Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Depleated Uranium problem?

  1. Mar 15, 2005 #1
    http://www.barremore.net/depleted-uranium-kills.html [Broken]
    i would like to know the legitimacy behind these claims if anyone can confirm

    im honestly a bit scared

    Adam
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2005 #2
    I can not be sure but those pictures at the end look fake. Meaning that those pictures probably have nothing to do with Depleted Uranium. Yes the American military used Depleted Uranium, because it makes a great bullet or tank shell. I think lead is another option, but it does not work as well and there is also lead poising.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2005
  4. Mar 15, 2005 #3
    yeas i think the end pictures are fake, especially seeing as they have not much to do with the symptoms described.

    that was what scared me, thanks lol

    Adam
     
  5. Mar 15, 2005 #4

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I stopped reading after "nuclear war". DU bullets are just good bullets. They are not nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons go boom because of a nuclear reaction.
     
  6. Mar 15, 2005 #5

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    "Mega billion" really turned me off. Unless of coures our war is in actuality costing us over 1,000,000,000,000,000 dollars or roughly 100 times our annual GDP. And i cant seem to find any professional information on that woman.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2005
  7. Mar 16, 2005 #6

    SK

    User Avatar

    DU is used because it has high density, is cheap ( it´s basically waste you can use ) and it´s capable of adiabatic shear when penetrating, that means the KE rod "sharpens" itself during penetration. That is opposed to Tungsten, which doesn´t have this property. Also, DU is pyrophoric, which means it may disintegrate into combusting dusk inside the target.
    DU is an alpha emitter, so radiation isn´t that much of a problem normally. It gets problematic when people inhale DU dust though as then the DU resides directly in the lungs and can cause cancer etc. .
    But even non-radioactive heavy metal is highly toxic ( at least most of them AFAIK ), so that alone may suffice to make people ill.
     
  8. Mar 16, 2005 #7

    Astronuc

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Uh, NO!

    Depeleted U (0.25% U-235) is the remnant of the enrichment process. Yes it is a by-product, but it is NOT 'nuclear' waste. Depleted U is used in armour piercing shells and also highly effective armour (e.g. M1A1 and M1A2 tanks). DU is also used as counter-weights (tail section) in some large commercial aircraft.

    Natural U had about 0.71% (by weight) U-235, the balance being U-238. U-235 is fissile in a thermal spectrum, U-238 basically captures neutrons becoming U-239, which then decays to Np-239 and subsequently Pu-239. That process takes months or years.

    I and others have worked with tons of "enriched" U, and we did not need special shielding.

    SK is correct however. Uranium is a heavy metal and is pyrophoric. It does burn in air. When a U-projectile hits a target or the ground and is volatized, it disperses U-oxides in the form of dust and small particles. This is potentially as hazardous as dispersed lead or any other heavy metal.

    So Iraqis and US forces 'may' be at risk in the long term. However, this will take years of follow-up epidemiological study, and this will be complicated by the existence of other factors such as diet/malnutrition, other chemicals, unhealthy activities like smoking, and normal disease.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2005
  9. Mar 16, 2005 #8
    The above site in the first post is a nice example the political Left lying, as usual.
     
  10. Mar 16, 2005 #9

    Integral

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The last post promted me to move this thread to Political and world affairs, perhaps shoudl be skeptisim and debunking.

    Sure is good that the right is never wrong. :yuck:
     
  11. Mar 16, 2005 #10

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    How dare you think the right is ever wrong. *turns on mind-warping spinning wheel thing*. Soon you shall vote for Bush even though hes not on the ballot in 2008! muhahaha
     
  12. Mar 16, 2005 #11
    I stopped reading the article. Little bit much for me right now :sadface:. How much validity is there to these claims? How much of the information is true and not exaggerated?
     
  13. Mar 16, 2005 #12

    SK

    User Avatar

    It´s way exaggerated to say the least. There weren´t "millions of DU tank rounds" fired in iraq. Actually, use of DU rounds by US tanks was rather scarce, for there weren´t many targets (if any) that required using this ammo.
    Nowadays the US soldier face only "soft targets" (that is, people in military speech), against whose DU ammunition is not effective.
    Oh well, and the claims that real nuclear weapons have been used in AFG tell enough about the credibility of that article.
    The article is way overdoing it, but there are issues with DU ammo. I guess some googling is good for an overview.

