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CADU NEWS 10
of Defence admits DU may damage health
Days of Action
Second Part of Royal Society Report into DU
UNEP Report on DU in Balkans
DU Conference held in Baghdad
position on UK/US potential attacks on Iraq
Afghanistan Report available
Hypocrisy on DU in Afghanistan
Cancers attributable to nuclear testing fall-out
DU in South Africa
deaths in Vieques
activists found guilty of speaking the truth
Agency report on uses of DU in UK
War Illness a Myth!!!
Arms Manufacturing moving to Barrow and Sheffield
in accidents involving transportation of radioactive materials
buying tungsten surrogate
Low-Level Radiation & Health Conference
Ministry of Defence admits
DU may damage health
In an abrupt turnaround from its previous position, the Ministry of Defence
is to carry out an inquiry into the potential effects on the health of
the Armed Forces handling DU ammunition.
The Ministry of Defence has always refused to accept any conclusive link
between cancer and the use of DU ammunition. However, after recommendations
from the Royal Society (see below), the Ministry has now decided to conduct
a study "to identify any links between exposure to depleted uranium
and ill health", including a review of the "effects of depleted
uranium inhalation on the pulmonary lymph nodes". The Ministry of
Defence inquiry will cover the effects of used DU shells on soil and marine
environments. A key development is that the inquiry will also investigate
safer alternatives to the use of DU.
The MoD was still keen to stress that it believed "DU munitions to
pose an actual health risk under only the most extreme of conditions".
However given that is was only last October that Geoffrey Hoon, the Secretary
of State for Defence said "that recent hysteria over the impact of
firing DU on health and the environment was without factual foundation"
it is clear that their hand has been forced to at least give the appearance
Anti-DU campaigners are advised not to get too excited however. As many
recent reports, including those of the Royal Society and UNEP, have shown
the data used is often inadequate or biased and have the tendency to find
only what those commissioning them want to find. The MoD makes it clear
that is has no intention of stopping the use of DU munitions whatever
the outcome of the research but instead states that "DU will remain
in the UK inventory for the foreseeable future" and indeed that there"is
to extend the capability of those DU munitions currently available
to the UK Armed Forces."
As Ray Bristow, of The Gulf War Veterans and Families Association, points
out internal studies have been available to the military since 1990 that
concluded that DU was harmful to the health of combatants of both sides
in addition to the local civilian population and the environment. The
MoD has always chosen to ignore such reports in the past as well as mounting
evidence of ill health in soldiers who served in the Gulf and Balkan wars
and the Iraqi population. While campaigners should be proud of the fact
that through their efforts the ill effects and environmental contamination
of DU are being exposed we must always be vigilant for attempts at official
whitewashing of facts and sidelining of public concerns.
The Ministry of Defence press release and research proposal can be found
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DU Days of Action - Please
CADU is calling an International Day of Action against DU on Wednesday
29th May. We are networking the idea as widely as possible and asking
as many people as possible to get involved at this crucial time in the
movement against DU. Please start thinking of actions related to depleted
uranium that could be done in your local area, from public awareness raising
to targeting businesses involved in DU proliferation or condemning governments
that promote its use (a list of DU related sites will be on our website
shortly). Let us know any ideas that people think of to make this day
really exciting and please publicise the date as widely as possible. We
are trying to get groups all over the world involved to make this a truly
effective protest against the dangers of Depleted Uranium.
In the run-up to this day of action, CADU will be organising an action
on Thursday 25th April. If you are in the North West area, and would like
to participate, please let us know, and we will let you have more details.
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Second Part of the Royal
Society Report into DU
On the 18th March the Royal Society released the second part of their
report into the health effects of DU. In 2001 The Royal Society published
a report on the radiological hazards of the heavy metal, that even despite
finding that troops in a tank who survived being hit by a DU shell could
double their risk of dying from lung cancer, was heavily criticised for
its flawed data and inadequate assessment of risk.
This second report concentrates on the chemical and long-term environmental
risks. The report points out there are still many "uncertainties"
in research into the health and environmental effects of Depleted Uranium
and that much future research needs to be done to ascertain long-term
Although its findings will be of no surprise to those who have followed
the campaign against DU the report goes much further in admitting that
there are significant health effects both to those immediately exposed
to DU and to the present and future generations of people living in areas
exposed to DU contamination. However there are still significant omissions
from the report that suggest there is still not a concerted will to reveal
the real damage that DU munitions pose.
