Campaign Against Depleted Uranium


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CADU NEWS 3
Winter 1999/2000

Contents
1) Stanstead Air Crash Involved DU
2) Dutch Crash 1992
3) NGO Committee on Disarmament in US
4) Gulf Veterans present evidence to Defence Committee
5) DU Contaminated with Plutonium and Neptunium
6) DU Action at UN
7) National March and Demonstration for Gulf War Veteran Saturday 26 February
8) From Puerto Rico to Scotland - DU campaigners chase DU across Atlantic
9) Report from Ban-DU, a US partner to CADU
10) More News from the US
11) Uranium Hexafluoride, Recycling and US Workers Health
12) Jury backs campaigner's anti-DU graffiti
13) Iraq has DU
14) Day for the People of Iraq 1 April 2000
15) Report on the Fire and Royal Ordnance Speciality Metals
16) Dan Fahey's Policy Paper on DU
17) Committee for Peace in the Balkans - Conference
18) The Royal Society Investigation - 'not so independent'
19) Web site to look at
20) CADU Website
21) CADU Display for 'hire'
22) Balkans Update
23) Proposed CADU International Conference 1st- 2nd July 2000 Manchester England
24) Videos Available
25) What is CADU?
26) Current UK government position on DU

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Stanstead Air Crash Involved DU

The Korean Air Boeing 747 which crashed near Stansted Airport just before Christmas was later revealed to have been carrying depleted uranium.

DU is used in aircraft as counter-weights for tail rudder controls because the of high density which gives a heavy weight in only a small size. Several hundred kilograms of DU were used in 747 Jumbo Jets until the 1980s when it was replaced with tungsten.

A Boeing spokesperson commented in the Guardian newspaper that it would not have presented any risk to the public or to emergency workers, "The company began using DU in the early 1960s. Boeing replaced it with tungsten in the early 1980s, on grounds of cost and availability. The Korean 747 was delivered to the airline in June 1980. We think it contained about 300 kg of DU. But it would need to have been exposed to a fire of 800 degrees Celsius for more than four hours before it emitted uranium oxide. And even then, if it was breathed in it would be only 40% of the amount deemed harmful."

This is a startling remark, as in effect, for the first time, officials are admitting that DU is dangerous in weapons, when it does indeed burn above these temperatures.

Since this time, it has been revealed by the Department of Environment and Transport that only about half of the DU used in the jet has been recovered by contractors working to clear the site for investigators. It is therefore possible that some of the uranium was vaporised in the intense

fire when the aircraft crashed and this could raise worrying concerns about health effects. In a similar plane disaster in 1992, an El Al Boeing 747 crashed in suburbs of Amsterdam and burst into flames. Poisoning from the DU has been partly blamed for a number of illnesses which have been suffered by those living near the crash site (see below).

Malcolm Hooper, professor emeritus of medicinal chemistry at the University of Sunderland told BBC News Online: "If no precautions were taken at the crash scene, people will have been exposed to hazards that could prove fatal."

The Korean Air jet crashed in flames and Professor Hooper said: "Those who were handling the wreckage should have been advised of the risk. They should have been taking all the precautions they didn't take in the Amsterdam crash. "I can't see any way you could have a significant fire in a crash like this without producing the conditions that would allow a potentially hazardous release of DU."

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Dutch crash 1992

On 4 October 1992 an El Al cargo 747 crashed into a block of flats in Bijlmermeer, an Amsterdam suburb, killing 43 people. In recent years questions have remained about the cause of the crash, health problems among citizens and rescue workers, the exact cargo, depleted uranium counterweights and other issues. More than 800 residents and rescue workers were reported after the crash to be complaining of a range of problems, including fatigue, skin complaints, joint and bone pains, kidney ailments and respiratory problems. The LAKA foundation in Holland (with whom CADU has strong links) made public the fact that the plane had been carrying 282 kg of DU counterweights.

