[ RadSafe ] Green Audit and Uranium Dust that UNEP Can't Find

Roger Helbig rhelbig at california.com
Mon Dec 18 04:58:43 CST 2006

The anti-DU crusaders go to extreme lengths to disprove anything that does not fit the political conclusion that they need to derive .. see the following posted to the public list AmericanDUST at yahoogroups.com -- I know that many of you have serious concerns about the quality of the Green Audit work by Chris Busby and I hope that you will comment.  If there is anyone from UNEP or with UNEP on this list, I would appreciate their comments as well.

Thank you.

Roger Helbig

Bob Nichols, noted expert on DU, just ask him said .. 

UNEP and Weapons-derived Uranium in Lebanon: Don't look, don't find   

Message #656 of 662 


Yes! This is Chris' work. It is righreous work and exposes the UBEP and AIEC 
for the indentured servants to the US they are. It is good science and solid 
investigative work.


On 12/15/06, Romi Elnagar <bluesapphire48 at ...> wrote: 
Is this good science?  If you approve, I'll post it to AmericanDUST.
UNEP and Weapons-derived Uranium in Lebanon: Don't look, don't find

Weapons-derived Uranium (WDU) resulting from the oxidation of Uranium is in 
the form of an aerosol of microscopic particles of Uranium Oxide which are 
highly mobile and disperse widely. Uranium in low concentrations is hard to 
find. LLRC and colleagues found it in the Lebanon, the United Nations 
Environment Programme (UNEP) did not. The problem was the hardware UNEP 
used; they are incompetent or they were set up to fail.
For some detail read on.
For even more detail go to http://www.llrc. org where there is a link to a 
technical report from Green Audit.

UNEP's report on the Lebanon 
(http://postconflict .unep.ch/ index.php? prog=Lebanon ) says they have found 
no Uranium. UNEP says:
The choice of instruments used in the environmental assessment in Lebanon 
was driven by UNEP's in-depth experience of such equipment in past DU 
missions in the Balkans and the joint IAEA/UNEP mission to Kuwait. Thanks to 
their high sensitivity, effective sound alarm, durability, and robustness, 
these instruments have proven ideal for such missions.

The problem with this smugness is that in the Balkans and Kuwait UNEP was 
looking for Uranium from armour piercing shells; in Lebanon the situation 
was quite different.
When Uranium shells don't hit hard targets, the Uranium doesn't burn and the 
penetrator can remain entire. Iraqi children have been known to keep them as 
playthings and Dr. Gunter Horst - an early anti-DU campaigner - picked one 
up in Iraq. When he landed back home in Germany it set off alarms at the 
airport and he was arrested, much to his surprise and consternation. Even 
those shells that do hit hard targets leave some shrapnel. This was what 
UNEP is used to dealing with, and since fighter planes have on-board cameras 
to photograph their missions they even had some records to tell them where 
to look.
In the Lebanon the situation is different. It was a bombing campaign in the 
course of which it became apparent that there was Uranium in the bombs. In 
contrast to artillery shells probably all of the Uranium burnt. UNEP was 
told this in August, so they knew what they were supposed to be looking for. 
Unfortunately they have an appalling track record of looking for Uranium 
dust (see http:/www.llrc. org/du/subtopic/ uneprept. htm for a criticism of 
their Kosovo mission 1999-2000).

The UNEP report lists the instruments used in the Lebanon survey. All are 
unsuitable for finding Uranium dust. Only one is capable of finding WDU in 
the low concentrations likely to result from using Uranium weapons, but it 
would require the operator to go at snail's pace on hands and knees.

The Saphymo-SRAT S.P.P.2 NF scintillometer is a gamma detector. The only 
gamma signal from Uranium is a weak emission (at 185 KeV) from U-235. It 
wouldn't detect Uranium in the field unless the operator was standing on top 
of a large deposit.
In a laboratory experiment the more sensitive instrument we use at LLRC 
failed to pick up Uranium in a soil sample known to be contaminated with 200 
Bq/Kg of WDU.

