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Index » Regional/Local » USA/Canada » Depleted Uranium
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westslope

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Location: BC sage brush steppe


Posted: Nov 25, 2019 - 9:00pm



 haresfur wrote:


 ......

Aside 1: Like my criticism of Kurt's ideas, it isn't enough to throw out some idea without scientific backing. They may have data showing some elevated levels but they would need to demonstrate that the uranium is DU and come up with some explanation for relating elevated thorium to DU. As it stands, there is no scientific mechanism to produce elevated thorium by spreading DU around.

.......

Edit: don't know why the chart of the U-238 decay series didn't show up when I posted. Here's a link.

 

Well, we could run a very simple, low-cost experiment.  Take the same type of depleted Uranium shells deployed in Iraq and scatter them around a number of Americans suburbs.  Assign a number of socio-economically and environmentally similar communities as control subjects. Then wait, then measure, then estimate and analyze.

In the interests of being thorough, of course.   It would be much easier to control various aspects of this experiment on US soil in US communities.  

Then we could crawl on over to the world of the social sciences and think about the larger strategic aspects of deploying depleted uranium shells.  Technically speaking, there is an argument to be made here that such weapons seek to terrorize.   On the other hand, maybe the education levels in Iraq are so pitifully low that none of the population ever understood the risks?    Judging from my experience elsewhere, I would expect some members of the Iraqi intelligentsia including clerics to have some understanding of the potential risks.  

P.S.  Loved the link!  Thanks.   
NoEnzLefttoSplit

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Gender: Male


Posted: Nov 25, 2019 - 8:36pm



 haresfur wrote:


 
I suppose I could get my employer to acquire a copy of the paper. So what were the lead results?

But I stand corrected. The greatest error is not reporting isotopic ratios - even though they might have been using low-precision quadrupole ICP-MS. 

 

hey, mate!  you were my leader!
R_P

R_P Avatar



Posted: Nov 25, 2019 - 3:55pm

 haresfur wrote:
But I stand corrected. The greatest error is not reporting isotopic ratios (...)
 
They are talking about Th-234. A relevant bit:
For now, what we know is that uranium's most stable isotope is U-238. We also know that natural uranium contains about 0.71% U-235, 99.28% U-238, and about 0.0054% U-234 (Molinari and Snodgrass, 1990). Depleted uranium, used by US State Department, contains 0.3% U-235 and it is therefore primarily U-238. It is also common knowledge that U-238 decays directly into thorium-234 through alpha decay.

Depleted uranium which leaves the processing plant emits only alpha particles, but, within days, testing of that same sample will reveal beta and gamma radiation as well, indicating the presence of thorium, a beta emitter. After a few months, the concentrations of Th-234 will have built up enough so that the amounts of beta and gamma radiation from the sample will each be significantly more than the amount of alpha radiation, which suggests a build-up of Th in the sample (Personal communications).

Since Nasiriyah was bombarded by the US in the early 1990’s and in 2003, sufficient time has elapsed for the creation and build-up of thorium as a byproduct of uranium decay. Ratio analysis of children’s hair samples is necessary to verify this assertion.

haresfur

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Location: The Golden Triangle
Gender: Male


Posted: Nov 25, 2019 - 3:31pm



 R_P wrote:
 haresfur wrote:
The greatest error in the study methodology is not analyzing for lead.
Aluminum (Al), Arsenic (As), Barium (Ba), Cadmium (Cd), Calcium (Ca), Chromium (Cr), Cobalt (Co), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Lead (Pb), Lithium (Li), Magnesium (Mg), Manganese (Mn), Mercury (Hg), Molybdenum (Mo), Nickel (Ni), Selenium (Se), Strontium (Sr), Thorium (Th), Tungsten (W), Uranium (U), Vanadium (V), and Zinc (Zn) were measured in hair, tooth, and bone marrow samples by ICP-MS.

 
I suppose I could get my employer to acquire a copy of the paper. So what were the lead results?

But I stand corrected. The greatest error is not reporting isotopic ratios - even though they might have been using low-precision quadrupole ICP-MS. 

R_P

R_P Avatar



Posted: Nov 25, 2019 - 3:26pm

 haresfur wrote:
The greatest error in the study methodology is not analyzing for lead.
Aluminum (Al), Arsenic (As), Barium (Ba), Cadmium (Cd), Calcium (Ca), Chromium (Cr), Cobalt (Co), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Lead (Pb), Lithium (Li), Magnesium (Mg), Manganese (Mn), Mercury (Hg), Molybdenum (Mo), Nickel (Ni), Selenium (Se), Strontium (Sr), Thorium (Th), Tungsten (W), Uranium (U), Vanadium (V), and Zinc (Zn) were measured in hair, tooth, and bone marrow samples by ICP-MS.