    /edit:
    This links seems to be pretty reasonable and covers some misconceptions and exaggerations (like "all bombs use DU"):
    http://www.afsc.org/pwork/0411/041110.htm [Broken]
    Army investigation into the issue:
    http://www.deploymentlink.osd.mil/du_library/
    Some more Links:
    http://www.nrpb.org/faq/du/du16.htm
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  14. Mar 16, 2005 #13

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Its not that the right is never wrong, its just different types of conspiracy theories come from different places: if its religous, its probably on the right. If its displaced hippies, its probably on the left.
     
  15. Mar 17, 2005 #14
    I guess that kinda easies my mind a little SK.
     
  16. Mar 17, 2005 #15
    I'm pretty sure SK is wrong though, from what I understand the M1 Abrams tanks use DU-tipped rounds exclusively. Also, the claim that "DU ammunition is not effective" against "soft targets" comes off as downright absurd to me; I can't think of any reason DU would be less effective the conventional muntions.
     
  17. Mar 17, 2005 #16
    I've never seen a more left leaning article in my life. This looks like nothing more than an opinion disguised (loosely) as a bunch of hard to coroberate misquoted "facts". It's an Op Ed piece! I'd have to say off the top of my head that there are other things that are more likely contributing to the health problems of our soldiers and civilians (and those pictures) than DU. IMHO it's a rather badly written article. To call it news or reporting is stretching those two definitions to their limit. :yuck:
     
  18. Mar 17, 2005 #17

    SK

    User Avatar

    re kyleb:
    Nope, you´re wrong. the Abrams tank uses the M829 series of APFSDS projectiles, that´s Armor Piercing Fin stabilised Discarding Sabot. The projectile itself is a dart made of a "DU rod" with fins and an aerodynamic cap attached. While the tank´s gun has a diameter of 120mm the dart is much smaller, about 20-40 mm in diameter (depending on model). This means it has to be hold in the barrel by sabot petals, which fall off after the projectile leaves the muzzle.
    You can see this here:
    apfsds.jpg
    All APFSDS rounds look like this:
    m900.jpg

    But as I said, this is just one ammo type. The problem with using it against "soft targets" is that you have to hit those directly, as the round completely relies on kinetic energy for destruction. The round might even pass through soft skin vehicles without causing much destruction as it relies on sending chunks of the target´s armor around in the inside as shrapnell to a certain extend. Also, the round has to meet resistance to develop the pyrophoric effect mentioned above.
    For this reason a second round is used, the M830 HEAT round. It uses a shaped charge which isn´t reliant on kinetic energy but is a chemical energy round which is triggered by an impact fuze. This round is more effective against light armored vehicles and troops, even though it doesn´t have the punch of a real HE-FRAG(mentation) round.
    For this reason again the M830A1 MPAT round was developed. It uses a saboted shell which features a shaped charge and a shrapnel mantlet around it, therefore increasing effectivness and generating a fragmentation pattern. This is the round that should be most common in iraq by now.

    As you see it doesn´t make sense to use DU at all in the current situation. DU ammo only makes sense if you face Armored Fighting Vehicles, which is not the case in iraq.

    Links:
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/m829a1.htm
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/m830a1.htm
     
  19. Mar 19, 2005 #18
    am i right in the thinking that misinformation is the cause of conspiricy theorys? and that stuburness is the keeper of these theorys?
    you cant blame people for starting these theorys as it is based on misinformation, stuburness however is the real problem

    Adam the Chess
     
  20. Mar 19, 2005 #19
    Ok, so now that everyone has said something in this thread, let separate out the facts please.

    Is this a real issue? Are these DU rounds really being used in Iraq? Is there ANY reason for me to worry about my boyfriend, who is going to be shipping out to Iraq in the next few months? What is the REAL story on this stuff?
     
  21. Mar 20, 2005 #20

    SK

    User Avatar

    Like I said, DU isn´t used in any significant quantities these days (if at all).
    Ammo exists for the following weapon systems in theatre:
    -Abrams MBT: M829 series of APFSDS ammunition (explained above).
    -Bradley IFV: M919 series of 25mm APFSDS ammunition for the M242 Bushmaster gun.
    -A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft, PGU-14 30mm API ammunition for the GAU-8 gun.
    -AV-8B Harrier aircraft used by the marines. Pgu-20 25mm API ammunition.