The Automess Dose Rate Meter AD 6 and its Alpha-Beta-Gamma Probe AD-17 is a 
bit of a mystery, as we couldn't find a technical spec for it. However, UNEP 
says it was only used for measuring background gamma rates, so it isn't 

The Fieldspec Instrument identiFINDER- N/He-3 is another gamma detector, so 
it's no use for Uranium.

The Inspector instrument is manufactured by S.E. International Inc. is the 
one potentially useful instrument. It's a small hand-held field Geiger 
Counter which can detect beta particles, so it could in theory pick up the 
betas from the two daughter isotopes of Uranium ­- ­Protactinium- 234m and 
But there are problems. Being small, it has a small window (16 sq.cm). 
Secondly, it has low sensitivity to beta rays, so the instrument would have 
to be held close to the ground (about 10 cm). The Inspector compensates for 
its low sensitivity by displaying a 30 second moving average. This means the 
operator would have to crawl across the ground surface slowly enough to let 
the detector scan each tiny patch of ground for 30 seconds. It would take a 
long time to cover a small area. In principle this may be the best that UNEP 
could accomplish with the instruments it used.

As we have said before, finding Weapons-derived Uranium (WDU) is not easy. 
LLRC succeeds by combining knowledge of physics with appropriate 
instrumentation which cost us some thousands of pounds. Any nuclear site has 
even better equipment and there is no excuse for UNEP not to use what is 
standard in the industry. The inevitable conclusion is that UNEP is 
incompetent, or that those officials who trained, equipped and directed the 
team intended it to find no Uranium.

This report deals only with the instruments. We shall report later on UNEP's 

We have sent you this email circular because you are on our database of 
people who are concerned about low level radiation and health. If you do not 
want to receive information from us please reply, putting "remove from LLRC" 
in the subject line.

Low Level Radiation Campaign
bramhall at llrc. org

-=-=-=-=-=-= -=-=-=

-=-=-=-=-=-= -=-= EXCERPTS from DU in Serbia and Montenegro -=-=-=-=-=-=

(1) Depleted Uranium in Serbia and Montenegro
Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
First published in Switzerland in 2002 by the United Nations Environment 
Copyright © 2002, United Nations Environment Programme.
ISBN 92-807-2146- 1
http://www.un. org.yu/download/ 89/289-Depleted% 20Uranium% 20in%20Serbia% 20and%20Monteneg ro.pdf

Page 30, section 4.9 briefly mentions botanical material and its pertinence:

"At several sites, samples were taken of botanical material such as moss, 
bark, lichen and mushrooms, in order to search for possible DU uptake and to 
identify earlier or ongoing airborne contamination.

As found by the UNEP DU mission to Kosovo in 2000, lichen appears to be an 
indicator of airborne DU contamination.

This is not a new scientific finding; for instance, studies from fallout of 
the atomic bomb tests in the early 1960s have shown lichen to be a good 
indicator of airborne contamination.

Of the lichen samples taken in Serbia and Montenegro, only those obtained 
from Pljackovica, Bratoselce and Cape Arza showed any significant indication 
of DU.

While many of the mission's observations suggested that very few penetrators 
had been aerosolised, but instead passed mostly into the ground, further 
research into bio-indicators might provide additional data allowing more 
definite conclusions to be drawn about events immediately following a DU 

=-=-=-=-=-=- =-=-=-


Depleted Uranium in Serbia/Montenegro
"In studies of the abundance of toxic pollutants, a biological indicator can 
be generally defined as an organism which may be used to quantify relative 
levels of pollution through the measurement of the toxicant concentration in 
its tissues. Either the entire organism, or part of it, or a single tissue 
may be used. Biological monitoring based on measurement of the toxicant 
concentration in accumulator organisms which are able to concentrate 
pollutants, may supply a synthetic, direct and integrated response over time 
to environmental pollution levels. This technique, initially used to detect 
radionuclides from nuclear fall-out and effluents, has been successfully 
applied to non-nuclear pollution. In the case of atmospheric pollution, 
lichens, mosses, tree bark and pine needles are used as sufficiently 
sensitive and inexpensive
techniques to monitor many contaminants at a large number of stations (Jeran 
et al., 1996).

