrusion into the cleanup/recovery
area during periods of high winds should be discouraged due to the potential
for unnecessary exposure to DU resuspended by that wind, or by the disturbances
caused by people or equipment. Other than for decontaminating the outside
of the vehicle and covering any openings, as provided in the TB, decontamination
of the interior of the tank needs to be performed at a facility set up
for such a purpose. Removal of deceased personnel from tanks will require
radiation safety coordination to determine whether or not the clothing
and /or body is radioactively contaminated. If so, decontamination will
need to be conducted prior to further disposition of the deceased. The
procedures in the referenced TB were written for a scenario in where an
isolated tank accident involving DU occurred during peacetime conditions.
Those same procedures still apply if the scenario were an arena of battle
damaged tanks scattered about the surrounding area. In order to properly
conduct a recovery/cleanup following the termination of a conflict, one
would begin at the perimeter of that overall area, and gradually work your
way in, clean up the immediate area, decontaminate the exterior of that
tank, and remove it, before proceeding into the next sector. In other words,
cross-contaminate or re-contaminate things.
The report also addressed potential problems caused by the sand in Gulf Region and the implication for the Army’s standard radiation detection equipment. The report concluded that FIDLERS (field instrument for the detection of low energy radiation) would be more appropriate because of their larger probe areas. The report also provided supplemental procedures to TB 9-1300-278 by reiterating the radiation survey precautions cited in the Battelle Letter Report (Report #27).
Report Number 29
Mishima, J., D.E. Hadlock, and M.A. Parkhurst. Radiological Assessment of the 105-MM, APFSDS-T, XM900E1 Cartridge by Analogy to Previous Test Results, PNL-7764. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, July 1991.
Due to administrative restrictions at the test ranges, this study was conducted by analogy to similar test rounds. The conclusions are that "neither propagation of initiation nor mass explosion have occurred with similar large-caliber ammunition, and it is extremely unlikely that either would occur with the M900/PA117" metal shipping container. In a stack fire, the likely extremes with the M900 cartridge are that either all projectiles would be ejected from the fire and show no evidence of oxidation or that all would remain in the fire and totally oxidize. The reality is that some would be ejected from the fire and some would be oxidized. The study cited similar tests for the M735 cartridge, which had maximum fragmentation distances up to 100 feet for the penetrator and 375 feet for the fragments.
Report Number 30
Parkhurst, M.A. Radiological Assessment of M1 and M60A3 Tanks uploaded with M900 Cartridges. PNL-7767. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, July 1991.
The purpose of the study was to assess the dose rate to which M1 and M60A3 crews would be exposed with the deployment of the 105mm M900 cartridge. The tests were conducted using worst case stowage configurations and placement of the bustle compartment near the driver. All cartridge locations were filled with M900 cartridges, rather than the mix of armor-piercing (M900) and high explosive (HE) cartridges. This is not a likely stowage situation. The dose to a crewmembers was calculated to approximate the actual radiation fields with HE stowed appropriately and taking the place of the excess DU cartridges. The results of the study are quoted as follows:
Based on this unusual configuration, dose rates peaked in the M1 at 0.5 mR/h under the turret bustle and above the driver’s head and in the M60A3 at 1.5 mR/h in the vertical, exposed cartridge storage rack, as measured by portable radiation detection instrumentation. These levels are within the permissible levels of radiation in unrestricted areas. Using thermoluminescent dosimeters to measure specific points within the vehicle, researchers determined that the M1 commander, gunner, and loader received an average dose rate of about 0.01 mrad/h of penetrating radiation. The driver received an average dose of about 0.2 mrad/h with the bustle above him. Dose rates to the M60A3 crew were slightly higher than the dose rates for the M1 crew. The commander and gunner received about 0.05 mrad/h of penetrating radiation. The loader, who had well-shielded cartridges behind him, but a stack of unshielded DU cartridges in front of him, received an average of about 0.2 mrad/h. The driver, who had cartridges on three sides, received an average of 0.28 mrad/h. Assuming a crew occupied a fully loaded vehicle for 700-900 hours, none of the crew would be likely to exceed the 250 mrad/year administrative badging limit. Even with DU in all the 105mm ammunition slots, the only person approaching the limit would be the M60A3 driver, and this would only occur if the bustle were over his head during his entire time within the vehicle. The study revealed that the drivers of both vehicles had the highest potential exposure. The M1 driver received his entire DU dose from the bustle of cartridges over head. (Note: Most of the time, the gun rather than the bustle is over his head). His dose, measured with the hatch open, maximized the radiation field. Without the bustle, the exposure to the M1 driver is negligible. On the other hand, the driver of the M60A3 gets only a small portion of his exposure from the bustle storage. Most of his exposure comes from storage in the hull. The study estimated that dose rates for more ordinary configurations are less than 0.05 mrad/h for the M1 driver and about 0.1 mrad/h for the M60A3 driver.
