Nov 2011: Depleted Uranium – Kirkcubright – Cancer and Birth Defects
A summary of early government papers covering the period 1973 to 1977 was released by The National Archive. The exchanges showed there was knowledge about potential persistent contamination from Depleted Uranium dust. But what also emerged was the manoeuvring by the Westminster government and MOD to keep the firings secret from the Scots and the contempt with which the public was held.
Full Article here: http://theseacannotbedepleted.net/article/penetroy/
2013: MoD Dodge Ban and Dump Depleted Uranium Shells Into Scottish Waters
The MoD used a legal loophole to fire thousands of depleted uranium shells into Scottish waters. Military bosses dodged an international ban by saying the 30 tons of radioactive waste had been “placed” not “dumped” off the beach in Kirkcudbrightshire. Outraged campaigners called on them to retrieve the toxic waste.
A spokesperson for the “Campaign Against Depleted Uranium”, said: “The Scottish public will struggle to understand how the MoD thought they could evade their legal and moral responsibility not to pollute the sea by calling this a ‘placement’. Whatever they name their firing programme, the fact remains they have purposefully released nuclear waste into the Solway Firth.”
The toxic rounds end up in the water when tanks at a military range at Dundrennan fire shells at canvas targets on the cliffs.
Minutes of secret MoD meetings released after a Freedom of Information request show an official raised concerns in 2004 that the practice could breach the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic.
He was told the MoD’s interpretation was that “the projectiles were placements not dumping”. The convention states dumping doesn’t include “placement of matter for a purpose other than the mere disposal thereof”.
Depleted uranium is linked to increases in cancers and birth defects in Serbia, Iraq and Syria. The MoD fired more than 6700 of the toxic shells into the Solway Firth over the last 30 years.
2014: Scottish Independence and The UK’s Depleted Uranium Weapons
In the late 70s, the UK MoD was busy massaging ministerial approval for its plans for a controversial DU firing range in South West Scotland. The site, near Dundrennan in Dumfries and Galloway, had been selected after other areas that could have provided open range firing were deemed politically unacceptable.
The Scottish Office was nervous. In a strongly worded memorandum a civil servant, who had been busy trying to mitigate public opposition to a nuclear power station in the area noted that: “The allegation that Scotland has been made a “nuclear dustbin” is receiving a good deal of publicity in the press”. The plans went ahead regardless.
From Dundrennan to Dalgety Bay (where former Prime Minister and No campaigner Gordon Brown had been campaigning for a clean-up), the MoD’s actions over the years have only helped reinforce the nuclear dustbin claim.
The Dundrennan range is one of two main UK DU ranges. Both are situated on the shores of the Solway Firth, which separates Dumfries and Galloway from the English Lake District and Cumbria.
On the English side, Eskmeals was used for testing the penetration of DU rounds. Poor management of the fumes created by firing resulted in DU particles being found six kilometres away in the village of Milom.
Across the Solway, Dundrennan has been used for assessing the accuracy and range of the UK’s 120mm DU tank rounds.
Since 1982, more than 6000 rounds have been fired from the cliffs into the Solway, equating to 31 tonnes of DU.
Following developmental testing, the UK’s CHARM3 tank rounds require additional testing every five years; this is to guarantee that the explosive propellant functions as intended. This has ensured a regular cycle of firing and local and national opposition.
The UK Campaign Against Depleted Uranium CADU) has been a leading voice against the tests. Indeed the only thing to disrupt this cyclical process has been the Scottish independence referendum.
Last year, in what can only be described as a U-turn, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, advised the MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, that the MoD would not fire DU as part of the current Life Extension Programme. This unprecedented decision flew in the face of the historical ammunition management cycle.
The Local Scottish National Party (SNP) MSP said: “There’s no question that this is a clear U-turn on the part of the UK government. Until now they have only ever been willing to say there are no current plans to test-fire DU munitions.
The concerted efforts of the Campaign Against Depleted Uranium have obtained the clearest statement to date that there are in fact no plans to test fire DU shells at all during the current, planned life extension programme of the munitions.” Adding: “Although this is a step forward, the campaign must continue until there is a clear guarantee that there will be no more test firing of DU shells in Scotland at any point in the future.”
The MoD has said nothing that would guarantee an end to test-firing, hiding behind the phrase ‘no plans to test fire’. However, the current Scottish government took steps to claw back some control over radioactive emissions at MoD sites in Scotland.
As defence matters are retained by Westminster under the current political settlement, the Scottish government and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) had limited powers to oppose tests.
However, in March this year, and after a scandal concerning a radiation leak at the Vulcan test reactor at Dounreay, the SNP government moved to remove the Crown Exemption from MoD sites.
This gave more control to SEPA over emissions and licensing, where previously there had only been a weak memorandum of understanding over access and oversight.
In theory, this shift permitted the Scottish government a greater say over any plans for renewed testing at Dundrennan, particularly as the dumping of DU in the Solway may be a breach of the OSPAR Convention – an environmental law designed to protect the north Atlantic marine environment from toxic waste.