Only 130 kg were recovered in the clear-up after the crash, and LAKA pointed out emphatically that the airborne oxidised uranium posed health risks. Paul Loewenstein, once technical director and vice-president of a company now called Starmet suppliers of DU to Boeing, produced an article which said "large pieces of uranium will oxidise rapidly and will sustain slow combustion when heated in air to temperatures of about 500 degrees Celsius." The health risks associated with this have been detailed in these pages before. Basing their evidence on NASA tests showing that the temperature of a fireball in a plane crash can reach 1,200 C, and the weather conditions on the day, LAKA suggested that DU could have spread in dust clouds from the crash.

In a press release issued on the day news of DU involvement in the crash was exposed, radiation experts claimed there was no risk to public health as the DU remained intact. A report by the local council also claimed that there was little risk.

However, since this time, LAKA have continued to fight their conclusions, producing more and more evidence to suggest that the DU did pose health concerns. The ongoing publications and rumours sparked a Parliamentarian Inquiry Commission into the disaster in 1998. During this it emerged that the Dutch Aviation Administration found DU weights on the third day after the crash but failed to inform rescue workers.

After repeated claims about DU burning, the Minister of Traffic announced new research on this matter. The outcome, largely based on US Army Research, confirmed the possibility of low temperature burning. Between 350 and 600 C DU will oxidise and be loosened as fine powder. Between 650 to 800 C the formed oxides mainly stuck to the weight, but a higher temperatures the counterweights would oxidise completely. This research is significant for the recent Stansted crash. The final conclusion of the Commission, which was far from satisfactory in LAKA's view, was: "based on existing scientific literature, research on the Bijlmer crash, its hearings, and own research that it is unlikely that big groups of citizens and rescue workers have contracted uranium poisoning" But "The Commission explicitly states that it cannot be excluded that in specific circumstances, some individuals have inhaled that much respirable uranium oxide particles that a contamination has taken place"

Taken from 'Uranium Pollution from the Amsterdam 1992 Plane Crash" an article by Henk Van der Keur, Laka Foundation in 'Depleted Uranium - A post war disaster for environment and health'
Contact: laka@laka.antenna.nl

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NGO Committee on Disarmament in US

On October 26th, 1999, the NGO Committee on Disarmament hosted a panel discussion on depleted uranium weapons at the United Nations in New York. The Pentagon was well represented. They sent what they thought was a "Trojan Horse" in the form of Colonel Eric Daxon from the Army Medical Corps, but by the end of the night, he looked more like a sacrificial lamb.

Since the Pentagon admitted, in 1998, that "thousands" of Gulf War veterans may have been exposed to depleted uranium, Pentagon spokesmen have dropped back to their next line of defence; not one veteran was exposed to enough DU to cause any health problems. Of course, using such a definitive statement is problematic and indefensible, especially when you have no data to support your position. The Pentagon is enamoured with DU and its refusal to admit any adverse effects from its use had prevented veterans from getting health care and forestalled research on DU's health and environmental effects.
Overall the Pentagon came off looking extremely arrogant and lacking credibility. After Colonel Daxon admitted people should stay away from equipment hit by DU rounds, a journalist asked why the Department of Defence had still not passed this warning on to Kosov@ civilians. "Ask NATO," the Colonel responded tersely, to which the journalist stated "NATO won't answer that question either. " Unfortunately for the Pentagon, 60 Minutes taped the entire debate.

By Dan Fahey (in Veterans for Peace Newsletter, Nov 99)

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Gulf Veterans Present Evidence to Defence Committee

At the end of last year, the parliamentary Defence Committee considered the role of depleted uranium and Gulf War Syndrome. The National Association of Gulf War Veterans presented oral evidence to the committee, flying in Dr Hari Sharma of Waterloo University in Canada, and Doug Rokke from Pentonville University, to present expert opinion. Professor Malcolm Hooper from the UK was also present to give evidence. All three experts were adamant and unequivocal that British vets had tested positive for depleted uranium.
Doug Rokke told the Committee that in his previous position, giving advice to the Pentagon, he was the officer tasked to clean up vehicles hit with DU in the Gulf War, and to provide a future protocol for this task. He made 4 training videos,

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DU Contaminated with Plutonium and Neptunium

The uranium hexafluoride that the US government store at Paducah, Kentucky could be contaminated with Plutonium and Neptunium. This could be the most worrying problem to date. Plutonium and Neptunium and 'Transuranics,' that is they are larger in atomic number that uranium. All transuranics are very radioactive and very dangerous even in small quantities.

