[ RadSafe ] U-236 in DU

Peter Bossew peter.bossew at jrc.it
Fri Jul 18 06:19:57 CDT 2008

Some data:

In the UNEP BiH report of 2003 some figures on 236U, 239+240Pu and 237Np 
in DU ammunition samples are given. For 236U, typically 0.003 % m/m were 
found, some 10^1 Bq/kg 239/240Pu and some Bq/kg 237Np. (pages 16, 33 and 
215ff (Annex H))

UNEP: Depleted Uranium in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Post-conflict 
environmental Assessment. Report 2003.

UNEP: Depleted Uranium in Serbia and Montenegro. Post-conflict 
environmental Assessment in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Report 2002.
Annex K, pp.152 ff

UNEP: Depleted Uranium in Kosovo. Post-conflict environmental Assessment 
. Report 2001.
Annex VII, pp. 157 ff

These UNEP reports used to be available for free on the UNEP website, 
but not any more. I have them as pdf (~20 MB, unfortunately).

WISE Uranium fact sheet, P. Diehl: 
Acc. this document, 236U and transuranics almost do not contribute to dose.

Trueman E. R., Black S. and Read D. (2004): Characterisation of depleted 
uranium (DU) from an unfired CHARM-3 penetrator. Sci. Tot Env. 327, 337 
- 340.
Has data also on 238Pu, 241, 243Am and 99Tc.

Salbu B. et al. (2005): Oxidation state of uranium in depleted uranium 
particles from Kuwait. JER 78, 125 - 135.
In the analysed DU samples, 236/238U ratios 3-4 o.m. higher than in nat. 
U ore (Table 2)

McLaughlin J. P. et al. (2003): Actinide analysis of a depleted uranium 
penetrator from a 1999 target site in southern Serbia. JER 64, 155 -156.
236U, 239+240, 238Pu found.

Jia et al. (2004): Concentration, distribution and characteristics of 
depleted uranium (DU) in the Kosovo ecosystem: A comparison with the 
uranium behaviour in the environment uncontaminated by DU. J. 
Radioanalyt. Nucl. Chem. 260 (3), 481 - 494.

typically 0.003 % m/m 236U

Similar in
Jia et al. (2006): Concentration and characteristics of depleted uranium 
in biological and water samples collected in Bosnia and Herzegovina. JER 
89, 172 - 187.
Jia et al. (2005): Concentration and characteristics of depleted uranium 
in water, air and biological samples collected in Serbia and Montenegro. 
ARI 63, 381 - 399


