Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Radioactive Danger: It's Not Just Coming from Japan

by Daisy and NinaO

Fukushima is not the only source of the deadly radiation threatening Americans.  The danger is much closer to home than you might think, and it's endorsed, subsidized and cloaked in secrecy by our own government.

The United States is being poisoned by the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, to name two of the culprits.  Depleted uranium, a dangerous material prohibited by the United Nations General assembly, is seeping into our soil, water and air.  It is being transported by ship, truck and train.  Across the country, depleted uranium is being used, stored, processed or buried. 

This map shows the locations of depleted uranium facilities in the United States.. If you are unfortunate enough to be downwind of any of these places, radioactive "hot rain" could be in your future.  If you are in the continental United States, then you are likely to be in the proximity of one or more sources of DU.  Not pictured on this map are Honolulu, Hawaii and Vieques, Puerto Rico.  This map is from 1995 - since then we've spent 10 years at war using unlimited DU ammunition and weapons.

Source:  US Army Environmental Policy Institute




1Aerojet Ordnance CompanyChino, California
2Aerojet Ordnance TennesseeJonesboro, Tennessee
3Detroit Army Tank PlantWarren, Michigan
4Lima Army Tank PlantLima, Ohio
5Martin Marrietta Energy Systems
Milan Army Ammunition Plant
Milan, Tennessee
6Mason and Hanger at Iowa Army Ammunition PlantMiddletown, Iowa
7National Manufacturing CorporationSt. Louis, Missouri
8Starmet Corporation, formerly known as Nuclear Metals, Inc. Concord, Massachusetts
9Olin Ordnance CorporationRed Lion, Pennsylvania
10Specific Manufacturing Capability Facility Idaho National Engineering LaboratoryIdaho Falls, Idaho
11Tank Automotive CommandWarren, Michigan
12Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant,
Alliant Tech Systems
New Brighton, Minnesota
13White Sands Missile RangeGreen River, Utah
14White Sands Missile RangeWhite Sands, New Mexico
R & D and Test Firing Sitesback to map
15Army Research LaboratoryAPG, Maryland
16Battelle Pacific Northwest LabsRichland, Washington
17Energetic Materials Research and Technology Center, formerly known as the Terminal Effects Research and Analysis(TERA) facilitySocorro, New Mexico
18Ethan Allen Firing Range (General Electric)Burlington, Vermont
19Jefferson Proving GroundMadison, Indiana
20Los Alamos National LaboratoryLos Alamos, New Mexico
21Manufacturing Sciences Corp.Oak Ridge, Tennessee
22Nevada Test SiteMercury, Nevada
23Picatinny ArsenalDover, New Jersey
24Sandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerque, New Mexico
25Tonopah Test RangeTonopah, Nevada
26US Army Combat Systems Test ActivityAPG, Maryland
27Yuma Proving GroundYuma, Arizona
Storage and Storage/Demilitarization Sitesback to map
28Defense Consolidation FacilitySnelling, South Carolina
29Hawthorne Army Ammunition PlantHawthorne, Nevada
30Hunter Army AirfieldSavanna, Georgia
31Letterkenny Army DepotChambersberg, Pennsylvania
32McAlester Army Ammunition PlantMcAlester, Oklahoma
33Savanna Army DepotSavanna, Illinois
34Seneca Army Depot ActivityRomulus, New York
35Sierra Army DepotHerlong, California
36Tooele Army DepotTooele, Utah
37US Army Armament Munitions and Chemical CommandRock Island, Illinois
38Watervliet ArsenalAlbany, New York
Processing Sitesback to map
39Carolina MetalsBarnwell, South Carolina
40Sequoyah Fuels CorporationGore, Oklahoma
Waste Disposal Sitesback to map
41Chem-Nuclear Systems Waste Management FacilityBarnwell, South Carolina
42Envirocare of Utah, Inc.Clive, Utah
43US EcologyHanford, Washington
Former DU Use or Storage Sites, and Sites Being Decommissionedback to map
44Alliant Tech Systems, Inc.Elk river, Minnesota
45Army Research LaboratoryWatertown, Massachusetts
46Camp Roberts Military ReservationBradley, California
47Chamberlain ManufacturingWaterloo, Iowa
48China Lake Naval Weapons Center Alliant Tech SystemsRidgecrest, California
49Ford Aerospace and Communications Corp.San Juan Capistrano, California
50Fort HoodKilleen, Texas
51Fort RileyJunction City, Kansas
52Fort StewartHinesville, Georgia
53Lake City Army Ammunition PlantIndependence, Missouri
54National Lead IndustriesColonie, New York
Otherback to map
55Nellis Air Force Firing Range
*Not mentioned in the Army Technical Report, but still in use
Nevada



Another processing facility is being built in Hobbs, New Mexico. This will be the first commercially owned processing facility.
"Idaho Falls-based International Isotopes Inc. is in the licensing and design phase of an environmentally friendly, green technology, uranium de-conversion and fluorine extraction processing facility near Hobbs, N.M."
                                                                          ~ Idaho Statesman

(Well, of course, if it's an environmentally friendly plant to process deadly toxic waste, then that's a different story.)