This is the same stockpile that the Department of Energy plans to give away for commercial uses, including depleted uranium ammunition.
More details at http://www.eh.doe.gov/oversight/paducah/pad_ph1.pdf
Clare Frisby

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DU Action at the UN

CADU has agreed to publicise and circulate a report written by Karen Parker, which analyses DU action at the UN. In summarising this report Karen writes: "I will include all DU groups NGO statements (written and oral), my Memorandum, the UN resolutions and report and an update of the current status. The analysis will include discussion of the "whys" behind the UN action and my legal position that DU is already illegal by operation of existing law. I will include some discussion of why lobbying for a specific treaty banning DU could be counterproductive as well as costly. While I intend to have the report done by February -- in time for the next session of the Commission on Human Rights -- the next big push on the issue will be the Summer session of the Sub-Commission. In the meantime if there are any questions please don't hesitate to contact me.
Karen Parker <ied@igc.org>

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National March and Demonstration for Gulf War Veterans

Saturday 26th February. Meet at Tothill St at 11.30 for noon.
The march will pass St Pauls where it will visit the Memorial to the Gulf War veterans in the crypt. At 4pm representatives will hand in a petition to Downing Street demanding a public enquiry (again) into why over 400 veterans have died since their return, why over 5,000 veterans are reported ill, and why over 1000 children are suffering from illnesses related to their parents gulf service. The publicity for the march states "You do not have to be a Gulf War Veteran; families, friends and supporters are welcome, you just need to be someone who believes in what is right and wants the truth to be told."

For more information contact Terry Gooding (Gulf Veterans Assoc. - 22 Glencoul Avenue, Dalgety Bay, Fife, Scotland 01383 823528, or Julie Means 01462 620134

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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: http://www.viequeslibre.org
Comment:

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 would be imprudent to ignore such warnings.
Clare Frisby

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Report from Ban-DU, a U.S. partner to CADU

We continue to work hard to spread the word about the deadly effects of depleted uranium, to civilian populations as well as service personnel who suffer its consequences. We have made posters of colour photos of a few of the deformed and dying children in Iraq (5,000 a month), due to Sanctions and DU exposure. We have displayed them in several public locations. Along with the posters we offer a brochure to help educate the public. It includes action ideas and addresses of officials who could influence public policy. We are angry that our military is so obsessed with power that they refuse to acknowledge the damage to health to civilians as well as our military personnel. We have had considerable (unsatisfactory) correspondence with top officials in the Pentagon, other government agencies and veterans' associations. We have urged many of the popular TV talk shows to cover this topic, so far with no results. But we keep trying.

Thanks to the behind-the-scenes guidance of Dan Fahey (Military Toxics Project), an amazingly accurate coverage of DU was put on national TV (Sixty Minutes) in December 1999, watched by 80 million Americans. The program covered how much the military knew about DU's toxic effects before it was used in battle (in Iraq), and how little they warned or protected service personnel, even afterwards, during the pathetically little cleanup.
The Pentagon followed the program with its PR machine telling that their studies show no significant health effects could result from its use. No public outcry has resulted, either due to the effectiveness of the Pentagon whitewash, or else the public is numb from too many recent revelations of wrong-doings.

We listened to the same denials and rhetoric for 25 years about agent orange. Now we learn of radiation experiments on civilians (without their knowledge) that occurred back in the 1960's, and of experimental bacteriological gases and sprays used on selected civilian populations... What more has the military done that we don't know about? We have come to know that our governments will do anything to enhance their desperate need to make deadly and deadlier weapons of destruction. It is the power thing as well as a profitable product to sell all over the world. How sad.

We are angry that our young men and women in uniform are constantly being used as guinea pigs, not only with DU, but being fed irradiated food, and given experimental immunisations, and who knows what else?

