Is Depleted Uranium Actually Dangerous or Just Fear Mongering?

  • News
  • Thread starter stoned
  • Start date
  • Tags
    Uranium
In summary, the article is full of fear-mongering and has little to no factual basis. It claims that depleted uranium is like lead and is dangerous, but the report found that the hazards are minimal. Additionally, the article quotes an undergraduate student's engineering homework as if it is a credible source, and makes bold statements about health risks that have no supporting evidence.
  • #1
stoned
83
0
interesting piece about depleted uranium;
http://www.iconoclast-texas.com/News//19news02.htm
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Depleted uranium is less radioactive than common dirt. The article is nothing more than fear-mongering crap. C'mon, it quotes an undergraduate student's research paper written for a lower-division geology class as if it's a credible primary source. It also makes very bold statements, such as "ludicrously high leukemia rates" in connection with DU, that have absolutely no supporting evidence.

Sure, DU is a heavy metal, and, like lead, I don't prefer that it wind up in groundwater, but DU is much, much, MUCH less a threat than the media would like you to believe.

- Warren
 
  • #3
You saying that DU is like a lead then propably DU is quite dangerous esspecially to kids.
 
  • #4
Oh goodie, more DU fearmongering. I love DU fearmongering. Its very entertaining.
stoned said:
You saying that DU is like a lead then propably DU is quite dangerous esspecially to kids.
Uh, yeah, but we aren't going to be making pipes or silverware out of it...
 
  • #5
I thought depleted uranium is lead. Isn't that what it degrades to?
 
  • #6
Undergrad research paper for lower-division classes? You mean like a HOMEWORK assignment?
 
  • #7
Pengwuino said:
Undergrad research paper for lower-division classes? You mean like a HOMEWORK assignment?

You should take a look at it. The girl put together a very long paper. What I wonder is how a newspaper journalist managed to even find some Santa Clara University student's engineering homework.
 
  • #8
Maybe the student sent the journalist the homework paper and... i dunno... ignorance begot ignorance?
 
  • #9
loseyourname said:
I thought depleted uranium is lead. Isn't that what it degrades to?
Lead is the eventual product of radioactive decay. Depleted uranium is still uranium (U-238?). It has an extremely long half life, which means it is only slightly radioactive and therefore not a radiological threat.
 
  • #10
What did the article mean when it said "Depleted Uranium only becomes more radioactive as time passes"
 
  • #11
"and increases in radioactivity as it decays"

The author was probably intending to say that as it decays it gives off radiation, the longer the time has passes, the more radiation it has given off.
 
  • #12
The immediate products of U-238 decay are, in fact, more radioactive than U-238 itself, but they are short-lived.

- Warren
 
  • #13
There has been a study done on the effects of DU ammunition. The UNEP report concluded in 2001 and found that the hazards are minimal. The most significant hazard seems to be that someone will pick up a round and keep it in close proximity of their person for an extended period of time. Having spent some time on a naval carrier DU rounds were used for the 'seawhiz' automated defense system, and we were always warned not to touch the orange traingular sabots. Someone in Kosovo might not know if a round is radioactive or not. That is the only significant radioactive risk stated in the report.

There are many other sites that disagree and some claim that the tables in the UNEP report are being interpreted incorrectly, and the radioactive risks are being downplayed. Cases of cancer and leukemia are reported in soldiers and citizens that were in areas where DU rounds were used.

Here is more than you will probably want to read about DU ammunition.
http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Features/DU/finalreport.pdf

edit- And here is a site that attempts to debunk the UNEP report
http://www.llrc.org/du/subtopic/uneprept.htm
and the BBC news story for any interested.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/europe/2001/depleted_uranium/default.stm
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #14
russ_watters said:
Oh goodie, more DU fearmongering. I love DU fearmongering. Its very entertaining. Uh, yeah, but we aren't going to be making pipes or silverware out of it...