Report Number 31
Life Cycle Environmental Assessment for the Cartridge, 105MM: APFSDS-T, XM900E1. Picatinny Arsenal, NJ: US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, Close Combat Armament Center, August 21, 1991.
This Environmental Assessment was developed to address environmental concerns when the service round for the M68 cannon on the M60A3 and M1 tanks (the M833 APFSDS-T) was replaced by the new XM900E1 APFSDS-T round, which has significantly greater armor-piercing capabilities. The Assessment included previous studies of the radiological hazards, etc. conducted on the XM900E1. The Assessment’s conclusion was that only the testing modes for armor penetration and accuracy and final disposal of the penetrators presented any significant potential for environmental impact; the report outlined mitigating measures to reduce the impact of testing. From a health and safety standpoint, the XM900E1 presents no greater risk than the existing M833. The XM900E1 program is not expected to have a significant environmental impact on air quality, water quality, ecology (flora and fauna), or health and safety to personnel associated with normal maintenance and life cycle operations.
Report Number 32
Life Cycle Environmental Assessment for the Cartridge, 120MM: APFSDS-T, XM829A2. Picatinny Arsenal, NJ: US Army Production Base Modernization Activity, February 2, 1994.
This is an environmental assessment (EA) of the third generation M829 round (M829A2). It builds on the EA for the previous M829 and M829A1 rounds (see Report Number 18) and concludes with a "Finding of No Significant Impact." This assessment excludes combat uses and fires or other severe and unlikely accidents and the testing modes for armor penetration and accuracy. The EA recognized that the resuspension of DU, environmental transport, and various health and safety issues as areas of concern requiring further evaluation. Consequently, the Army Environmental Policy Institute has been tasked to evaluate the risks associated with depleted uranium left on the battlefields during Desert Storm. In addition, studies on the health effects of DU fragments in soldiers have been funded. The Army is also developing special DU training courses for personnel engaged in fielding, firing, and retrieval operations.
Report Number 33
Parkhurst, M.A. and R.I.
Scherpelz. Dosimetry of Large Caliber Cartridges: Updated Dose Rate Calculations,
Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, June 1994.
This report provides revised exposure levels for all of the previous radiological assessments performed by Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) that used the lithium fluoride thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD). PNL developed a new, more accurate algorithm for interpreting the response of the TLD used in the radiological assessment of various DU cartridges. As a result, PNL re-evaluated the previously reported exposure values for the following cartridges:
1.120 mm M829
2.105 mm M333 cartridges
3.120 mm M829A1 cartridges
4.120 mm M829A2 cartridges
5.105 mm M900 cartridges
6.M60A3 and M1 Tanks loaded with M900 cartridges.
The report also provides a comparison of the original versus recalculated values. "In all cases, the recalculated dose rates were significantly lower than the originally reported dose rates. Studies of dose rates in the tanks showed that crews in tanks loaded with DU rounds would pose no danger of exceeding administrative badging limits of 250 mrem/year and it was also unlikely that the more restrictive population limits of 100 mrem/year would be exceeded by personnel in the tanks." In other words, radiation exposure levels associated with uploaded DU munitions in the applicable tanks are within acceptable criteria, even for the general population.
All of the previously reported radiological assessment reports need to be corrected to reflect the results of the recalculations.
Report Number 34
Parkhurst, M.A., G.W.R. Endres,
and L.H. Munson. Evaluation of Depleted Uranium Contamination in Gun Tubes,
Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, January 1995.
Routine radiation monitoring identified radiological contamination in gun tubes that fire developmental and production DU rounds. This report addresses the issues of how much DU is present in tubes that have fired DU, how this relates to unrestricted release standards, how cleaning techniques reduce the DU levels, and how the levels relate to personnel radiation protection.