We continue to urge our government to halt the use of DU weapons (and take out of service those already made), to stop selling DU weapons or DU for commercial use to other countries (and reclaim that which we have already sold abroad), to clean up the contamination of DU weapons everywhere we have imposed it (testing as well as battle sites), to provide appropriate medical care for those who have been affected, to prohibit any further use of DU for commercial, civilian products and reclaim those already in use. Share with us your success stories on how you are getting this story out!

We are impressed with your gains with your MP's, and your hearings at the United Nations. Keep up your great work!!
Betty Schroeder
Ban-DU
5349 W. Bar X Street
Tucson, AZ 85713
USA
birnie@gci-net.com

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More News from the US

In Tennessee: DU munitions workers who went out on strike in 1981 due to high levels of DU dust in the workplace finally won their case in court. A September 1999 decision acknowledged the workers' right to strike, and ordered Aerojet Corp. (formerly TNS) to hire the workers back and recompense them for lost wages.

In Concord, MA: The cleanup of depleted uranium at the Starmet (formerly Nuclear Metals) ammunition plant stopped last spring after $6 million was spent. Starmet, the state, and the federal government are arguing over who will pay up to $50 million to complete the cleanup of depleted uranium at the site.

In Washington, DC: A November 1999 conference hosted by the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute discussed current federal research on DU. Researchers recommended further investigation of the relationship between DU and cancer, immune system and neurological problems, and male and female reproductive effects. The Institute of Medicine is currently reviewing DU research to determine what health effects, if any, may be related to Gulf War veterans' illnesses.

In the News: Television shows on depleted uranium have recently aired on national television in Canada (Sept. 1999), Japan (Nov. 1999), the United States (Dec. 1999), and France (Jan. 1999). After the US show "60 Minutes" aired a segment on DU and the Gulf War, Pentagon spokesmen reiterated their assertion that it is impossible any veterans could be sick from depleted uranium.

Dan Fahey (Military Toxics Project PO Box 21309, Washington, DC 20009, 202 232 1880 mptdu@dclink.com

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Uranium Hexafluoride, Recycling and US Workers' Health

UF6 is the chemical symbol for uranium hexafluoride. Scientists sometimes refer to it as DUF6.

To produce enriched uranium, one must first convert it into UF6. It is a part of the enrichment process. Gaseous diffusion, the process used to extract enriched uranium from UF6, produces four tonnes of depleted uranium for every tonne of enriched uranium. Therefore DUF6 constitutes a huge proportion of the United States' nuclear waste: France stores its waste in a different form. (I have been unable to find out in what form the UK stores its DU) It is unstable and difficult and expensive to store, posing a threat to workers and the surrounding environment. The DU used in munitions in Iraq and the Gulf War came from this source.

In the United States the government have come up with a proposal to process DUF6 back into uranium metal and use it in industry - as counterweights in lifts and fork lift trucks for example. In July 1988, President Clinton signed the 'Uranium Recycling Bill'. It provides $400 million to the UF6 storage plants in Ohio and Kentucky to treat and recycle UF6. Construction is due to start in January 2000. Industry has already used DU for ballast in aeroplane wings and in ships. It is possible that these products could be arriving in the UK without any clear labelling.

The use of DU in ordinary industrial machinery could have more far reaching effects than the use of DU in munitions. However, the problems associated with the use of DU in munitions remain. IEER in the United States have some practicable proposals for storage of UF6. They suggest ways to make it safe in terms of proliferation: for example, processing it in such a way that it would be difficult to enrich for use in power stations or nuclear weapons.

They also suggest ways to store it safely.
Watch this space for further developments.
Clare Frisby

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Jury backs campaigner's anti-DU graffiti

Helen John, an anti-nuclear campaigner who daubed 'Ban Depleted Uranium' graffiti on the House of Commons was found guilty last December of criminal damage. But the jury handed the judge a note condoning the actions of the 62-year-old former Greenham Common protester.

Judge Blacksell QC, read the note which said 'We are unanimously agreed that the defendant had reasonable cause for her actions'. He told the jurors: You can take it I can understand that ... and will be true to it.