Among the findings of the report is evidence that short and long term
damage to the kidney function is possible through DU exposure including
cases where "Kidney uranium levels in some of these soldiers could
be very high and would probably lead to kidney failure within a few days
of exposure," Respiratory damage is also a consequence of exposure
and it admits evidence that DU can cause damage to genetic resources,
DNA and reproductive health. There will be long term exposure to those
returning to areas where DU has been deployed, including through contaminated
food and water supplies and over time with leakage into the environment
"the proportion of exposure from intakes of DU from contaminated
water sources will increase."
The report makes a number of recommendations including long-term epidemiological
studies in those exposed, the need for long-term environmental sampling,
and that "the Localized areas of DU contamination provide a risk,
particularly to young children, and areas should be cleared of visible
penetrators and DU contamination removed from areas around known penetrator
Given the extremely alarming nature of these findings it would be commonsense
that these recommendations should be implemented immediately. Yet despite
reporting these consequences of DU use the Royal Society report concludes
that even for soldiers on the battlefield exposure levels would be too
low to generally have any "adverse effect" on any organ. Dr
Chris Busby of the Low Level Radiation Campaign made a series of suggestions
to the report's draft copy all of which were ignored in the final copy
which have led him to conclude that "there was no real intention
to research the area except in ways that were guaranteed not to find anything."
Similarly Malcolm Hooper, Chief Medical advisor to the British Gulf War
Veterans argues, "This is an attempt to give a scientific imprimatur
to the stance of the government, which is unacceptable". The question
is how much health and environmental damage has to be "proved"
before the risks of DU use is taken seriously by the political and military
The report is available at http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/policy/du.htm
CADU has prepared a response to
the second part of the Royal Society report.
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UNEP Report on DU in the Balkans
The United Nations Environment Programme also released the second part
of its study into the effects of DU use in the Balkans with "Depleted
Uranium in Serbia and Montenegro: Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment
in the federal Republic of Yugoslavia". The first report on Depleted
Uranium in Kosovo in 2001 was strongly criticised by Dr Chris Busby in
the European Parliament for having incorrect data and an analysis of the
results that was either "biased or badly interpreted".
The second UNEP report has new evidence of the far ranging and long lasting
contamination caused by the use of DU munitions. It found that of the
six sites it examined over two years after the end of the conflict "widespread
DU contamination" was present at five, in soil samples taken. As
the report states, "This indicates that during the conflict, DU dust
was widely dispersed into the environment following the explosion of DU
rounds". With unexploded munitions the team found "the penetrators
recovered by the UNEP team had decreased in mass by 10-15 % due to corrosion.
This has important implications for decontamination approaches as well
as for future risks of groundwater contamination and monitoring needs."
Airborne DU particles were also detected at two of the six sites measured,
which "highlights important risks associated with soil disturbance
at DU sites. As a result, necessary precautions should be taken during
decontamination or construction works at DU sites." Moreover "while
the Cape Arza site in Montenegro had undergone comprehensive decontamination
involving the removal of two tons of rock, soil and humus, low-level contamination
could still be detected by the UNEP team. This result shows that complete
site decontamination is very difficult to achieve when funds are a limiting
One would think that taken together these findings would constitute a
very good case to indicate the inhumane and unacceptable risks that DU
poses to civilian populations and future generations, and yet again we
see that the report concludes that "the findings of this study in
Serbia and Montenegro are consistent with the findings of UNEP's DU study
in Kosovo (2001). No alarming levels of DU contamination were detected".
Again we have to ask how high do the risks have to be to be considered
too high? How much radiological and toxic pollution is too much? Journalist
Robert James Parsons has noted of the report that:
"Only six sites were visited, and all of them had been already cleaned
up by the Yugoslav federal authorities before the visits.
The standards used for assessing contamination danger were those of the
World Health Organization and International Commission for Radiological
Protection, which are based on norms built on studies of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki bomb blast victims (one-event, external radiation), revised over
the years. When pressed on the inappropriateness of these norms for measuring
internal radiation, they admitted that this was so, saying that they had
been more or less constrained to keep to the WHO standards. Nonetheless,
he also admitted that the real danger was from inhalation of air-borne
A report submitted to the team by the Montenegrin government about chromosome
problems among people working on the DU clean-up sites was referred to
the WHO, whose Dr Repacholi claimed that there was not enough evidence
to draw firm conclusions, without, of course, proposing a proper epidemiological
study to settle the matter."
