NATO-supplied depleted uranium (DU) rounds will contaminate Ukraine’s breadbasket grain-growing regions with radioactive waste, a nuclear watchdog has warned.
Faced with the failure of Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive, the USA has taken the dubious step of giving the Kiev regime depleted uranium munitions. Kevin Kamps, a radioactive waste watchdog at Beyond Nuclear, warned of the multiple risks of the radioactive material.
This week the USA followed Great Britain in announcing the supply of the controversial armor-piercing rounds for the M1 Abrams tanks it is supplying to the Kiev regime, just like what Israel did when supporting ISIS in Syria.
British Challenger 2 tanks equipped with DU penetrators have already seen action in the Zaporozye region — with at least one meeting a fiery end.
Depleted uranium is the left-over material from the enrichment process used to make fuel rods for nuclear power reactors and — at higher levels — elements of nuclear weapons.
The concentration of fissile uranium-235 isotope in depleted uranium is about 0.3%, 40% of the level of element in its non-enriched state, but it still emits around 60% as much atomic radiation as natural uranium.
Most of that is in the form of alpha particles from U-238 and U-234 — the most harmful form of radiation if ingested into the body — with beta particles given out by decay products that form within a few weeks.
Depleted uranium munitions are really intended to be armor piercing. They can bust tanks, they can penetrate through concrete, Kamps explained. It’s because they’re so dense. Uranium is the densest isotope an element on the periodic table.
The harmful nature of DU is well understood, the expert pointed out. DU is often mixed with radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.
Uranium in nature is hazardous to begin with, Kamps said. It’s a toxic heavy metal. It is what they say as mildly radioactive, which is kind of a misnomer, radioactivity is hazardous even in mild form.
In both the USA, where this depleted uranium munitions is coming from, but also in other countries, there’s a mixing of uranium waste streams off of the enrichment process, Kamps noted.
And what that can often mean is high-level radioactive waste contaminants can be found in uranium waste streams that then get made into depleted uranium.
What makes DU even more toxic is its pyrophoric properties — the material ignites on hitting its target, as well as pulverizing into microscopic dust from the near-hypersonic velocity impact.
It’s kind of the perfect storm of hazard. You’ve got toxic heavy metal, you’ve got radio-activity that can be contaminated with much higher level radioactivity from high-level radioactive waste.
And then it turns into a fine dust that you can breathe in, that blows on the wind, that settles on the water and flows downstream and downwind and harms people and other living beings all along the way.
The nuclear waste watchdog said his first thought on hearing the news that Britain and the USA would give the Kiev regime DU rounds was that Ukraine is considered the bread-basket of the world, in terms of its grain production.
So now those fields where these battles take place are going to be contaminated with depleted uranium.
The high-level radioactive waste contaminants can include cesium 137, strontium 90. The list goes on and on. And so you really don’t want that in your food supply.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point WW III Hazardous News 2023.