Lichens, especially epiphytic ones, are widely used to monitor air 
contamination (Ferry et al., 1973; Richardson et al., 1980; Richardson and 
Nieboer, 1980; Nieboer and Richardson, 1981; Nash and Wirth, 1988; Sloof and 
Wolterbeek, 1991; Ribeiro Guevara et al., 1995; Haas et al.; 1998; McLean et 
al., 1998). They are efficient accumulators of many elements, particularly 
heavy metals and radionuclides that are released into the atmosphere because 
of natural and human activities (Jeran et al., 1995).

Since the 1960s, they have been successfully employed to assess the global 
deposition of radionuclides derived from aerial nuclear weapons testing and 
the atmospheric re-entry of nuclear powered satellites (Holm and Persson, 
1978; Taylor et al., 1979; Richardson and Nieboer, 1980).

A large body of research has been carried out to monitor the radionuclides 
derived from the Chernobyl accident of 1986 (Adamo et al., 1989; Triulzi et 
al., 1996; Feige et al., 1990; Hoffmann et al., Loppi and De Dominicis, 
1996). In addition, the distribution patterns of uranium and associated 
elements in lichens growing in the vicinity of uranium mining/milling 
operations have been extensively studied (Boileau et al., 1982; Jeran et 
al., 1995).

The studies showed that lichens have a high capacity to accumulate uranium 
under moist and dry conditions from airborne particles and dust, and even 
tiny fragments of lichens may contain concentrations that can be readily 
detectable (Garty et al., 1979; Beckett et al., 1982; Trembley et al., 1997; 
Sansone et al., 2001).

Lichens consist of fungi and algae living together in a mutually beneficial 
way. Their remarkable capacity for accumulating pollutants is based on their 
intrinsic biology, as they lack roots and outer protective organs, such as 
stomata and cuticle, against the substances derived from the atmosphere, and 
excretory organs and deciduous parts (Jeran et al., 1995, 1996).

Lichen morphology does not vary with the seasons and accumulation of 
pollutants can occur throughout the years. In addition, they are usually 
very long lived. Because they lack roots, lichens do not have access to soil 
nutrient pools and they depend on both wet and dry atmospheric deposition to 
obtain mineral nutrients.

The mechanisms of trace-element uptake and retention in lichens differ from 
species to species and from element to element. Study of the elemental 
composition has proved agreement between atmospheric element levels, element 
concentrations observed in the lichen tissues, and the exposure time of the 
lichens to airborne pollutants. The accumulation and retention of trace 
elements is consistently higher than their physiological demand.


Ecologically and structurally, mosses are closer to lichens than they are to 
other members of the plant kingdom. Mosses (Bryophyta) are quite 
interesting, simple green land plants with leaves and a stem and always 
without roots. Mosses depend upon external moisture to transport nutrients. 
Many mosses assimilate much of their nutrients and water through their tiny 

Unlike the leaves of higher (flowering) plants which have a waxy covering 
called a cuticle, mosses lack this protection. This allows mosses to take in 
water quickly through their leaves during periods of rain or high humidity, 
and to dry out fast when the air dries. This rapid and direct absorption is 
detrimental when the moisture
is laden with pollutants.

Tree bark also accumulates atmospheric aereosols over long periods of time 
through wet and dry deposition, resulting in trace enrichment of 
environmental contaminants. Thus, tree bark has been widely employed as a 
passive monitor of airborne trace metal contamination.

The UNEP depleted uranium environmental assessment in Kosovo (UNEP, 2001; 
Sansone et al., 2001) highlighted the possibility of using lichens and barks 
as indicators of past airborne contamination due to depleted uranium dust or 
aerosol particles, generated at the time of the conflict by the impact of DU 

On this basis, during the field mission in Serbia and Montenegro, lichen, 
moss and bark samples were collected at the sites visited by the UNEP team 
and the uranium isotopes were determined for the different species 
collected. Due to the large number of samples collected during the survey, 
uranium isotopes were measured only for a representative number of species.

A more detailed interpretation of the results in the lichen samples 
collected in Serbia and Montenegro will be published subsequently, since 
measurements continue on the samples collected.The main objective of the 
sampling performed in the field was to identify potential uranium 
accumulator organisms within the investigated sites and to confirm the 
results achieved during the UNEP survey in Kosovo." 

More information about the RadSafe mailing list