The second UNEP Balkans study is at: http://postconflict.unep.ch/
CADU is compiling a full response to the UNEP report which will be available
at our website shortly. To see Chris Busby's response to the initial report,
look at the Low Level Radiation Campaign website;www.llrc.org/du/subtopic/uneprept.htm
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International DU Conference
Held in Baghdad
A two day conference was held in Iraq, on the 26th and 27th of March,
to examine the effects on health of depleted uranium munitions used by
U.S.-led forces during the Gulf War, which it says have caused a rise
in cancer in Iraq.
"The conference is to meet the urgent need for researchers and specialists
in Iraq and other countries to define negative impacts of DU weapons on
humans and the environment," Education Minister Fahad Salim al-Shaqra
said in his opening speech. Experts at the two-day conference, organised
by the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, include
researchers from Egypt, Thailand and Yemen.
Cancer rates among children have almost trebled from four cases per 100,000
in 1990 to 11 in 1999. Congenital deformities in Basra, southern Iraq,
increased four-fold from 1990 to 1999. "The cancer rate increased
among children 242% in 1999, whereas leukaemia cases increased by 100%
in the same year compared with 1990's figures," Shaqra added. Shaqra
said incidence of cancers of the breast, thyroid gland and lymphatic system
An Iraqi vet said on Saturday thousands of fish that have died at fish
farms near Baghdad were poisoned by munitions used by British and U.S.
In November, after lobbying from Washington, the U.N. General Assembly
voted against an Iraqi proposal for a U.N.-backed study into the effects
of depleted uranium used in the Gulf War.
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CADU's position on any UK/US
attack on Iraq
CADU strongly opposes any attack by either the US or the UK on Iraq,
and demands that the UK government condemn US moves in this direction.
This would be an act of unprovoked aggression clearly illegal under international
law, as Iraq has in no way been linked to the September 11th attacks.
Hundreds of thousands of people have already died as a result of the US
and British-led embargo on Iraq, that has prevented essential food, medicine
and cancer-detecting equipment from reaching the Iraqi population.
Iraq has suffered US bombing raids on a daily basis since the end of the
last conflict in 1999, and any renewed full-scale attack would only add
to the prolonged suffering of the innocent people in Iraq.
Please write to your MP and encourage them to sign up to Alice Mahon's
Early Day Motion opposing military action against Iraq at this time. 140
MP's are already signed up - for a list, see the House of Commons website
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DU in Afghanistan Report
Dai Williams' extensive report into the highly probable use of Depleted
Uranium in Afghanistan, as reported in the last issue of CADU news -http://www.cadu.org.uk/news9.htm,
is finished and available on-line.
There has been very little media reporting, and almost none in the UK,
on its contents despite it being circulated by management around several
UN agencies, which suggests this may be due to something more deliberate
It can be found at:
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In January U.S. Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfield, said that the
U.S. had found radiation in Afghanistan - but that it was from DU warheads
belonging to Al-Qaeda. U.S. officials say that uranium-238 found in an
al-Qaeda facility in Afghanistan was intended for "dirty bombs"
that would "spread radioactive material over a wide area. In addition
to killing people in the bomb blast and poisoning others with radiation
such a bomb could render large areas unusable and require lengthy and
expensive clean-up efforts."
The U.S. has done exactly this with uranium-238 in bombing Iraq in 1991
(320 tons of U-238), Bosnia in 1995 (3 tons), and Kosovo in 1999 (10 tons).
But when the U.S. Air Force uses U-238, it is called "depleted uranium."
When the UN General Assembly was asked on November 29th to study the effects,
in Iraq, of radiation from the U.S. U-238 bombardment, the U.S. lobbied
so strongly against the resolution that it failed 45 to 54 with 45 abstentions.
For 12 years the Pentagon has claimed that U-238 weapons don't poison
the earth or cause cancer. Why then is the U.S. so opposed to studying
its effects? How can the US call the threat of U-238 by others an act
of terror without condemning its own Air Force?
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U.S. Cancers Attributable to
Nuclear Testing Fallout, Government Study Shows
An estimated 80,000 people who lived in or were born in the United States
between the years 1951 and 2000 will contract cancer as a result of the
fallout caused by atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, according to an
analysis of government studies by the Institute for Energy and Environmental,
Research. Well over 15,000 of these cases would be fatal.
"This report and other official data show that hot spots occurred
thousands of miles away from the test sites," said Dr. Arjun Makhijani,
president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. "The
new fallout maps and radiation dose estimates show that nuclear weapons
states not only harmed their own people but also people in other countries."
