Recent commenting on articles and videos concerning depleted uranium claim that DU is a common element and is present all over the earth.  The person commenting claimed that U-238 is not harmful. 

If this was true……why would the military be using it to create lethal weapons?  This amounts to claiming they are building bombs that don’t explode. 

This article explains in plain language what DU is, how it is made and what it does.

I would suggest our “troll” allow himself to be fully exposed to the effects of a DU dirty bomb and come back next year and tell us how it caused him no harm…..if he’s even still breathing.

Marti

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

http://www.viewzone.com/du/du.html

Excerpted from the full article:

WHAT IS DEPLETED URANIUM?

Depleted Uranium, or DU, is a waste material left over from the nuclear industry. A vast amount of this waste DU is produced when natural uranium is enriched for use in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. Only the uranium isotope U-235 can be used in nuclear processes, such as reactors and weapons. As most of this isotope is removed from naturally occurring uranium, the remaining uranium product comprises U-238 and smaller amounts of the more highly radioactive U-235 and U-234. DU is both chemically toxic and radioactive. It is this latter product, the left over uranium, comprising mainly U-238, which has been used to make ‘depleted’ uranium weapons. It is used for weapons because this heavy, dense metal is judged by the army to be an excellent penetrator of enemy armour, tanks, and even buildings.

A large amount of DU in the stockpiles held in the United States has been contaminated with recycled spent nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors. For example trace amounts of U-236 and highly radioactive substances such as plutonium, neptunium and technetium were found in a DU anti-tank shell used in Kosovo. Hundreds of thousands of tons of this contaminated stock was exported to the UK, France and other countries in the 1990s. The extent to which this DU has been contaminated with recycled spent fuel is still unknown and undisclosed.

Governments have largely ignored the serious dangers this recycled fuel represents. A common defence used by the British and US governments and their militaries is to claim that depleted uranium is less radioactive than natural uranium and therefore does not constitute a risk to human health. This statement is, however, misleading. In its natural form uranium is present in our environment in very small quantities as an ore, for example in rocks and soil. Conversely, the DU used by the military has been concentrated relative to background amounts, and is therefore many times more radioactive than uranium ore.

In May 2003 Scott Peterson, a writer with the US newspaper CSM, examined radioactivity levels next to DU bullets in Baghdad and found Geiger-counter readings were 1900 times greater than background radiation levels next to DU bullets. When natural uranium is concentrated in a similar form to ‘depleted’ uranium it emits about 40% more alpha radiation, 15% more gamma radiation and around the same level of beta radiation. The chemical toxicity of uranium does not depend on the isotope, therefore enriched, ‘normal’, and depleted uranium are equally toxic chemically.

It is extremely difficult and expensive for the nuclear industry to store DU. It is thought that the US currently has 1 billion tonnes of depleted uranium radioactive waste, while the UK has at least 50,000 tonnes. This waste is stored in cylinders at many sites across the US and UK and is vulnerable to corrosion and leaks owing to ageing cylinders and outside storage. It is stored mainly in the form of depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) which can leak if the corroding cylinders are breached. At least 10 cylinders are known to have breached during the past 10 years.

Turning this DU waste into weapons solves some of the problem faced by the Government and nuclear industry, concerning what to do with these large stockpiles. Not only is DU practically free of charge for the arms manufacturers, but it no longer has to be stored and monitored indefinitely. (end excerpt)