Depleted Uranium Worksheet
Uranium found in nature contains two isotopes; U238 @ 99.3% and U235 @ 0.7%. It is U235 that is radioactive and fissionable. This is extracted from the isolated metal for use in reactors and nuclear weapons production. The waste from this extraction process is U238 with traces of the radioactive isotope. Uranium though has properties that make it attractive for other uses. It is very dense (18.95 gms per cm3 that is twice as dense as lead). Its density makes it very armour penetrating. It also happens to burn. The high heat generated on impact and penetration sets the uranium alight. After impact it then burns producing Uranium oxides and uranium dust. This is both poisonous and slightly radioactive because of the residual radioactive isotope component. U235 is an alpha emitter.
When DU (depleted uranium) is used in shells, on impact the shell penetrates the steel plating, and then fragments into a burning cloud the products of which settle as dust in the area around the impact site.
Military personnel working in such an area can inhale dust. As can civilians who return to battle zones which were previously their homes. The Uranium finds its way into drinking water and the food chain. Since it is not removed or cleansed from battle zones by the military after hostility ceases. The particles once in the body are not removed immediately or easily if ever. Alpha particle emitters lodged in the human body can cause damage to tissue and blood cells. The alpha particles strike passing blood cells causing damage, over time this builds up, and the consequences are various.
(based on information from an article in New Dawn 1996, No 34, (Jan/Feb 1996). This article is available on http://www.consultclarity.com/blazing/uranium.html, and other articles. Other useful sites are http://www/motherjones.com and http://www.newscientist.com More sites can be found by a web search)
Questions for groups work
What questions need answering about this issue?
Is the rise in illness due to exposure to DU?
What should scientists involved in the production of such weapons do?
What should politicians do?
Mission of Christianity in Science
A. J. Palmer 3.02.01