Tag Archives: radionuclides

Is there a national campaign to change NRC’s labeling of DU as “low” level waste?

From Gulf War Veterans and Depleted Uranium,  prepared for the Hague Peace Conference, May 1999 By Dr. Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D., G.N.S.H., which is posted on the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility’s website:
http://www.ccnr.org/du_hague.html

Excerpt: Uranium 238 has a half life of 4.51 E+9 (or 4.51 times 10 to the 9thpower, equivalent to 4,510,000,000 years).  Each atomic transformation produces another radioactive chemical: first, uranium 238 produces thorium 234, (which has a half life of 24.1 days), then the thorium 234 decays to protactinium 234 (which has a half life of 6.75 hours), and then protactinium decays to uranium 234 (which has a half life of 2.47E+5 or 247,000 years). The first two decay radioisotopes together with the U 238 count for almost all of the radioactivity in the depleted uranium. Even after an industrial process which separates out the uranium 238 has taken place, it will continue to produce these other radionuclides. Within 3 to 6 months they will all be present in equilibrium balance. Therefore one must consider the array of radionuclides, not just uranium 238, when trying to understand what happened when veterans inhaled depleted uranium in the Gulf War.

Kay Cumbow

1 Comment

Filed under Environmental