Despite this classified reports leaked from the Pentagon of its' "nuclear
posture review" show plans to develop a whole new generation of "mini-nukes"!
The most recent government study, a fact sheet, and official fallout maps
are posted on the IEER web site
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Fighting Depleted Uranium
in South Africa
Muna Lakhani is one of the co-ordinators of the Nuclear Energy Costs
the Earth Campaign based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Some of the projects
they are currently involved in include fighting a proposed Radioactive
Waste Smelter and fuel plant at Pelindaba (a few kilometres from communities,
townships and the Cradle of Humankind, the world heritage site), which
would involve the transportation of between 2 and 40 trucks PER DAY carrying
either enriched uranium or fuel "pebbles". Also a proposed Pebble
Bed Modular Reactor programme of Eskom (our electricity utility) and NECSA
(Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA) at Koeberg, the countries' only nuclear
Muna writes "The problems to date are all familiar, I am sure - bad
process, misleading information, raising hopes of government with promises
of jobs and foreign income etc etc...
We are working very hard at trying to change the proposed nuclear development
path here, and your good wishes and support will be most welcome - we
are fairly up to speed on most issues, but more information is always
Eskom's partners are Exelon (from the USA) and the recently insolvent
BNFL (from the UK)..."
They can be contacted at www.earthlife.org.za
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Six deaths this week in Vieques
The Committee for the Rescue and Development in Vieques, Puerto Rico,
denounced the deaths this past weekend of six people, four of them cancer
victims. Lung and stomach cancers were the principal causes. The victims
were residents of the Monte Santo and Lujan sectors, areas that receive
winds directly from US Navy's the bombing zone on the Northeast part of
the island. Several scientific studies show how military toxics produced
during sixty years of bombing, get to the population through the breezes
and the food chain.
Dr. Rivera Castaña mentioned that ". more than a year ago
the Legislature assigned funds for an epidemiological study on cancer
to be ready in five months and we have not yet seen any results."
The Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques demands the Navy
begin the cleanup of the environmental disaster that little by little
is killing our people.
For more information contact: Committee for the Rescue and Development
Apartado 1424 Vieques, Puerto Rico 00765
Tel. 787 741-0716 Fax. 787 741-0358
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DU in Sardinia, Italy, near
a NATO firing range
Recently, Italian anti-Du campaigners found near the "poligono interforze
del Salto di Quirra di Perdasdefogu", an experimental Firing Range
in Sardinia, traces of caesium 137. In that Firing Range there are signs
which alert on radioactive contamination. In a little town near the F.R.,
there were 10 cancer deaths out of a population of 150. In the last years
we saw children deformities: i.e. in 1988 out of 15 children born in another
small town near the F.I. there were 5 with congenital abnormalities. They
are looking for a team of volunteers to monitor possible presence of depleted
uranium in the area. They think that it is possible to find other firing
ranges here in Italy (and maybe in Europe) that leak contamination. Any
suggestions would be very welcome.
Contact: Marco Saba Researcher Phone: (Italy+) 340 5006545 or email@example.com
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15 Activists Found Guilty
of Speaking the Truth
15 Activists have been found guilty for trespass during an action at
Alliant Techsystems (ATK) on the 27th March. Alliant Techsystems produces
DU munitions, cluster bombs and landmines in Edina, Minnesota. Three Sisters
of St Joseph of Carondelet are choosing jail in solidarity with prisoners,
here and abroad, who are not allowed alternatives; and to emphasise the
devastating impact of ATK's weapons on civilians and the earth, including
the devastating consequences of military spending on the U.S.'s domestic
needs. 400+ arrests in the past six years at ATK have led to a dozen trials,
with 5 acquittals. This is the first time a jail sentence has been imposed
for non-violent civil disobedience at Alliant Techsystems.
The action took place November 7, 2001 at Alliant's new corporate headquarters
in Edina, Minnesota. The question asked that day of Alliant: Who profits?
Who Dies? The activists walked onto the lawn near the parking lot which
Alliant Tech rents, planting small warning flags to alert passersby of
the danger of decisions being made inside.
At trial the group claimed they had a right, even an obligation to speak
out, under the Nuremberg Principles, on what they argued was the violation
of international law by Alliant. The weapons it produces "cause undue
damages on indigenous populations" under article 51 of the Geneva
Convention, and are "indiscriminate" under Geneva Protocol I.