    Strafing runs by aircraft are extremely unlikely in iraq these days, so you can rule this out. The usage of DU ammo by armored fighting vehicles also is unlikely as it only makes sense to use against armored vehicles which the opposition doesn´t have right now. To minimize the remaining risk your boyfriend might should refrain from climbing on shot up vehicles from earlier in the war.
    My advice is that he should look up as much info from people that were there as possible, IEDs and insurgents is what pose the real threat as opposed to DU. A good site would be http://lightfighter.net [Broken] ,there you can find lots of tips on equipment, tactics and stuff.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  22. Mar 20, 2005 #21

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I would say, quite simply, that this is not a real issue. While it is true that they are more unhealthy to be around than lead bullets after being fired, the danger is insignificant compared to the other dangers of warfare.

    DU is also used in the 20mm anti-air guns on navy ships. I've handled the rounds (as said, they are jacketed) and been topside when the rounds were fired at towed targets 100 feet above the ship, and was not and am not concerned.
     
  23. Mar 20, 2005 #22
    One problem with any use of this, is that it becomes a product. Now they are re-opening Uranium mines in Utah, because of the demand, some demand, somewhere for Uranium, in general. Though several people here say there is no danger, other people who are very reputable write of dangers.lt has been reported that what was supposed to be DU was dirty, and had plutonium left overs in it. There are a lot of various reports of birth defects supposedly from that this is from Gulf War Vets. The sides on this issue are in great opposition. I consider that the opinion of the WHO is bought and paid for, and reports of its safety are likely bought and paid for, after all, what a reversal, low level nuclear waste thrown all over Iraq, instead of sent to nuclear waste dumps, for a hight cost solution. Cost is now pure profit. Proliferation, is proliferation low level or not.

    Here is a link to one of the sites, I just visited.

    http://www.sptimes.com/News/060500/Worldandnation/Medical_mysteries.shtml [Broken]

    Basra, is having a waking nightmare.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  24. Mar 20, 2005 #23

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    But that's just it: there isn't any debate going on in any scientific community. Its all just "various reports" from news organizations looking for a scare-story to sell newspapers and environmentalist groups looking for pictures of birth defects to post on websites. And any study that doesn't paint the right picture is dismissed with the wave of the hand in a conspiracy theory.
     
  25. Mar 28, 2005 #24
    Amy Worthington

    Amy Worthington is a great Writer and as through researcher.

    I am Bob Nichols. I write about these subjects. What we are actually talking about is a purely genocidal weapon that only exists on an American battlefields. It is nanometer length particles of ceramic uranium oxide gas and dust.

    Listen to the world's best experts on a Worldwide Radio program. It is on:
    http://www.xzone-radio.com/archives.htm
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2005
  26. Mar 28, 2005 #25
    http://www.xzone-radio.com/archives.htm
    The world's experts on Uranium Weapons.

    *So-called "Depleted uranium" results from a step in the process
    of creating enriched uranium for nuclear power plant reactor cores
    and thermonuclear bombs, commonly called Hydrogen Bombs and
    Neutron Bombs.

    The special killer uranium used in bombs and reactor cores at nuclear
    power plants is about .711 of one percent of natural uranium, a tiny
    amount. Like iodine in salt, except it kills everything.

    Processing natural uranium removes about half of the bomb making
    material. It is then called "depleted uranium" by the powers that be,
    because it can no longer be used to make H-Bombs; but, it is used
    to make uranium bullets, shells, and bombs instead.

    The so-called "depleted uranium" is fully 88% as radioactive in total
    radiation as the original uranium. There are an estimated 1.5 billion
    pounds of "depleted uranium" at U.S. Nuclear Weapons Labs and
    related facilities (H-bomb factories) in the US.

    The word depleted does not mean the uranium is safe or OK to use,
    it means it has been processed, that's all.

    Perhaps a less deceptive name would be "12% depleted uranium;"
    but, the term "Uranium Munitions" better describes what we are
    currently using widely and continuously in Iraq, Afghanistan and
    in other war zones and have been for about 15 years.
    [End]
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook