Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

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From Puerto Rico to Scotland - DU Campaigners Chase DU Across Atlantic

The US Navy tested munitions on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico for 50 years. Locals began a vociferous protest after a civilian was killed in an accident on the Vieques firing range and are currently camped out as human shields to prevent resumption of munitions testing there. Through this protest campaign they found out that the navy had tested DU there. Initially the Navy claimed it was a mistake.
Weapons tested at Vieques contained heavy metals and other toxic elements including napalm as well as DU. People live so close to the firing ranges that dust from explosions can blow onto their farm land, houses and gardens. There has been no proper environmental monitoring by the US navy or the Puerto Rican government. Locals believe that DU is giving people cancer and other illness and are now trying to sue the US Navy for clean up costs and compensation. The US Navy have now (temporarily) ceased the testing due to the protests, but have failed to clear-up as yet.
Now the US Navy are proposing to test their weapons at Cape Wrath, Scotland. The MoD deny granting permission to use the site for DU testing. The US Navy deny planning to test DU there. Are they to be believed? The US Navy covered up the use of DU in Puerto Rico. Will they do it again in Scotland? Three ships from the American fleet are due to arrive there in March to conduct live firing exercises
In response to this the MP Alisdair Morgan, has tabled a parliamentary question asking whether the US has been given permission to use Cape Wrath to test munitions and whether this includes DU.
Protesters from Puerto Rico are going to set up camp at a village near Cape Wrath. Locals are not, according to the Sunday herald of 30 January 2000, opposing the planned munitions testing. Puerto Rican protesters plan to warn locals about what they might have in store.
For information about the Puerto Rican protest please visit their web site:
If testing DU weapons poses no threat to locals why don't the US Navy do it in the United States?
The US military produced safety videos on how to handle DU munitions and clear up after firing. If it was safe to walk around a site that has been used to test DU shells then the military would not have made these videos.
There will be debate about exactly what is causing the high cancer rate in Vieques. The bottom line is that it is unacceptable to expose people to DU. We should class DU as nuclear waste and treat it as such. However, it will probably remain impossible to work out what has caused whose asthma, cancer or kidney failure. It is dangerous to wait for absolute evidence of harm before acting. There is a suspected potential for DU to cause cancers and other illnesses. It w