New Green Audit report

Depleted uranium from Gulf War 2 "Shock and Awe" bombing in 2003 spread across Europe and reached Britain within 9 days.

This is fresh evidence that uranium armour piercing weaponry is illegal on account of its indiscriminate effects.
Critics rebutted - see this link

European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics (EBAB) has published a paper: 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 Aberystwyth: Green Audit
EBAB is a pay-to-view journal, but someone has published the paper with open access. Click here


Uranium weapons have been increasingly employed in battle action since their first use by the US and UK forces in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Since then they have been used in the Balkans in the late 1990s, then Kosovo in 2000, probably in Afghanistan in 2002 and then also in the 2nd Gulf War (GW2) in March and April 2003. On impact, uranium penetrators burn fiercely to give an aerosol of sub micron diameter oxide particles which are largely insoluble and remain in the environment for many years. There is considerable public and scientific concern that these radioactive particles may remain suspended for long periods, or may become resuspended and are therefore available for inhalation by non combatants at some distance from the point of impact. Little research seems to have been carried out on the distance travelled by the uranium aerosols. The military maintain that the uranium remains near the point of impact, and the Royal Society report (2002) also states that the material does not travel more than some tens of metres. On the other hand, measurements of uranium in local populations in Kosovo some nine months after the use of uranium weapons all tested positive for depleted uranium in urine (Priest 2004) and The United Nations (UNEP) found uranium particles in air filters in Bosnia some years after its use. The question of the dispersion of uranium aerosols from the battlefield is of significant legal interest, since if a radioactive weapon resulted in the general contamination of the public in the country of deployment or elsewhere, the weapon would be classifiable as one of indiscriminate effect. There is now conceded to be no safe level of exposure to radiation. Further, there are major scientific questions over the risk models used to assess the health effects of uranium particle exposure from weapons use. In addition there is evidence of ill health in many of those exposed to uranium particles from Gulf veterans to the population of Iraq. In this paper we examine the trend in uranium shown by the measurements made on high volume air sampler filter systems deployed by the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston Berkshire UK. AWE have been routinely monitoring uranium in air since the early 1990s but since 2000 have carried out filter determinations from high volume air samplers (HVAS) every two weeks. They were required to set up these monitors in the late 1980s following the discovery of a child leukaemia cluster near the plant. There are monitors onsite but they also deploy them at various other sites some 15km distance from the plant. We have obtained their results using the Freedom of Information Act. Examination of the trends in uranium reported here show that there was a statistically significant increase in uranium in all the filters beginning at the start of GW2 and ending when it ended. Levels in the town of Reading exceeded the Environment Agency Reporting threshold of 1000nBq/m3 twice during the period. We report the weather conditions at the time and show that over the period there was a consistent flow of air from Iraq northwards and that the UK was in the centre of a anticyclone which drew air in from the south and from the south east. On the basis of the mean increase in uranium in air of about 500nBq/m3 we use respiration data on standard man to calculate that each person in the area inhaled some 23 million uranium particles of diameter 0.25 microns. We suggest that health data, particularly birth data be examined for possible effects from this exposure. As far as we know, this is the first evidence that uranium aerosols from battle use have been shown to travel so far.

Keywords: uranium, depleted uranium, particles, Gulf War 2, geophysical, dispersion, Aldermaston

Click here for Sunday Times report of 19th February 2006

Dan Fahey attacked Green Audit's report. We reply. [There's a link to the Fahey crit on the next page.]

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