Ha ha ha ! very funny. :wink:
When US military was spraying thousands of hectares of Vietnam with Agent Orange which contained Dioxines they also reasured soldies and later civilian population that there is absolutelly no health side effects( birth deformations,miscariages and so on)
 
Last edited:
  • #15
Well ill be the first to say bring up facts showing DU is a serious health hazard and then you can be taken seriously instead of just going "ha, the US is always wrong because they lie so they must be wrong about this too"
 
  • #17
Well ill save all the formalities and such and get to where id probably end up going with "Why would you believe hte Army if the people who cry about DU say the government is a bunch of liars and they shouldn't be trusted".
 
  • #18
quoting from the link:

the U.S. military is utilizing weapons to launch these nuclear DU projectiles in Iraq.

All things have atomic nuclei. That doesn't mean that all things tossed are nuclear projectiles. The article was written in order to confuse people, not inform them.
 
  • #19
chroot said:
The immediate products of U-238 decay are, in fact, more radioactive than U-238 itself, but they are short-lived.

- Warren

Here's the decay chain for 238U:

238U -> 234Th -> 234Pa -> 234U -> 230Th -> 226Ra -> 222Rn -> 218Po -> 214Pb -> 214Bi -> 214Po -> 210Pb -> 210Bi -> 206Tl -> 206Pb (stable)

The 214Po is far, far more radioactive than the 238U with a half-life of a couple milliseconds; however, since an atom of 238U has to decay in order to produce an atom of 214Po, it's radioactivity is limited. 238U has a half-life of 4.5 Billion years. Since T1/2 of 238U is much, much greater than T1/2 of any of it's decay products, the amount of any daughter nuclide should be in equillibrium. In short, DU does *not* get more radioactive over time. I just wanted to make that point a little bit clearer.

The interesting thing about the DU 'debate' is that most of the people who have done scientific studies on the DU will say 'it's not particularly dangerous, but there are so many factors involved, we can't be 100% sure' while the anti-DU activists always seem to have absolute certainty about their data.
 
  • #20
So what's the pattern here? One DU thread gets swept away along with the facts located therein only to be replaced by another "run and hide DU is com'n" thread. Argh! The last DU thread needs to be restored and stickied for all of the fearmongers to read through. Their 'facts' have been debunked before---I like the new tactic of using college papers as proof though---to exhaustion.

Anywho, I have two words for DU scardie-cats: Self shielding.
 

Related to Is Depleted Uranium Actually Dangerous or Just Fear Mongering?

1. What is depleted uranium and why is it feared?

Depleted uranium is a byproduct of the process of enriching natural uranium for use in nuclear reactors or weapons. It is feared because it is radioactive and can potentially harm human health and the environment if not handled properly.

2. How is depleted uranium used?

Depleted uranium has several military and civilian uses, including as armor-piercing ammunition, counterweights in airplanes and boats, and shielding in medical radiation treatments.

3. Is depleted uranium more dangerous than natural uranium?

No, depleted uranium is less radioactive than natural uranium because most of the highly radioactive isotopes have been removed during the enrichment process. However, it can still pose a health risk if not handled properly.

4. What are the health risks associated with depleted uranium?

The main health risk from depleted uranium is exposure to its radioactive particles, which can damage cells and increase the risk of cancer. However, the level of risk depends on the amount and duration of exposure.

5. How can the risks of depleted uranium be mitigated?

The risks of depleted uranium can be mitigated by following proper safety protocols when handling and disposing of it, and by limiting exposure to its radioactive particles through measures such as wearing protective gear and monitoring air and water quality in areas where it is used.

Similar threads

  • Nuclear Engineering
2
Replies
45
Views
6K
  • General Discussion
Replies
15
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • Biology and Medical
2
Replies
35
Views
4K
Replies
6
Views
3K
  • Materials and Chemical Engineering
Replies
2
Views
7K
  • General Discussion
Replies
15
Views
4K
  • General Discussion
4
Replies
132
Views
17K
  • General Discussion
15
Replies
490
Views
36K
Replies
7
Views
9K
Back
Top