Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

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Levels of Radioactivity in Iraq

Scott Peterson, a writer at The Christian Science Monitor, recently went to Iraq with a Geiger counter and a photographer and recorded the levels of radioactivity that he found there at four sites. At one site a 3-foot-long DU dart from a 120 mm tank shell was found producing radiation at more than 1,300 times background levels. Another site, by some burnt out tanks, had piles of pure DU oxide dust, the most easy to inhale and hence the most dangerous. "One pile of jet-black dust yielded a digital readout of 9,839 radioactive emissions in one minute, more than 300 times average background levels registered by the Geiger counter. Another pile of dust reached 11,585 emissions in a minute." The Government always defends its use of DU by claiming it is 40% less radioactive than natural uranium. While this is true, natural uranium is spread out and normally in mineral form. It is the concentration of DU in weapons form that allows it to reach these dangerously high levels of radioactivity.

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Page last updated: January 28, 2003