At one point, the jury asked the judge if they could consider international law when delivering their verdict, but were instructed to the contrary. Sentence was deferred sentence for six months.

Helen had daubed 18-inch high messages 'No star wars', 'Ban trident' and 'Ban depleted uranium' at St Stephen's Gate, the public entrance to the Palace of Westminster, early one morning in September. Apparently despite a 4,500 clean up, the ghost of the slogans may remain for a long time - continuing to inform people of the persistent threats these weapons pose.

MP's give evidence

Tony Benn gave evidence to support Ms John during the trial telling the jury he had been misled or kept in the dark on a number of nuclear issues while a government minister. He agreed that action such as hers was sometimes necessary to alert parliament and the public about what was really going on. "I think dissent and protest of a non-violent kind are an integral part of democracy", Mr Benn said. He also testified that the British Government, with its repeated flouting of international law, was a threat to democracy. Excellent expert witness was also given by MP Alan Simpson who told the court that it was well nigh impossible to get information out of the MoD, even when large spending on projects was involved.

Ms John has been a dedicated anti-nuclear campaigner for many years. She set up the Menwith camp five years ago at Menwith Hill, the biggest US spy base in the world, and renamed the base WoMenwith Hill.

"Unusual" verdict

A spokesman for the lord chancellor's department said it was highly unusual for a jury to convict a defendant, then subsequently condone their actions, but he was unable to say whether the case had set a legal precedent.

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Iraq has DU

In January, the International Atomic Energy Agency Inspectors conducted nuclear materials inspections in Iraq. They stated in a press release that although weapon-usable nuclear material (plutonium and high enriched uranium) has been removed from Iraq, the country has still about 1.8 tonnes of low enriched uranium (2.6%) as well as several tonnes of natural and depleted uranium.

As Rosalie Bertell commented "It might be very important to find out the plans of the IAEA with respect to the DU and other radioactive waste which remains in Iraq. If the West is calling DU ammunition conventional, they will not be able to condem Iraq for using it."

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Day for the People of Iraq

1 April 2000
Camden Centre, Euston Road, London
The Mariam Appeal are organising a day school for the people

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Report on the Fire at Royal Ordnance Special Metals

On 8th February 1999 a serious fire broke out at Royal Ordnance Speciality Metals at Featherstone near Wolverhampton, when a piece of depleted uranium swarf ignited mineral oil, and the resulting running fluid fire spread to 200-300 wooden pallets stored nearby. The fire burned out of control for hours and dense clouds of smoke rose high into the sky. DU is both toxic and radioactive. Yet all official statements, both at the time and subsequently, insist that there was no risk to fire fighters or the public, and that only very slight traces of DU contamination were detected within the building and where fire crews gained access. This is in dramatic contrast with Environment Agency evidence about DU given in a successful prosecution (29.11.99) at Hemel Hempstead of Jenny Seward, a company director involved in illegal dumping. Regarding fire during machining operations, the Case Summary states, "Any fire so created would produce radioactive particles of uranium oxide which would be inhaled by anyone exposed to the smoke from the fire thus exposed to the risks of cancer described above"

Main issues of concern

There seems to be no single body responsible for pulling together all the facts: there was no requirement for an emergency plan for the site. The Environment Agency (EA) has produced a public report only 2 sides long, the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has written an internal report for its own purposes, and the NRPB is producing a report which can be released only by permission of Royal Ordnance Speciality Metals, (ROSM). ROSM's own report will not be made public. The Health & Safety Executive report is not complete yet.

In April the Dr Othen for the EA said that they assumed that, "When the facility is decontaminated and reconstructed ROSM will wish to resume business". He indicated that the Agency is in a difficult situation because of the national security aspect of work at ROSM and that he saw no ground for removing ROSM's licences. However: A condition of operation is that Depleted Uranium (DU) is kept away from flammable materials. It seems clear that ROSM breached its licence by storing 200-300 wooden pallets near to the machine where the fire started. The fact that DU swarf fell outside the mineral oil bath would suggest unsatisfactory practices in the machine room. The fact that burning DU ignited the oil, thus causing a running fluid fire, which spread to the pallets in the adjoining area, again indicates that safety precautions were not adequate. Powder specifically for extinguishing DU fires was stored in wheelbarrows at the far end of the machine room, in an area which the firemen could not reach, because of the fire! Again, this would seem to indicate totally unacceptable work practices.

