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

Marcel Schouwenburg M.Schouwenburg at TNW.TUDelft.NL
Tue Jul 26 03:20:35 CDT 2005

Poste on behalf of  Susan Gawarecki


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 UO3 the site 
www.webelements.com notes under melting point: "decomposes to U3O8" and 
no temperative is given.  U3O8 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:

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?

James Salsman

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