They cited Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, which says that such international
treaties are the supreme law of the land superseding any state laws.
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Report in Uses of DU in UK
The Environment Agency has released a report into the uses of DU in the
UK and the problems of disposal. While it does not cover health related
issues, it focuses on DU, which is not stored in nuclear installations,
and pays particular attention to the aerospace industry and scrap metals
recycling issues. Most worryingly it concludes that is it not military
sites, but the aircraft servicing, salvage and recycling industry that
is the most likely place for DU incidents.
It also identifies a risk for medical equipment containing DU, and notes
that there is no disposal facility in the UK for DU.
Call 01793 865 000 for a copy of the full report: "Depleted Uranium
- A Study of its Uses in the UK and Disposal Issues"
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Gulf War Illness a Myth!
A report published in the British Medical Journal has claimed that Gulf
War Illness is not caused by anything specific to that war, such as Depleted
Uranium or untested chemical weapon vaccines, but that rather the symptoms
described have been suffered by soldiers in all wars in the last century.
The report by Edgar Jones compared the symptoms to those of soldiers after
the 1899 Boer War and claimed they were very similar. A Ministry of Defence
spokeswoman said that it "provided useful information about the health
of veterans after conflicts."
US veteran groups estimate that as many as 13 000 have died and 270 000
are suffering from Gulf War Illness.
Malcolm Hooper, Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Gulf Vets would certainly
have something to say about this bogus report!
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DU Arms Manufacturing
Moving to Barrow and Sheffield
BAE Systems Royal Ordnance finished its manufacturing of the L30A1 120mm
rifle gun system used in the Challenger 2 tank and fashioned from US-supplied
Depleted Uranium blanks. The manufacture has now moved on to the new site
in Barrow. Production of barrels and breeches has also been subcontracted
to Sheffield Forgemasters.
ACTION PLAN: If you live anywhere near Barrow or Sheffield why
don't you pay them a visit and let them know you know what they are up
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BNFL DU controversy : Uranium to
While researching DU production, Phil, a CADU volunteer uncovered a story
from last year about British Nuclear Fuels plans to dump up to 30,000
bags of depleted uranium contaminated waste at a rubbish dump near Preston,
in north-west England, run by Lancashire Waste Services. The waste comes
from the nearby BNFL Springfield nuclear fuel complex and each plastic
bag will contain up to 0.2 per cent (by weight) of uranium, or up to 20
grams. The contaminated waste would previously have gone to the Drigg
low-level waste dump but the complex is filling up and space is at a premium.
The company is therefore looking for alternatives for low-level wastes.
The story is from Nuclear base information service, and now CADU will
be investigating further whether this dumping actually occurred
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Increase in Accidents involving
Transportation of Radioactive Materials
A report carried out for the Department for Transport, Local Government
Regions, and the Health and Safety Executive National Radiological Protection
Board has been published that analysis' accidents involving the transport
of radioactive materials from, to, or within the UK during 2000. It found
that the 1990-2000 decade had a higher number of accidents than previous
decades for "unclear reasons".
The two accidents that led to the highest radiological exposures both
involved the "discovery of items of uranium metal in domestic waste,
or scrap metal waste"
The DTLR report "Radiological Consequences resulting from Accidents
and Incidents Involving the Transport of Radioactive Materials in the
UK - 2000 Review" can be seen at:
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UK Buying Tungsten Surrogate
The British Army is procuring a new tungsten-penetrator round compatible
with the gun of its Challenger 2 tanks to replace the L27 APFSDS projectile,
which uses a depleted uranium penetrator. This is because the tungsten
round has improved compatibility with other tank gun models.
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21-23 June 2002: 16th LOW LEVEL RADIATION
CONFERENCE, DUBLIN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY,
RADIATION RELEASES AND HEALTH
Speakers on depleted uranium, Chernobyl, Collective Dose Model, current
radiation worries - mobile phone masts etc, and more.....
Workshops on European cooperation on nuclear risks, Internal emmiters,
Regular monitoring (air, sea & land) Priorities in epidemiological
research, Priorities in biological research
For more information and booking contact:
Admin Fiona Lyng firstname.lastname@example.org
Organiser Carmel Mothersill email@example.com
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A BIG THANK-YOU
to everyone who responded to our plea for subscriptions and donations
in the last issue - the money raised is ensuring we can pay the rent on
our office, and do things like the DU Action day.
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Page last updated: 6th December 2002