Testing revealed that numerous tubes had detectable levels of DU in the gun barrels and some were above the unrestricted release limits, but none were high enough to pose a health risk. Firing non-DU training rounds is also effective in reducing the contamination in the tubes, but the practice is not recommended. The removable contamination makes up only a small percentage of the DU contamination that is generated in the firing process. The fixed contamination that is left behind after normal barrel field cleaning procedures was found in a number of instances to be above uncontrolled release limits. Presently, unless more satisfactorily decontaminated by other cleaning means, those barrels would have to be processed as radioactive waste at the time of turn in by the field of the barrel for disposal. Further studies were required to fully assess the problem. Induced flareback was also achieved during firing to determine if tank personnel were exposed in the turret, but no problems were identified for crew personnel.
Report Number 35
Parkhurst, M.A., J.R. Johnson, J. Mishima, and J.L. Pierce. Evaluation of DU Aerosol Data: Its Adequacy for Inhalation Modeling, PNL-10903. Richland, WA: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, December 1995.
As the name of the report implies, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the existing research data on the characteristics of DU aerosols generated under various conditions. The report is an excellent summary of the studies conducted to date, including many summarized in this report. Project summaries were included for over 20 studies conducted by Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory and over 20 additional studies conducted by other researchers. The evaluation focused on chemical composition, particle size, and solubility in lung fluid.
Although several areas such
as resuspension and particle size distribution were cited as needing further
research, the overall quality of the data was deemed as being adequate
to make conservative estimates of dispersion and health effects. The report
is an excellent summary of the studies conducted to date.
GB: CADE A LONDRA CARGO DIRETTO
A MILANO, MORTI
(V. GB: INCIDENTE AEREO A PERIFERIA LONDRA' DELLE 20:26 CA)
(ANSA) - LONDRA, 22 DIC - Un aereo cargo sudcoreano si e' schiantato stasera in fase di decollo all'aeroporto londinese di Stanstead e secondo le prime notizie i tre membri dell'equipaggio sono morti sul colpo. Il Boeing 747 della Korean Airlines (Kal) era diretto all'aeroporto milanese della Malpensa.
''Il cielo e' stato illuminato da una grossa palla di fuoco, a cui e' seguita una violenta esplosione'', ha detto un testimone oculare, di nome Neil Foster. Il cargo e' caduto verso le 19,30 ora italiana in un campo a circa un chilometro e mezzo dallo scalo londinese, non lontano dalla strada nazionale A120.
I vigili del fuoco sono intervenuti in forza per spegnere le fiamme che hanno avvolto il relitto.(ANSA).
ADN0514 7 22/12/1999
AEREO: CARGO COREANO PRECIPITA A LONDRA
Londra, 22 dic. (Adnkronos/Dpa) - Un Boeing 747 cargo coreano e' precipitato nei pressi di Londra. Secondo notizie non ancora confermate, il Jumbo della ''Korean Air Lines'' (Kal) proveniva dall'aeroporto milanese della Malpensa. Si teme che i tre membri dell'equipaggio siano periti nell'incidente, avvenuto alle 18,45 ora britannica, le 19,45 in Italia, durante la fase di atterraggio nell'aeroporto di Stansted, nella contea dell'Essex, Inghilterra sudorientale. L'aereo e' precipitato in una zona di campagna situata tre chilometri fuori dal perimetro di Stansted, nei pressi della cittadina di Great Hallingsbury, ed e' esploso in fiamme.
Il lavoro dell'Osservatorio è stato portato avanti senza alcun aiuto finanziario, fino ad oggi, da parte di istituzioni preposte. In particolare, alcuni progetti anche "in fieri", ricadono sotto l'interesse specifico di queste Divisioni Generali della UE:
DG V (prevenzione tumori)
Unità F/2 Attuazione di programmi di azione mirati per alcune malattie
DG XI (prevenzione effetti radiazioni) Ambiente, sicurezza nucleare e protezione civile
DG XIII (innovazione)
Si ringraziano a vario titolo:
- la Laka Foundation di Amsterdam
- i NAS di Milano
- i Vigili del Fuoco
- l'Ambasciata italiana a Tokyo
- varie organizzazioni di reduci esposti agli effetti delle armi all'uranio
- la trasmissione "Report" di Raitre
- Vincenzo Brancatisano
- alcuni Media che hanno parlato del problema
- tante persone di buona volontà che sarebbe lungo e/o inopportuno menzionare qui