Depleted Uranium Ammunition

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by omega666, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. omega666
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    omega666 Rookie

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    In war, the advantages of Depleted Uranium munitions help the United States stomp other countries into the ground.

    The United States and its NATO allies maintain that Depleted Uranium dust (a by-product) doesn't cause cancer and birth defects, however, 136 countries are citing other research saying that it does.

    Which side do you think is right?


    Here is the wikipedia entry:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depleted_uranium
     
  2. Douger
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    Douger BANNED

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    Who is the question directed towards ?
     

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  3. pinqy
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    pinqy Gold Member

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    From personal experience I was exposed to a great deal of depleted uranium dust (Kuwait, July 11, 1991), and neither I nor any of the hundreds of others there seem to have sufffered any issues due to the exposure.
     
  4. Anachronism
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    Anachronism BANNED

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    It's called WAR for a reason. The concept is to kill people and break things.
     
  5. Douger
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    That answers that. I hear it's a great flavor enhancer for scrambled eggs too. You should market it !
    Meatheads Middle East Egg Enhancer.
     
  6. Si modo
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    Si modo Diamond Member

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    Depleted uranium is greater than 99(and some odd change)% U-238. So, it is almost all U-238, by definition. The depleted term implies that the composition of fissile isotopes of U is less than those values in what one finds in natural U.

    U-238, while not fissile, is radioactive. But, it's radiation is almost always in the form of alpha particles. Alpha particles are absorbed (blocked) by a sheet of notebook paper. They are even blocked by the air and become completely absorbed by air after traveling approximately 1 cm through air.

    Thus, as long as one does not sprinkle U-238 on their breakfast bagel or inhale it, the depleted U will not harm a human because the radiation is absorbed by other substances before it reaches us.

    However, depleted U shells, after impact with a dense object (tank, for instance), will leave some residual dust. The shells tend to combust upon impact, too, thus producing oxides of U-238. But, as few combustions are complete, there will still be elemental U-238. However, that elemental U will easily oxidize in ambient condition. Thus, the assumption that all the dust from the shell are oxides of U-238 is a reasonable one.

    With respect to the dust, no one really should be inhaling that. If it just sits there, it's not going to harm anyone much at all. Air absorbs its radiation. Just walking through it is a benign act because its alpha radiation will be easily blocked by one's clothing. But, it IS dust and it is a dust composed of oxides of U-238. It is quite dense and will be much more difficultly airborne than other dust particles. If one is to be in a situation where there is risk of inhalation of that dust, a simple filtering mask (available in a hardware store) is more than enough to prevent inhalation. Preventing he dust's direct contact with one's skin is also prudent. It is better to have the alpha radiation absorbed by clothing than it is to have it absorbed by a layer of skin. It won't kill anyone, but of course there will be some damage to tissue (similar to having an x-ray).

    Also along that note of inhalation: Other options to using depleted U in shells include non-radioactive heavy metals. They may not be radioactive, but they are highly toxic, often more toxic than depleted U. So, it is prudent for one to avoid any dust where an artillery shell has recently exploded.

    The environmental issue. As the oxides of depleted U have a very low solubility in water, there is little chance that they will be washed into a water supply and/or water table through dissolution in rain or other water washing mechanisms. The dust of the U-238 oxides will be present in the soil and folks should be aware of that so that they can take proper measures.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  7. blastoff
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    blastoff Undocumented Reg. User

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    Took the words right out of my mouth, Si.
     
  8. Toronado3800
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    Toronado3800 VIP Member

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    So the basics are it is not good for you but is not disasterous unless you are in a field an A-10 just sprinkled with that beautiful cannon.

    And you do not want to march through that field if you can avoid it?

    I try to relate cancer risks to going to the beech.

    Would you say hiking through that field is like living on the beech in Miami for a month?
     
  9. Si modo
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    Si modo Diamond Member

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    Were you naked in that field? If so, yes, you have some tissue damage.

    If you are barefoot and naked and hiking through that field, you have some tissue damage. If you were clothed while doing that, you are fine. If you kicked up some dust while doing that hiking and inhaled it, the probability that most of that dust will be dust particles less dense than uranium oxides is high. However, you probably did inhale a few dust particles of depleted U. That will damage the tissue around the orifice in which the dust entered your body (nose and/or mouth), but by the time the oxides' alpha particles pass through 1 cm of air and/or a single layer of tissue cells, the radiation is no longer an issue. You will have surface tissue damage, though. That cannot be helped.

    As soon as you washed and removed the dust, that damage will cease. If some of those particles did settle farther into your respiratory tract, your body will expel it after time. Until your body does, you will have surface tissue damage.

    We all get that sort of damage every day with our exposure to sunlight and other substances that will cause mutations to our cells' genetic material.

    While it would be imprudent not to respect depleted U, it would also be imprudent to be overly fearful of it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  10. Toronado3800
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    Makes sense. Soo many things like x-rays and MRI's arent good for you but are necessary.

    Now I will not be buying depleted uranium sheeting for my house until Obama does but it makes sense to use to kill tanks.
     

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