At present, despite widespread inquiries, and information from fire-fighters, it is not possible to make a clear summary of the various tests for radiation which were conducted. Bodies involved were the Environment Agency from Lichfield (Graham Macro), the NRPB from Leeds, and the County Analyst at the request of the fire fighters. Although the Environment Agency claims that Mr. Macro was on site at 11.30 (i.e. within 45 minutes of the alarm), and allegedly started "preliminary monitoring", and although the Agency's public report (30.3.99) says that he "liaised with Emergency Services", this sits oddly alongside the evidence of fire fighters, as given in their internal report. This describes fire fighters, concerned about a possible radioactive release, attempting to access the Company Contamination meter at 11.34, but being "summoned out due to deteriorating situation."

Their concerns remained, and after repeated requests for help & information re. radioactive contamination, at 12.50 they requested the attendance of the County Analyst with monitoring equipment. He was instructed to test for gamma (NB not all that relevant in the case of DU) radiation. Fire control was notified at 13.58 that testing has finally taken place.

It is still not clear how many sets of tests were taken, and at what time. As all accounts have the fire originating with burning DU swarf, it seems incontestable that some radiation must have been given off during the early stages of combustion. WHY were early contamination

checks not made?

Another area which is not clear is how much DU was actually involved in the fire. The Fire Brigade Report has Mr. Macro telling a meeting of West Midlands Regional Advisory Committee on Incidents Involving Radiation (10.2.99) that "approximately 10% of the 200-500 kg of DU could have been released in the fire..".

The "national security" aspect of ROSM's work is presumably the cause of Mr. Macro's coyness about quantities. A further complication in trying to find any agency which puts the public's safety as top priority is the fact that the NRPB (letter to me 19.4.99) is under contract to ROSM ,"and any findings are strictly their property." We really have to wonder whether there is information, release of which ROSM has vetoed.

Increasingly concerned about possible health effects from working next to ROSM, officers from Featherstone prison sent urine and soil samples for analysis to Dr. Hari Sharma at Waterloo University Canada. Before these samples arrived, and just before he was to give an interview to Mike Nicholson of ITN, Dr. Sharma was relieved of his university post, after 30 years. The prison officers' samples have disappeared.
For further information contact : Madeline Haigh of West Midlands CND on 0121 329 3252

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Dan Fahey's Policy Paper on DU

Dan Fahey from the Military Toxics Project (a partner of CADU in the US) has written an excellent policy paper on DU. The paper includes an overview of the current situation in relation to the use of DU and its potential health effects. It goes on to outline approaches to the problem - health and safety, scientific, legal, economic, human rights, and military necessity. He explores alternatives to DU, and assesses the impediments to getting rid of DU. IN conclusion, he offers a proposed solution which involves more medical and scientific research, and meanwhile, international courts should hold those who use DU accountable for failing to protect soldiers and civilians from exposure. Attempts should be made to persuade governments to abandon use of DU in munitions in favour of alternatives.
The complete paper is available from the CADU office and maybe a useful summary and campaigning tool - please ask and we can send or e-mail it to you.

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Committee for Peace in the Balkans Conference

The Manchester Committee for Peace in the Balkans organised a conference on the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia which was held at the Friends Meeting House on 4 December. The plenary sessions featured speakers analysing various aspects of the global political causes and consequences of the bombing. Workshop session included information on NATO's economic war, NATO's humanitarian war, NATOs media war and NATO's environmental war. One very important message was the resistance we must all make to the government's and media's demonisation of the Serb people. Obviously this goes for the Iraqi people as well. Nobody thinks the leadership of those two countries is composed of saints, but we should make every effort to resist the demonisation and accompanying economic deprivation imposed on the people, which results not only in severe hardship but deprivations resulting in the death in Iraq of 6,000 children per month. The so-called "smart sanctions" in Yugoslavia - targeted only at those cities which have not withdrawn support from the government - not only assume a degree of agency which may not exist, but may also serve to mask the health effects of the chemical and radiological pollutants released during the bombing.

