Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What is Depleted Uranium and What Can You Do About It?

My friends at Democracy Now Tricities, the Stop DU Campaign, First Tennessee Progressives, the Christian Peacemaker Teams, and Concerned Tennessee Citizens have informed me about the following:

AN UNPRECEDENTED CONFERENCE AND peaceful protest encampment focusing on the manufacturing of depleted uranium (DU) weapons in Appalachia will be taking place in Johnson City and Jonesborough, TN, on May 18-27.
The conference, entitled DU: from Appalachia to Afghanistan to Iraq, is scheduled for May 19th and will feature Pentagon whistleblower Doug Rokke, Afghani social scientist Dr. Mohammed Daud Miraki (author of Afghanistan After Democracy) as well as inspirational writer and speaker Cathy Garger. The only cost for this conference is a $15 lunch/registration fee.

The peaceful protest encampment, which is linked to the conference, will take place in Jonesborough from May 18 to 27, on private property across from Aerojet Ordnance, which is the Pentagon's largest supplier of DU weapons, producing about 60 percent of all DU penetrator bullets.

To find out more about the conference, the encampment, DU weapons, and to register today for either or both events, please click here. (Link)
What is Depleted Uranium (DU)? When I Dogpiled "Depleted Uranium" the first hit was the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). You can read what they say about DU here. Wikipedia has an extensive entry here. This is the entry from the World Health Organization.

In a nutshell: From the World Health Organization:

Uranium (U) is used primarily as fuel material in nuclear power plants. However, most reactors require uranium in which the 235U content is enriched from its naturally occurring concentration. The uranium remaining after removal of the enriched fraction is referred to as depleted uranium (DU). DU is weakly radioactive and a radiation dose from it would be about 60% of that from purified natural uranium with the same mass. It is used in armour penetrating military ordinance because of its high density, and also in the manufacture of defensive armour plate. (Read More)

It is the leftover after a nuclear reaction. This stuff is extremely hard. But it is difficult to find uses for it save for armor and bullets. OK, so what? Well, it is still radioactive. After an explosion this dust goes into the air. What happens to soldiers and civilians who are exposed to it? That is the big question. The WHO seems to downplay the effects of DU.

Yet others seem to suggest that this is dangerous stuff and has had detrimental effects on those who are exposed to it. Stop NATO: Depleted Uranium Watch is one such organization. Aerojet in Jonesborough, Tennessee produces armor and DU weapons. The conference at ETSU may help to answer some questions.

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