Bolling, Jason E wrote:
> Given that the process of uranium enrichment is the separation of
> lighter isotopes of uranium from the heavier isotopes of uranium, I
> would expect there to be less U-236 in DU because U-236 is
> preferentially concentrated in the U-235 product stream and separated
> from the U-238 which is, of course, what the DU is.
> While it is true that there are some stores of uranium hexafluoride
> available from when the US still practiced fuel reprocessing where the
> concentration of U-236 is higher than natural, these stores are at
> approximately natural enrichement and, as far as I can tell, wouldn't be
> associated with DU.
> So, based on my experience in the uranium enrichment industry, U-236 and
> DU have nothing to do with each other.  If anything, the DU should have
> less U-236 than natural U.
> -Jason Bolling
> -----Original Message-----
> From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
> Behalf Of Roger Helbig
> Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 5:15 AM
> To: Radsafe
> Subject: [ RadSafe ] Analysis of Hawaiian Soil Sample for Depleted
> Uranium
> It is interesting that upsilquitch (believed to be Ted Weymann of the
> so-called Uranium Medical Research Centre, with no known education or
> experience in either uranium or medicine) belittles this report from
> Professor Randall Parrish, who normally sides with the anti-depleted
> uranium crusaders, such as his being invited to Colonie, NY to sample
> the area around the closed National Lead Foundry FUSRAP site.  What do
> you say about Parrishes presumption that U236 is indicative of depleted
> uranium.
> Roger Helbig
> --- On Wed, 7/16/08, upsilquitch <upsilquitch at yahoo.com> wrote:
> From: upsilquitch <upsilquitch at yahoo.com>
> Subject: [DU-WATCH] Randy Parrish (MOD lap dog) lies to people fo
> Hawaii, too
> To: du-watch at yahoogroups.com
> Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2008, 9:50 AM
> Report on Uranium Isotope Analysis
> For the attention of:
> David Bigelow
> 8 July 2008
> I apologise for any delay, but I am pleased to now provide you with a
> uranium isotope analysis and concentration of the sample you submitted.
> Conclusion in lay terms
> The analysis of dust submitted contains a maximum of 1% Depleted Uranium
> as a proportion of the total uranium in the sample. The uranium in the
> dust is less than 1 part per million, a value that is typical for rocks
> that would occur in Hawaii. The uranium contained in the dust sample is
> overwhelmingly or entirely dominated by this natural uranium component.
> Any DU, if present at all, is in fact less radioactive than the natural
> uranium in the sample by virtue of its being `depleted' in the more
> radioactive isotopes 234U and 235U. 
> As such the radioactivity of the sample is virtually dominated by
> natural background radioactivity, and any additional component if
> present adds a negligible additional amount to this. In fact the normal
> variation in amount of background radioactivity in rocks is far larger
> than the maximum additional component, if any, of DU in the sample.
> Technical aspects of the analysis
> For your dust sample, the 4M HNO3 leach dissolved all but the silicate
> portion of your samples and the ratio of 238U/235U was
> 138.92 with an uncertainty on the measurement of 1.01. The normal value
> is 137.88. Your measurement with its uncertainty band can be argued to
> be sufficiently close to the natural value as to conclude that it
> contains no DU. On the other hand it is slightly elevated and given the
> isotopic composition of depleted uranium munitions, a value of 138.9 is
> also consistent with 1% of the uranium in the dust being DU and the rest
> being natural. When DU makes a contribution to uranium, it also
> contributes the rare isotope 236U. A 1% DU contribution would result in
> a 236U/238U value of ~3.0 x 10-7. The value of this quantity we measured
> in your sample was 5 x 10-7 but with an uncertainty of 5 x 10-7, in
> other words this measurement is just at our detection limit. While both
> measurements can be regarded as failing to prove the presence of DU they
> are also consistent with a 1% DU contribution to the dust uranium which
> is effectively the lowest contribution we can measure. The concentration
> of uranium in the dissolved dust material is 0.68 parts per million,
> which is quite normal for volcanic rocks like those that are common in
> Hawaii.
> Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact
> me.
> 1
> The methodology of the test is similar to that described in the
> publications entitled :
> Parrish, R. R., Arneson, J.Brewer, T., Chenery, S., Lloyd, N.,
> Carpenter, D. 2008. Depleted uranium contamination by inhalation
> exposure and its detection after >25 years: implications for health
> assessment. Science of the Total Environment, Science of the Total
> Environment v. 390, 58-68; doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2007.09.044. and
> Parrish, RR, Thirlwall, M, Pickford, C, Horstwood, MSA, Gerdes, A.,
> Anderson, J., and Coggan, D., 2006, Determination of 238U/235U,
> 236U/238U and uranium concentration in urine using SF-ICP-MS and MC-
> ICP-MS: An interlaboratory comparison. Health Physics v.90 (2), p. 
> 127-138.
> Or you can read of the procedure by visiting the method of Laboratory
> `B' of the following website: 
> http://www.duob.org.uk/laboratory.htm
> Sincerely,
> Professor Randall Parrish
> NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory
> British Geological Survey
> rrp at nigl.nerc.ac.uk
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Peter Bossew 

European Commission (EC) 
Joint Research Centre (JRC) 
Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) 

TP 441, Via Fermi 1 
21020 Ispra (VA) 
Tel. +39 0332 78 9109 
Fax. +39 0332 78 5466 
Email: peter.bossew at jrc.it 

"The views expressed are purely those of the writer and may not in any
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