[ RadSafe ] Depleted uranium dust from 2003 Gulf War in Berkshire

Dawson, Fred Mr Fred.Dawson199 at mod.uk
Wed Feb 22 06:03:03 CST 2006

Interesting criticism by the "World Information Service on Energy" on
the recent report by Busby, of particular note is the reference to the
large uranium mines etc in North Africa


Elevated uranium concentrations found in air sampling data collected
around the AWE Aldermaston plant in Berkshire, United Kingdom, in
March/April 2003 are attributed by authors C.Busby and S.Morgan to
depleted uranium dust blown from Iraq.
While such a connection might be worth considering if an isotopic
analysis of the dust would have revealed that it actually were depleted
uranium, there apparently is no isotopic data available.
It is not even clear what actually was measured, since Busby & Morgan
only report numbers converted by themselves to nBq "uranium" per cubic
meter. They use the figure of 12.5 MBq/kg for the activity conversion of
"uranium", while this figure is valid only for the isotope U-238 alone.
The three uranium isotopes present rather would give depleted uranium a
specific activity of approx. 14.7 MBq/kg. It is also unclear whether any
uranium decay products were present and what mineralogic composition the
dust had.
Even if one accepts the possibility that uranium dust may have been
airlifted to Europe the same way as Sahara sands sometimes in fact are,
no evidence is presented that this actually has happened with the
depleted uranium dust released in Iraq, in spite of the use of this term
in the title. The authors spend no thought on ruling out other possible
origins of uranium that might have been transported to the United
Kingdom, as for example: the two large uranium mines in Arlit and
Akouta, Niger, experiencing a notorious dusting problem, and the huge
phosphate mines in Morocco and Rio de Oro, exploiting a mineral that is
well known to be associated with elevated levels of uranium. Without an
isotopic analysis, no distinction can be made between such sources of
natural uranium dust and any dust produced from the use of DU weapons in

Did the use of Uranium weapons in Gulf War 2 result in contamination of
Europe? Evidence from the measurements of the Atomic Weapons
Establishment, Aldermaston, Berkshire, UK. Chris Busby, Saoirse Morgan,
Occasional Paper 2006/1, January 2006, Abersytwyth: Green Audit (618k

Fred Dawson
Fwp_dawson at hotmail.com

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