UNEP whitewashes DU in Balkans
A preliminary review of the UNEP report
and full critique
The most interesting aspect is the contents of a rainwater pond which was analysed by Bristol University and also by the Swedish RPI. The Bristol team filtered the pond water sample through a 0.2 micron filter, the Swedes did not, and they got very different results:Bristol University (sample no. UNEP 128) 7.79 e-5 mg/KgThe difference is 1.6 e-4 Mg/l.
Swedish RPI (sample no. UNEP 327) 2.38 e-4 mg/Kg
This means that the rainfall/ run-off water contained this amount of Uranium in the form of particles larger that 0.2 microns. The mass of a Uranium Oxide particle of diameter 1.0 micron is about 5 e-9 mg. If you divide this figure into the mass of 1.6 e-4 Mg you get about 32,000 particles of diameter 1.0 microns per litre.
Since the other water sources sampled - streams and wells - do not show this it suggests that this pond is fed by rainwater, unfiltered through soil, and that the rainwater contains many particles.
Samples from an LLRC field trip in Kosovo in January have been analysed.
Analysis results All point to the resuspension of Uranium in the atmosphere, probably because of the influence of sunlight. There is very likely to be a cycle of rain and snow washing the dust out of the air, followed by resuspension when it dries.
The various isotopic ratios present in UNEP's sample point to the same widespread particle resuspension and atmospheric cycling. We will show these in our review of the UNEP report.
It is interesting that UNEP did not do any atmospheric sampling. Why is this? They knew that there is great interest in the dust, they knew they might encounter windblown dust and they went equipped with face masks. But they undertook no air monitoring at all.
Neither did they report any alpha measurements although they did have some instruments capable of the latter. In fact they report no radiation levels at all. LLRC found widespread contamination and has reported beta count per second, but UNEP reports none. Presumably they have set the threshold level of interest too high.
As usual with these reports, the conclusions and summary don't fit the results in the tables, and in this case the printed version of the report given to journalists does not even contain the tables of results (but they are on the downloadable version of the report at appendix 10) [NOTE: This link to the UNEP web site is no longer active. We are seeking an explanation.]
The tables show enormously high levels of DU near the fighting points (up to 260,000Bq/kg in surface soil) and the isotope ratios show very widespread contamination. None of this is alluded to in the text.
and of course THIS increase in cancer was outside their remit......
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This page was last updated May 2001