The SNP, which passed a conference motion supporting a ban on DU in 2011, is on record as being opposed to any further DU test firing in Scotland:
“The SNP is committed to ending the use of DU shells, and has supported local, national and international campaigns on the issue as well as raising the matter in the Westminster parliament. It seems possible that a future independent Scotland would oppose any further DU testing.
Scottish independence would also require that another question be resolved – that of liability for the environmental clean-up of sites such as Dundrennan and Dalgety Bay: a not insignificant sum of money and a process beset by the risk of setting dangerous precedents.
2016: UK Sending Nuclear Waste To The USA – A Dangerous and Unwise Move
700kg of highly enriched (weapons grade) uranium (stored at the Dounreay Storage Facility in Scotland) will be sent to the US. The decision to move the radioactive waste out of the UK was presented by David Cameron as making it harder for nuclear materials to get into the hands of terrorists, but this is utter tosh.
The UK is well capable of managing homegrown highly enriched uranium itself. And the plans contradict the principle that countries are responsible for managing their own nuclear legacy……. The enriched uranium has the potential to harm human health for tens of thousands of years into the future and raises profound ethical issues of equity between generations.
2016: Rocketing Cancer Toll in Serbia From The Use Of Depleted Uranium Weapons
The use of depleted uranium during NATO bombing of Serbia has caused long-term damage to Serbia and the Serbian people.
In Kosovska in 2011 there were 185 new cases and in the year following numbers of new cases increased to 225 and in 2013 the figure was 250.
Forecasts projected in 2002, that the use of depleted uranium during the aggression of Western military alliance against Serbia would cause an epidemic of malignant diseases, turned out to be accurate.
A medical Consultant Cardiologist employed in Serbia said: “those who used the depleted uranium had to know the consequences.
We should also remember Italy, which revealed that Italian soldiers, deployed to Kosovo, had been irradiated and that the increased number of hematological diseases contracted by them was a direct consequence of the use of depleted uranium ammunition.”
2016: Radiation Effects of Depleted Uranium Continue To Bring Disease And Death In Iraq
Desert Storm 1991
Cancers in Fallujah (pop. 300,000) catapulted from 40 cases among 100,000 people in 1991 to at least 1,600 by 2005 making it the most contaminated city in Iraq
In 2010 a International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health article reported a 38-fold increase in leukemia, a 10-fold increase in breast cancer, and infant mortality rates eight times higher than in neighboring Kuwait.
The hair of Fallujah women with deformed babies was sampled and found to contain enriched uranium.
It is little known that for the past 25 years, the United States and the UK have routinely used radioactive weapons in battle, in the form of warheads and explosives made with depleted, undepleted, or slightly enriched uranium.
The military categorizes the weapons as “conventional non-nuclear”, but they are they are highly radioactive and chemically toxic.
In Iraq, where the United States and its NATO partners waged two recent wars, toxic waste covers the country and poisons the people and NATO military personnel alike.
A former Marine Corps officer and United Nations weapons inspector, said, “The irony is we invaded Iraq in 2003 to destroy its non-existent WMD (weapons of mass destruction). To do it, we fired these new weapons, causing radioactive casualties.”
The weapons were first used in 1991 during “Desert Storm”, when the Nato forces fired guided bombs and missiles containing depleted uranium (DU), blasting through tanks and bunkers with a density, speed, and heat, never before seen.
It is estimated that between 315 and 350 tons of DU were used in the 1991 Gulf War.
A spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO) Center of Environment and Health, responding to a marked increase of babies born with grotesque birth defects, such as two heads, or missing eyes, hands, and legs, Or stomachs and brains, inside out, explained:
“When uranium weapons explode, their massive blasts produce gray or black clouds of uranium oxide dust particles. These float for miles, people breathe them, and the dust lodges in their lungs. From there, they seep into the lymph system and blood, flow throughout the body, and bind to the genes and chromosomes, causing them to mutate. First, they trigger birth defects. Within five or more years, cancer. Organs, often the kidneys, fail.
At one Basra hospital, leukemia cases in children up to age 14 doubled from 1992 to 1999. Birth defects also surged, from 37 in 1990 to 254 in 2001, according to a 2005 article in Environmental Health.
Leukemia—cancer of the blood—develops quickly. A British chemical physicist, explained: “Blood cells are the most easily damaged by radiation and duplicate rapidly. We’ve known this since Hiroshima.”
An independent weapons researcher in Britain, said the dust emitted alpha radiation 20 times more damaging than the gamma radiation from nuclear weapons. The military insisted the dust was harmless because it was not able to penetrate the skin. But they ignore the fact that is can be ingested.
Iraq Invasion 2003
Fast forward to 2003, when the United States and the UK once again invaded Iraq, launching bunker-busting guided bombs, cruise missiles, and TOW anti-tank missiles.