So, what is depleted uranium and why is it so bad?

Depleted Uranium 101

Depleted Uranium (DU) is nuclear waste. Uranium naturally occurs as three different isotopes: U234, U235 and U238. U235 is fissionable, which means that U235 is so unstable that firing neutrons at it can produce a self-sustaining series of nuclear reactions, releasing huge amounts of energy. This is the basis of nuclear weapons and nuclear power.

Before U235 can be used, it must be concentrated as it only makes up a small proportion of naturally occurring uranium - around 0.7%.  After natural uranium has had most of the U235 removed from it, it is called ‘depleted uranium’.

Depleted Uranium is both chemically toxic and radioactive.  When DU burns it becomes a dust made of two oxides.  The distribution of particle sizes includes sub-micron particles that are readily inhaled into and retained by the lungs. From the lungs, uranium compounds are deposited in the lymph nodes, bones, brain and testes. Hard targets hit by DU penetrators are surrounded by this dust and surveys suggest that it can travel many kilometres when re-suspended, as is likely in arid climates. The dust can then be inhaled or ingested by civilians and the military alike.




Complicit with the United States government, local leaders are allowing the FOR-PROFIT storage, use and processing of these deadly toxins.

Depleted uranium processing is a big business.  A toxic waste product, due to it's extreme density (twice that of lead) it can be processed to be used in many ways:

munitions
defense armor plating
armour penetrating military ordnance
material for the nuclear fuel industry
aircraft ballast
shielding
oil well drilling equipment
radiation shields in medical radiation therapy machines

The DOE has also proposed using DU to reinforce concrete and other building materials. 

Not only do we need to worry about the high levels of radiation from the Fukushima disaster - we must also worry about the radiation being quietly emitted from our own soil.  We must worry about radioactive rain that has originated from within our borders.  Our water is being poisoned, our crops are growing in tainted soil and the very air we breathe contains radioactive particles.

Radiation poisoning can have a wide variety of effects on the human body.  According to the ICBUW, "In one day, one microgram, (one millionth of a gram), of pure DU can release 1000 alpha particles. Each particle is charged with more than four million electron volts of energy; this goes directly into whichever organ or tissue it is lodged in. It only requires 6 to 10 electron volts to break a DNA strand in a cell....radiation damaged cells show increased rates of mutations: the precursor to cancer growth. Ionizing radiation is a human carcinogen at every dose-level, not just at high doses; there is no threshold dose and any alpha particle can cause irreparable genetic damage."  Loosely translated, if it doesn't kill you with cancer before you reproduce, the children you conceive may be born with either serious genetic mutations or cancer.

Chemical toxicity occurs when depleted uranium is exposed to moisture in the air.  It reacts to create hydrogen fluoride and uranyl fluoride gas. Uranium is a heavy metal that can be toxic to the kidneys when taken internally. Hydrogen fluoride is a corrosive acid that can be very dangerous if inhaled.

Radiation sickness can either be acute or chronic.  Acute radiation sickness occurs after a large one-time exposure.  Chronic radiation sickness occurs from a build-up of low-level radiation that accumulates in the body.

According to the Mayo Clinic website:

"The absorbed dose of radiation is measured in a unit called a gray (Gy). Diagnostic tests that use radiation, such as an X-ray, result in a small dose of radiation — typically well below 0.1 Gy, focused on a few organs or small amount of tissue.

Signs and symptoms of radiation sickness usually appear when the entire body receives an absorbed dose of at least 1 Gy. Doses greater than 6 Gy to the whole body are generally not treatable and usually lead to death within two days to two weeks, depending on the dose and duration of the exposure.

The initial signs and symptoms of treatable radiation sickness are usually nausea and vomiting. The amount of time between exposure and when these symptoms develop is an indicator of how much radiation a person has absorbed.

After the first round of signs and symptoms, a person with radiation sickness may have a brief period with no apparent illness, followed by the onset of new, more serious symptoms."

