[ RadSafe ] Re: [ RadSafe] What Became of this 2001 WHO Investigation?

James Salsman james at bovik.org
Mon Jul 25 17:34:37 CDT 2005


Thank you for your message to RADSAFE and me below.  Your posts
are not making it to the RADSAFE list, perhaps because you are
posting from a different address than where you are subscribed.

"Tigris River water is a concentrated cocktail of pesticides,
fertilizers, oil, gasoline and heavy metals, reports
Dr. Husni Mohammed, an Iraqi who holds a PhD in Environmental
and Biological Science and has researched the condition of
the Tigris.  Raw sewage mixes with particles from antiquated
piping and US-fired depleted uranium munitions, he says...."
-- http://newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=481

Perhaps irrigation water in the river basins is to blame,
rather than rainfall.  Both can wash uranium combustion
products into the water table.

U3O8, the main combustion product of uranium, produces uranyl
oxide gas vapor fumes as it cools.  R.J. Ackermann, et al.,
in J Phys Chem, vol. 64 (1960) pp. 350-5 state in their
abstract, "gaseous monomeric uranium trioxide is the principal
species produced by the reaction of U3O8 with oxygen."  They
indicate that this occurs at 1200 to 1800 Kelvin, below the
temperatures reached by pyrophoric uranium ordnance fires.
Please see: E.M. Mouradian, and L. Baker, Jr., "Burning
Temperatures of Uranium and Zirconium in Air," Nuclear
Science and Engineering, vol. 15 (1963), p. 388-394, in
particular Figure 6 on page 392, and Figure 3.

You can probably guess the solubility of monomolecular uranyl
oxide gas vapor fumes, UO3(g), without having to consult the
CRC handbook or webelements.com.  If inhaled, such particles
enter the bloodstream immediately.  I suppose ordinary
gravitational settling could drop them into the water table
without any need for additional surface water at all.  Is
that indeed the case for heavy individual molecules?

Thousands of things can cause birth defects, but nobody has yet
been able to suggest anything which can cause as many more as
400 tons of burned uranium.

James Salsman

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	Re: [ RadSafe] What Became of this 2001 WHO Investigation?
Date: 	Mon, 25 Jul 2005 17:25:12 -0400
From: 	Susan Gawarecki <loc at icx.net>
To: 	James Salsman <james at bovik.org>, RADSAFE <radsafe at radlab.nl>


In deserts such as that of southern Iraq, evaporation exceeds
precipitation.  Transport to the water table would be negligible,
especially anything that needs to be dissolved first.  This is why
desert soils become poisoned by salts precipitated from irrigation
waters--they are never flushed into the water table and carried out of
the soil as happens in regions with more rainfall.

Most of your chemistry questions can be answered by referencing the CRC
handbook.  I don't have the time or inclination to do it for you.
Suffice it to say that U will react with oxygen as quickly as it can to
get to its most stable chemical state.  For UO_3 the site
www.webelements.com notes under melting point: "decomposes to U_3 O_8 "
and no temperative is given.  U_3 O_8 is also known as pitchblende, a
stable uranium oxide; it is also U ore.

Re birth defects in Basrah--correlation does not imply causality.
Thousands of things cause birth defects, why are you so focused on one
thing that the experts keep telling you is unlikely to be a contributing

Susan Gawarecki

James Salsman wrote:

 > Susan,
 > Thank you for your message:
 >> It's not clear to me what the water table depth has to do with
 >> contamination of the surface with uranium.
 > Isn't it true that given identical spills of uranium above two
 > different water tables, a smaller amount of rain is required to
 > wash it into the higher water table?
 >> ... shallow groundwater in southern Iraq would only be found
 >> in the  active Tigris and Euphrates floodplain and delta.
 > And Basrah, at the confluence of the two rivers, is where the
 > birth defect rate is not just increasing, but accelerating.
 >> Considering the dilution factor of groundwater, the low
 >> solubility  of uranium oxide...
 > Do you think that uranium oxide remains uranium oxide after
 > exposure to water, or are you using "uranium oxide" to mean
 > both UO2 and uranyl oxide.  Do you know the solubility of
 > uranyl oxide?
 >> and the low total mass of uranium involved...
 > What do you think the total mass of the uranium involved is?
 >> this potential exposure pathway is of no consequence in these
 >> war zones.
 > Have you actually measured the uranium concentration, or is
 > this just a guess by someone using the solubility of uranium
 > oxide without regard to the solubility of UO3?
 > "Our analysis of drinking water in the same area of Afghanistan
 > revealed the value of 38,277 ng/L. This is in excess of the
 > World Health Organization recommended drinking water standard
 > of 2.000 to 9.000 ng/L."  -- "The Quantitative Analysis of
 > Uranium Isotopes in the Urine of the Civilian Population of
 > Eastern Afghanistan after Operation Enduring Freedom," Military
 > Medicine, vol. 170, no. 4 (2005), pp. 284.
 >> You consistently make mistakes by taking factoids out of context...
 > What mistakes in particular are you referring to?
 > Sincerely,
 > James Salsman

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