It also fired new thermobaric warheads, much stronger explosives with stunningly large blasts. Much of this weaponry contained some type of uranium, whether depleted, undepleted, or slightly enriched. The new Thermobaric weapons exploded at extremely high temperatures. The only material that can achieve this is uranium. Iraq has been left as a large hazardous waste site,
Fallujah is Iraq’s most contaminated city. The U.S. military attacked it twice in 2004, and in the November siege, troops fired a large number of thermobaric weapons, including a shoulder-launched missile called the SMAW-NE. (NE means “novel explosive.”) The soldiers thought it was wonderful, raving about how one round could destroy a building. Concrete bunkers were instantly incinerated and collapsed.
Burn Pits and Toxic clouds
In addition to the weapons’ lethal dust, Iraqis and NATO troops were exposed to poisonous smoke from huge open burn pits, some stretching 10 acres in size.
From 2003 to 2011, U.S. military bases burned waste in the pits around the clock—spewing toxic clouds for miles.
Two pits were located near to Fallujah. A NATO soldier said: “We dumped everything into the pits. Plastic bottles, tyres, human waste, batteries, oil, solvents, unexploded weapons, and even medical waste. The Balad Air Base pit, burned around 90,000 plastic bottles every day. When plastic burns, it gives off dioxin—the key ingredient in Agent Orange….
Health Implications of Exposure to Depleted Uranium
Human epidemiological evidence identified an increased risk of birth defects in the offspring of persons exposed to DU.
A 2001 study of 15,000 U.S. Gulf War (1991) combat veterans and 15,000 control veterans found that the Gulf War veterans were 1.8 (fathers) to 2.8 (mothers) times as likely to have children with birth defects.
After examination of children’s medical records two years later, the birth defect rate increased by more than 20%.
In early 2004, the UK Pensions Appeal Tribunal Service attributed birth defect claims from a February 1991 Gulf War combat veteran to depleted uranium poisoning.
The risk of children of UK Gulf War veterans suffering genetic diseases such as congenital malformations, commonly called “birth defects”, found that the overall risk of any malformation was 50% higher in Gulf War veterans as compared to other veterans.
2016: Southern Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia Permanently Polluted With Depleted Uranium
Iraq was the fertile crescent of antiquity, the vast area that fed the entire Middle East and Mediterranean, and introduced grains to the world.
It was Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, which propelled humanity forward with its invention of writing, domestication of animals and settled life.
Now its groundwater and soil store the radioactivity of 630 tons of depleted uranium weapons. The waste that has been thrown onto civilian targets has permanent consequences.
It pollutes southern Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with uranium oxide dust that spreads as far as 26 miles, blowing with sand, weathering into water.
Uranium 238, with a half life 4 ½ billion years, lies on the region in the scattered tons of wreckage. Contamination is permanent. Its radiological and chemical toxicity exposes the population to continuous alpha radiation that is breathed into lungs, absorbed through the skin, touched by the unwashed hands of kids who roam the scrap metal yards for parts to sell to help their families.
Our Lips Are Sealed – British Media Silent About Radiation Effects on The Iraqi People
Britain also used uranium weapons but denied there were any adverse lasting effects. So too did the WHO and the Iraq Ministry of Health, which concluded in 2012 that Iraq had fewer birth defects and cancers than developed countries.
But investigations into the conduct of the studies revealed that the Iraq Ministry of Health had surveyed households instead of hospital records. The findings were useless and a Lancet article called for a new study. Another report has not yet been completed.
But the American Public Health Association asked the US military to ban burn pits and to fund research on their health effects. It also asked the WHO to rethink its conclusion.
Researchers tell of attempts by authorities to quash investigations. In 1991, for example, the United States tried to keep the WHO from “surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers.”
A British oncologist who headed WHO’s cancer program in the 1990s, advised that his supervisor (who focused on non-communicable diseases) warned that they shouldn’t speak publicly about the cancers and birth defects, “because this would offend member states.”
Why Wont They Admit Liability?
NATO does not want the public to know about toxic dust, because of the liability. As for Iraq, it will conform with the wishes of the country that it is dependent on for financial and military support.
But despite the denials there is a growing international concern about uranium weapons, since they’re radioactive.
As predicted in 1991 by Lt. Col. Ziehm (US-Army) who warned in a memo that because DU weapons “may become politically unacceptable,” after-action reports must “keep this sensitive issue at mind.” In other words, don’t tell.
Media coverage of uranium weapons and the spiraling sickness has been scant. Newspapers refused to carry information and a BBC reporter said, “the public does not want to know about uranium weapons.”
In the meantime, NATO continues to build and sell them to anyone with the necessary finance. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon hold patents for enhanced bombs and cruise missile warheads that include uranium options.
Today, with the U.S., Britain, France and Saudi Arabia bombing Syria, and with the Saudis bombing Yemen, (with UK assistance) and the U.S. firing drones into Yemen, with some of the same weapons unleashed in Iraq it is likely that the people living there, along with huge numbers of refugees, will suffer the same trajic fate as the Serbs, Iraqis, Syrians, Lybians and NATO veterans.
Uranium oxide dust is like a bomb that keeps going off. “People’s genes are damaged for generations. Scientists found this in 22 generations of mice, after Chernobyl. The only way mutated genes disappear is when carriers don’t have children.”