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Weapon of Mass Deception; Depleted Uranium

  1. Jun 30, 2003 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Not a political statement on my part; for the moment, just FYI.
    Like always, I will have an opinion soon enough.

    http://alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=16272
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2003
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  3. Jul 1, 2003 #2

    russ_watters

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    It should be noted that the primary negative effect of DU is heavy metal poisoning - the same heavy metal poisoning you get from many other heavy metals including lead. DU is worse than most because it oxidizes better than most. However, most of the articles on the subject (this one included) make the misleading statement that DU is radioactive. With a half-life of 4.5 billion years (its called "depleted" because it is minimally radioactive), the radiation hazard is extremely low.

    If you get shot, what are you going to be more concerned with, lead poisoning or the gaping hole in your chest?

    War is inherrently unhealthy. Get over it.
     
  4. Jul 1, 2003 #3
    How accurately have they measured DU's radioactivity? Of course radioactive atoms decay into lighter atoms as e-kt, but that is a general trend, and the decay may be differential in unique parts of the material, if the density & composition is not homogeneous.
     
  5. Jul 1, 2003 #4
    Hmmmm...is this 'compassionate conservatism'?
     
  6. Jul 1, 2003 #5

    russ_watters

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    Since atoms are small, any relatively pure sample of U238 will have a very exact radiation rate.
    No Zero, thats simply called REALITY.
     
  7. Jul 1, 2003 #6

    FZ+

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    Great. If the people of Iraq know that, I am sure they would be a lot happier.

    Hmm... I would have thought that DU is inherently impure. Being depleted, it would naturally be a mixture of the U238 and it's decay products. And if vaporised/oxidised, the particles of U238 from the mixture would have the safe toxicity as undepeleted uranium, only in dilution of course.

    Obviously, more research needs to be carried out, particularly in the field in real situations.
     
  8. Jul 1, 2003 #7

    russ_watters

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    With a half life of 4.5 billion years, the purity of U238 would be extrordinarily high - ie, a shell that was 99.9% U238 10 years ago would be 99.8999999998% pure today. And no, oxidized U238 is oxidized U238 - not oxidized U235. "Depleted" means almost no U235. And besides, the decay products being that they are decay products are both less radioactive and less toxic.

    C'mon guys, I KNOW you aren't this naive. You only need to go so far as the cabinet under your kitchen sink to find half a dozen highly toxic substances. Amonia, bleach (don't use those two at the same time), paint, paint thinner, glue, Raid, etc. Have you guys even READ the warning label on any of these products? War is unhealthy. Duh. But so is cleaning your kitchen.

    People are far too squeamish about the tiniest risks. People latch onto DU for its shock value, not its actual risks and certainly not the compared risks between it and other causes of injury/illness/death. I liken it to airplanes. A great many people are terrified of airplanes and cite plane crashes as evidence of how dangerous they are, not realizing that they are by far the safest way to travel. Nevermind that, a plane crash has shock value so people cling to it. My aunt and uncle used to drive to the airport together then take separate planes on the same trip to reduce the risk of both dying (for the sake of the kids). Idiotic.

    SARS is another great example. Its gotten so much press and its killed what, 200 people worldwide? Please. Wake me up when it kills 20,000 in the US alone like the FLU does EVERY YEAR.

    And one more: I just bought a 300w halogen torcier floor lamp. These things are wonderful. They produce good light and are efficient (despite the erroneous assertions of the hippies). But they are hot so they occasionally start fires when idiots use them to dry their socks (seriously, thats how they typically start fires - in college dorm rooms). As a result they are extrordinarily difficult to buy anymore. And do you know how many deaths are blamed on them in the past 20 years or so? 23. There are 40 million of these things around and they have been all but recalled over 23 deaths. Damn, if only your odds were that GOOD driving to work every day.

    Friggin' hippies, mumble, mumble...
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2003
  9. Jul 2, 2003 #8
    Hmmmm....DU is bad, and we don't trust the government to tell the truth about it. Saying 'screw the potential civilian casualties, because war is hell' is a dangerous attitude, IMO. I suggest, however, that someone hunt down a medical source showing the dangers before we get too much further(I'm looking too).
     
