[ RadSafe ] UNEP finds No Evidence of Radioactive Residue in Lebanon Post Conflict Assessment

Fred Dawson fd003f0606 at blueyonder.co.uk
Wed Nov 8 12:17:07 CST 2006

Statement attributable to Achim Steiner,


United Nations Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director

NAIROBI, 7 November, 2006 - The fieldwork of the post conflict environmental 
assessment of Lebanon has been completed by a team from the United Nations 
Environment Programme (UNEP), which carried out its work in Lebanon from 30 
September to 21 October 2006.

The experts covered the following disciplines; Asbestos; Contaminated land; 
Coastal and marine issues; Solid and hazardous waste management; Surface and 
ground water; Weapons and munitions. From these respective disciplines a 
wide range of samples were transported to three independent and recognized 
laboratories in Europe for tests.

During the fieldwork one of the UNEP sub-teams focused on munitions used 
during the July-August 2005 conflict, and investigated specifically the use 
or non-use of depleted uranium (DU) and unconventional weapons. The weapons 
sub-team visited 32 sites south and north of the Litani River. Following 
strict field procedures a range of smear, dust and soil samples were taken. 
The samples were analyzed in October-November at an internationally 
recognised laboratory in Switzerland.

The samples taken by the UNEP scientists show no evidence of penetrators or 
metal made of DU or other radioactive material. In addition, no DU shrapnel, 
or other radioactive residue was found. The analysis of all smear samples 
taken shows no DU, nor enriched uranium nor higher than natural uranium 
content in the samples.

During the fieldwork, the UNEP sub-team also found that all remnants of 
weapons found at sites visited during the period of the assessment could be 
identified as being weapons of well-known design. The team also confirmed 
the use of white phosphorous-containing artillery and mortar ammunition by 
the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

In the context of weapons used, UNEP agrees with the findings and 
conclusions of the mission of the Human Rights Council's Special Rapporteurs 
(published 2 October 2006), which recognized the huge number of cluster 
bombs with a low detonation rate dropped by the IDF over the last days 
before the ceasefire as the main remaining problem to return to normal life 
in the affected regions.

The final UNEP Post Conflict Assessment-report on Lebanon will be ready for 
publication in mid-December 2006. It is hoped that the report will make a 
positive contribution to on-going international and domestic efforts of 
reconstruction and rehabilitation in the Lebanon.

Contact: Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, 
Tel: (254-20) 762-3084, Mobile in Kenya: 254 (0) 733 632755, E-mail: 
nick.nuttall at unep.org

Fred Dawson

More information about the RadSafe mailing list