I gave the workshop on DU, in the "Environmental war" section. This was well-received, and several useful contacts were made. One item mentioned was the negative effect of the 1959 agreement between the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). This agreement includes clauses that limit WHO's ability to properly research the health effects of exposure to low-level radiation, and may be one root of the secrecy and cover ups which have been the hallmark of the nuclear age. Since the IAEA is also charged with promoting the nuclear industry, giving it any control whatsoever over scientific enquiry into the negative effects of the industry is rather like getting the fox to guard the chickens. The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom is circulating a petition to have the agreement amended. Copies of the petition may be obtained from WILPF member Helen John, 26 The Oval, Otley LS21 2ED (Tel. 01943-468593), or CADU office.

Cat Euler

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The Royal Society Investigation - 'not so independent'

The new Royal Society team that has been given the mandate to carry out an "independent" investigation of the health risks and effects of DU is faced with a critical challenge. Robert Fisk and others have already questioned the team's purported independence, as well we might, considering that several scientists on the team have known links to the nuclear industry. The nuclear industry has a vested interest in downplaying the dangers of DU in order to expand the commercial and military market for "low-level" radioactive metals.

The Royal Society's primary challenge will be to carry out a truly scientific investigation. It should be based on material measurements, not just theory. It should not just re-hash the pro-nuclear literature, as the RAND report did. The main argument of the US DoD and UK MoD boils down to some version of "the radioactivity is too low to cause health consequences, therefore there are no health consequences."

This assumption appears to be based on an outdated reliance on the questionable data on dose-effect relationships which has come out of the studies on the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These people were suddenly exposed to large amounts of radionuclides; when scientists came to estimate the dose people had received, these measurements were restricted to external exposures. In the case of DU, we are dealing with long-term exposures to relatively low-levels of radionuclides which can be ingested and inhaled, and re-ingested and re-inhaled, over a period of time which is, essentially, eternity.

Rather than rely unscientifically on previous literature which does not focus on the particular toxicology of the particular chemical forms found after the firing of DU on a battlefield, the Royal Society team needs to carry out primary research. Rather than trying to "allay the veterans' fears", as Chairman Brian Spratt said on Radio 4, the team should be working to test the urine of as many veterans and other exposed people as soon as possible. These measurements need to be repeated at intervals of six months, so that the real rate of elimination can be ascertained. Once this is known, it will be possible to work backwards to find out the estimated exposure based on real numbers, not guesses, useful as these may be for speculation's sake. These tests should not be performed simply for the sake of research, but to assist in the process of guaranteeing life-time full health care for all those exposed.

Cat Euler

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Website to Look At

http://www.antenna.nl/wise/uranium/rup.html#REF
This is a wonderful explanation of the additional radioactivity which should be calculated into the individual dose if the DU has come from reprocessed spent fuel rather than from the beginning of the nuclear cycle. Maybe people who read the newsletter might want to look it up if they want more technical information??

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CADU Website

We have needed to create a Website for CADU since the beginning, as it is an essential tool in this day and age for campaigners. Now, we are finally in the process of setting one up, which will not only provide all the latest material, but will link to other Website on DU and related issues around the world. At the time of going to print, we do not have the address for the Website, but we hope to have it up and running by early March. The address will be in the next edition of CADU news, or if you can't wait, try typing depleted uranium in a search and we hope we'll crop up.

CADU display for 'hire'

We now have an exhibition, on CADU and the issue of depleted uranium, available for use by groups and individuals. It is in full colour, and consists of one A1 and six A2 laminated panels, which can be pinned or velcroed on most display boards/walls. We will also have a black and white copy (which is still excellent quality) also available. Groups may use this display for the cost of posting or otherwise transporting the display to you. It has appeared in Manchester Central Library, and we encourage other groups to try to arrange to have the display in their local libraries, schools, town halls, community centres etc.