  10. Jul 2, 2003 #9
    I sort of agree with Russ, about this if a war is to happen then casualties are always gonna happen the only way to avoid casualties is to not go to war, so when russ says war is unhealthy he is rite is harder for some than it is for others.
     
  11. Jul 2, 2003 #10
    I think that major problem of DU is the fact of its extraction from "yellow cake", which is extremely toxic (contains hexafluor acid). Separated material is probably contaminated by the toxicity. I also worry that part of military DU is separated from nuclear spent fuel to reduce its volume (extremely expensive to disposal). Only my nightmare? All is under DOE...
     
  12. Jul 2, 2003 #11
    Nope, I can't agree with either of you. Not when we are talking about doing environmental damage that lingers after teh fighting syops, just to save some cash.
     
  13. Jul 2, 2003 #12
    This was the post that i was refering to when i said that i agreed, but i also agree with you zero if you know what i mean, i dont like war and it should be avoided at all costs, but sometimes there is no other option even though in this last war there most probably was another option but once the US and UK governements had decided to go in nobody was ever going to stop them not the french germans or any amount of protesters, and once a war had started casualties had to be expected, war is unhealthy so try to get over it as hard as that is for all of the people that have been affected by the war.
     
  14. Jul 2, 2003 #13
    There is a difference between saying 'we can't avoid all casualties when dropping bombs', and saying 'we are going to pollute your country, and if you don't like it, then tough'
     
  15. Jul 2, 2003 #14
    But can u say that the allied forces have polluted the country anymore than what the old regime had done.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2003
  16. Jul 2, 2003 #15
    That is irrelevant. If someone else stabs you, does it make it ok if I just punch you repeatedly?
     
  17. Jul 2, 2003 #16
    Good example, but i would rather be punched loadsa times for a relatively short period of time than get stabbed and then slowly have my insides ripped out.
     
  18. Jul 2, 2003 #17
    Really? You would prefer your teeth knocked out, internal organs ruptured, and ribs broken? Good for you, but it still doesn't me you would dismiss the beating as no big deal. If you woke up in teh hospital, and someone said, "at least you aren't dead, get over it", it would be small consolation, huh?
     
  19. Jul 2, 2003 #18

    FZ+

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    Hear that whoosh noise as you miss the point by a million miles?
    The point is that saying war is inherently unhealthy, while being correct is of scant consolation to those who are attacked without any real choice in the matter, or who will eventually suffer the consequences. Asking the victims of wars to "get over it" is rather insensitive is it not? It is easy for us, here to get over the war - all we need to do is to close our eyes. But consideration and emphasis must be put to those who have been directly affected.
    Hence the sarcasm towards "compassionate conservatism".
     
  20. Jul 2, 2003 #19
    Umm i can see that we're not gonna change each others mind about this but i know im rite, which is good enough for me.
     
  21. Jul 3, 2003 #20

    russ_watters

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    No, I didn't miss it at all. We're just looking at it from different angles. You're looking at the 2,000 worst case civilian deaths (caused by all sides) and I'm looking at the millions of lives saved by removing Saddam from power. Though its mostly a concept for the military, I would venture to say that the majority of those 2,000 would be honored to say they gave their lives for the freedom of their country.

    I'm also looking from a perspective of realism vs idealism. Ideally, war wouldn't be necessary. In reality it sometimes is. Ideally, war would not harm any civilians. In reality it is impossible to completely avoid civilian casualties.

    And I must point out again that the US miltiary currently goes far beyond what is required and beyond any other country in the world to avoid civilian casualties. We go so far as to put both the mission and the lives of the soldiers below the lives of the civilians. Many Americans have died because of our protection of the Iraqi people.

    Also, as a former member of the military, I am quite in touch with the concept of death on a personal level. I don't mean to sound arrogant, but I think those in the miltiary have a far more realistic view of the personal and general implications of death. To those who haven't been in the military, the idea of sacraficing a single person (such as yourself or the soldier standing next to you) is LESS personal than for those who have been in the military.
     
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