Early symptoms of radiation sickness
Mild exposure (1-2 Gy) Moderate exposure (2-6 Gy) Severe exposure (6-8 Gy) Very severe exposure (8-10 Gy or higher)
Nausea and vomiting Within 6 hours Within 2 hours Within 1 hour Within 10 minutes
Diarrhea -- Within 8 hours Within 3 hours Within 1 hour
Headache -- Within 24 hours Within 4 hours Within 2 hours
Fever -- Within 3 hours Within 1 hour Within 1 hour
Later symptoms of radiation sickness
Dizziness and disorientation-- --Within 1 weekImmediate 
Weakness, fatigue Within 4 weeksWithin 1-4 weeksWithin 1 weekImmediate 
Hair loss, bloody vomit and stools, infections, poor wound healing, low blood pressure -- Within 1-4 weeks Within 1 week Immediate

Source: Adapted from "Bushberg JT. Radiation exposure and contamination. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals" and "Upton AC. Radiation injury. In: Goldman L, et al., eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007."

Treatment for radiation sickness depends upon the exposure.

For acute exposure, the initial treatment is "decontamination".  According to the Mayo Clinic website, removing your clothing and shoes reduces your exposure by up to 90%.  The skin is then washed with soap and water. The length of time between exposure and decontamination is directly proportionate to the amount of radiation exposure. 

When seeking medical care, preventative treatment will focus on reducing the damage to blood-producing bone marrow.

Internal contamination is caused by particles being inhaled or eaten.  Treatments include medication to shield the thyroid as well as medications that "bind" to the radioactive particles to help remove them from the body.

Even after death, the human body retains "hot particles" - ionized particles of radiation.  Cremation of the body leads to a high risk of environmental contamination.  Remains should be decontaminated and then buried in a sealed metal casket, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

It was very difficult to find information when researching depleted uranium on US soil.  If Google (allegedly allied with the NSA) could be trusted, we would be led to believe that no one, in any of the locations above, has ever protested the location of these facilities near their homes or their children's schools.  We'd also believe that no viable studies have been performed in areas around these facilities and toxic waste dumps.

This leaves us with only hypotheses and a lot of question marks.  We, as concerned citizens, can summarize the following information:

  1. There are numerous facilities across the United States that possess depleted uranium.
  2. Depleted uranium is both chemically toxic and radioactive.
  3. Radioactive isotopes cause genetic mutations and cancer when inhaled, consumed or absorbed through the skin.
  4. There is big money being made from the processing and storage of depleted uranium.
  5. The mainstream media is not talking about depleted uranium (another media blackout)
  6. The use of depleted uranium in weapons is prohibited by Draft Convention on the prohibition of development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of uranium weapons and on their destruction. It is considered a violation of the UN Convention on Human Rights. 
There must be an awakening of the social conscience.  A toxin that is recognized as deadly, environmentally disastrous and inhumane in use as a weapon by the vast majority of the world has no place being produced, used and stored in our country. We must hold our politicians and captains of industry accountable for the poisons they pour into our environment.   We must hold them responsible for harming the ecosystem and quite literally mutating the DNA structures of humans, plants and animals.

We must look closer to home than Fukushima for the sources of deadly radiation in the United States.  The danger is within our own borders, stamped with a seal of approval and heartily endorsed by our own government.

Co-author:  NinaO

sources and information:

Depleted Uranium: Uses and Hazards

6700 Tons of Radioactive Material Shipped from Kuwait to Idaho

International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons

Depleted Uranium and the Poisoning of Humanity

Radiation Sickness

Depleted Uranium Storage and Processing Facilities

Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War

8 comments:

  1. Thanks Daisy and NinaO,

    I've got three in my backyard as I'm in SC. Montana looks good!

    Y'all Beware!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Y'all!!! Thanks for stopping by! You take care over there!

      D

      Delete
  2. Kevin says- Great job again guys. A couple points, and a personel point.. 1- We all know that list is incomplete. 2- The feds say all the radioactive soil in the colorado river gets "watered down"(I love that one) 3- For YEARS, people who have worked out at the test site just fall over dead. Personel note-I have family that worked out there and sometimes he just sits there and does a wierd shake(ing). I visited the district of criminals about 10 years ago, and the people I was with didn't understand why I just sat there spitting on the epa's sign in front of their building. Man, that felt right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Kev!!! Thanks for coming over to say hi! And thank you also for the kind words. It was difficult to find much information on this subject - that's for sure. The Big Kahunas want to keep it quiet.

      I'm definitely not a fan of the EPA, either.

      Have a great day!

      D

      Delete
  3. Ok so radiation dose reduced but using serial USS or physical exams wouldnt reduce neg appy rate? Radiation badge
    already saying its about 10% with USS, repeating this wouldnt help?
    I guess what I am saying is radiation risk is sorta an unknown. is there someway we can reduce this risk until we know more about it?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi there, I would just like to say thanks for this article! I used to live in ridgecrest, California (right by death valley and China lake) and I was too young to notice all the weird things that went on. We would all get sick once a month or every other month (yes, the whole town) and my dad was certain it was radiation poison or some sort of it. We were stationed there for 2 years, and let's just say that the town was a strange place to be. We'll really never know what goes on in the desert...

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