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CADU Display for 'Hire'

We now have an exhibition, on CADU and the issue of depleted uranium, available for use by groups and individuals. It is in full colour, and consists of one A1 and six A2 laminated panels, which can be pinned or velcroed on most display boards/walls. We will also have a black and white copy (which is still excellent quality) also available. Groups may use this display for the cost of posting or otherwise transporting the display to you. It has appeared in Manchester Central Library, and we encourage other groups to try to arrange to have the display in their local libraries, schools, town halls, community centres etc.

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Balkans Update

We have received many enquiries from concerned groups and individuals regarding the use of DU in the Balkans, not least from returning refugees and aid workers, desperate to know where DU was used. Unfortunately this information is not being released by the US DoD, and it is impossible to offer much help to these people. We have however printed two leaflets on precautionary measures to take in areas where DU may have been used (produced by Cat Euler). We are also funding a similar leaflet in Serbian, to be distributed by a local group. If anyone would like copies of this leaflet, please contact the office.

What you can do:

Please write to your MP to ask the government to pressure the US to release its data about the amount and whereabouts of DU used in Kosov@ and Serbia.

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Proposed CADU International Conference 1st and 2nd July 2000 Manchester - England

Although CADU is a relatively new campaign group we have experienced exponential growth and now receive international attention. Our bulletins and briefings are bringing us enquiries from places as far apart as the United States, Nigeria, India and Switzerland.

The issues around depleted uranium are still contentious. There are some who question the severity of the problem. Some say that claims of its threat and the ill effects that it causes have been exaggerated. Therefore, we would like to have a forum for the debate. We plan to have a two day weekend conference based around speakers and workshops in Manchester town hall. We expect between eighty and one hundred and fifty delegates from across the globe.

Workshops and speakers would discuss such topics as the medical effects of DU, the use of DU in Iraq and in the Balkans, as well as planning for future campaigns and events.

The conference will be linked to the UN year for a culture of peace.

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Videos Available

We have a number of videos on DU available on loan by groups or individuals. These include copies of 'Metal of Dishonour', 'Let Iraqi Children Live', by Desert Concerns, copies of the documentaries shown on the Tonight (with Trevor McDonald) programme, and soon the 60 minutes documentary (from the US), a film made by independent journalists, and a film made by a Japanese group. The loan is free or donation - just send us the postage costs. Contact the CADU office.

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What is CADU

The Campaign Against Depleted Uranium is a small volunteer run group, based in Manchester which was set up in January 1999 to campaign for a ban on depleted uranium weapons. We are linked to both a European Network Against Depleted Uranium, and a global network opposed to DU. We produce a briefing pack (3.50 inc. p&p), leaflets, and other resources. Groups and individuals can affiliate to CADU (see enclosed sheet), and become part of this world-wide pressure to stop DU.

CADU's aims are:
o to fight for a global ban on the manufacture, export, and use of depleted uranium weapons
o to fight for recognition by the MoD that these weapons are connected with illnesses among Gulf War veterans and civilians in Iraq and elsewhere
o to put pressure on governments who use DU to take responsibility for environmental de-contamination or areas where it has been used.

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Current UK government position on DU

In a letter dated 21.12.99, to one of CADU's supporters, MP Peter Hain, of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office stated:-

"The use of depleted uranium is not prohibited under international humanitarian law. Depleted uranium ammunition is in service because of its unique ability to penetrate modern battle tank armour. It is not a nuclear weapon as it relies wholly on kinetic energy, like any projectile, not a nuclear reaction. Suggestions that exposure to depleted uranium ammunition causes health problems are not backed by scientific evidence. The Government would nonetheless, consider carefully any evidence which may emerge concerning incidence of ill health in Iraq. UK forces did not use depleted uranium during the conflict with Yugoslavia this year."

We've included this because it shows how deaf the government are being to the mounting clamour against depleted uranium. Their position, to the last word, has not changed - obviously coming from on high. Further, the fact that UK forces did not use DU may be true, but NATO forces did, and the UK is a part of NATO, and has to bear some responsibility for actions of NATO during conflicts.

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Page last updated: 6th December 2002