NoEnzLefttoSplit

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Gender: Male


Posted: Nov 25, 2019 - 2:36pm



 haresfur wrote:


Aside 1: Like my criticism of Kurt's ideas, it isn't enough to throw out some idea without scientific backing. They may have data showing some elevated levels but they would need to demonstrate that the uranium is DU and come up with some explanation for relating elevated thorium to DU. As it stands, there is no scientific mechanism to produce elevated thorium by spreading DU around.

Aside 2: I saw a talk by one of the early health physicists (the study of the health effects of radioactivity) and he said something that stuck with me, "Radiation is very good at killing cells but very poor at mutating them. That's why radiation treatment for cancer works."

Edit: don't know why the chart of the U-238 decay series didn't show up when I posted. Here's a link.

 

excellent explanation!! And I totally agree: no need to throw bullshit into the mix when discussing these things.
haresfur

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Location: The Golden Triangle
Gender: Male


Posted: Nov 25, 2019 - 2:22pm



 R_P wrote:
Iraqi Children Born Near U.S. Military Base Show Elevated Rates of “Serious Congenital Deformities,” Study Finds
The new study piles onto a growing wealth of knowledge about severe ill effects of the U.S. military on the environments in which it operates. All industrialized military activity is bad for ecological systems, but the U.S., with its enormous military engaged in activities spanning the globe has a particular large environmental footprint. Not only does the U.S. military lead the world in carbon output, but its prodigious presence around the globe leaves a toxic trail of chemicals that local communities have to deal with, from so-called burn pits on bases releasing poisonous smoke to the radiation of depleted uranium rounds mutating the DNA of nearby populations.

 

TL; DR: It is not plausible that there is any relationship between DU and the birth defects documented. You might be able to convince me that the birth defects are caused by lead poisoning or other pollutants from US military activity.

I didn't pay to access the research article, but if I had been the peer reviewer, I would have rejected it on the basis of the abstract alone. The Intercept article is pretty much bs.

The greatest error in the study methodology is not analyzing for lead. Uranium is a heavy metal poison that acts in the same way as other heavy metals so if you aren't looking at lead (you know used in most munitions) then you have no basis for attributing anything to uranium. Besides, they apparently didn't find any elevated uranium, or let's be specific, U-238. They found elevated thorium of an unspecified isotope. This is important in showing that they were wrong to attribute the elevated thorium to depleted uranium munitions.

Some background: Uranium is almost all U-238 by mass, with small amounts of U-235 (the stuff that goes boom), and U-234 (which is a decay product of U-238). Depleted uranium (DU) is a byproduct of enriching uranium for nuclear fuel. As the name indicates, it is depleted in U-235 and U-234 (although it is very hard to get any data on the U-234 content). You can distinguish DU from natural uranium by measuring the ratio of U-235 and U-234 to U-238. Natural thorium is almost all primordial Th-232, which has a half life of 1.4e10 years. Thorium is a decay product of U-238, actually 2 isotopes, but is removed when the uranium is purified, so isn't present in DU.

The article correctly states that thorium is a decay product of uranium, but the isotopes are different, Th-234 and Th-230. U-238 has a half life of 4.5e9 years. That's a long time, it is also primordial - it decays so slowly, it has been around from the beginning of the solar system. What that means is that it takes a heck of a long time to produce any significant amount of Th-234, especially since the Th-234 ha a short half-life and is decaying nearly as fast as it is produced. Jumping a step, Th-234 decay produces U-234, which has a long half life, so the production of its decay product, Th-230, essentially depend on any little bit of U-234 left in the DU.

So it is pretty much impossible to build up elevated thorium in the environment from DU. In any case, you need to specify which isotopes you are talking about if you want to claim a connection. 

Aside 1: Like my criticism of Kurt's ideas, it isn't enough to throw out some idea without scientific backing. They may have data showing some elevated levels but they would need to demonstrate that the uranium is DU and come up with some explanation for relating elevated thorium to DU. As it stands, there is no scientific mechanism to produce elevated thorium by spreading DU around.

Aside 2: I saw a talk by one of the early health physicists (the study of the health effects of radioactivity) and he said something that stuck with me, "Radiation is very good at killing cells but very poor at mutating them. That's why radiation treatment for cancer works."

Edit: don't know why the chart of the U-238 decay series didn't show up when I posted. Here's a link.

R_P

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Posted: Nov 25, 2019 - 11:19am

Iraqi Children Born Near U.S. Military Base Show Elevated Rates of “Serious Congenital Deformities,” Study Finds
The new study piles onto a growing wealth of knowledge about severe ill effects of the U.S. military on the environments in which it operates. All industrialized military activity is bad for ecological systems, but the U.S., with its enormous military engaged in activities spanning the globe has a particular large environmental footprint. Not only does the U.S. military lead the world in carbon output, but its prodigious presence around the globe leaves a toxic trail of chemicals that local communities have to deal with, from so-called burn pits on bases releasing poisonous smoke to the radiation of depleted uranium rounds mutating the DNA of nearby populations.

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