Stop Uranium Wars

this Site is maintained by the Pandora DU research Project, which is part of the Stop Uranium Wars coalition. The aim is to publicise and make available information on the uranium weapons subject, plus making resources and data available to be used by groups and individuals in the campaign.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Australian Gulf War Veterans contaminated with Uranium

Australian service personnel who served in the Gulf during 1991
have tested positive for uranium contamination. The Uranium Medical
Research Centre (UMRC) in Canada, working in conjunction with DUSK
Australia (Depleted Uranium Silent Killer) has tested a
representative from the Australian Navy and a representative from
the Australian Army. The uranium isotope analysis on their urine
was carried out at the J.W. Goethe University in Germany and
confirms depleted uranium

To date, the Australian Government has not acknowledged the
possibility that Australian service personnel could be contaminated
with uranium. However, scientific research reveals that Iraq is
highly contaminated with the radioactive fallout from depleted
uranium weapons. The positive tests of these Australian veterans,
reveals that they are still excreting uranium through their
kidneys, fifteen years after their return from Gulf War 1.

The Australian veterans in this test case are ill. They exhibit
multiple health problems from their exposure to radiological
warfare. Their intimate partners suffer health problems and so do
their children. The contamination of Iraq has resulted in an
explosion of cancer, leukaemia and birth defects among the local
civilian population.

Depleted uranium is highly toxic and radioactive waste. It is a by-
product of the enrichment process that prepares uranium for use in
nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. This radioactive waste is
denser and heavier than lead. It is manufactured into bunker
busters that can penetrate deep into the earth and into the most
powerful anti tank weapons available in the arms market today.

The Australian debate about embracing nuclear power technology, has
omitted the inextricable link between uranium mining and uranium
weapons. The proliferation of nuclear weapons causes concern, but
depleted uranium weapons, are used daily in conflicts across the

The nuclear industry exists on the understanding that radioactive
contamination is safely contained within nuclear facilities. The
ethics of recycling radioactive waste into weapons and shooting it
into another countries' backyard is missing from this debate. When
depleted uranium weapons are fired, they immediately flare off
uranium particles that can be ingested and inhaled. They lodge in
the lung and other organs, irradiating the victim from the inside.

There are repercussions for all Australians now that Australian
service personnel have tested positive for uranium contamination.
The Uranium Medical Research Centre is concerned about blood
products and organ donations from persons known or suspected to be
exposed to depleted uranium.

Uranium weapons are illegal. They fail the four rules derived from
the whole of humanitarian law regarding weapons.

1. Weapons may only be used in the legal field of battle.
2. Weapons can only be used for the duration of the armed conflict.
3. Weapons must not be unduly inhumane
4. Weapons may not have an unduly negative effect on the natural

Depleted uranium is radioactive for 4.5 billion years.

Therefore, uranium weapons cannot be contained on the legal
battlefield, nor within the timeframe of the battle. The birth
defects exhibited by babies born after the conflict and the
explosion of cancers afflicting civilians is evidence of the
inhumanity of these weapons. The radioactive particles will drift
across countries and around the world, contaminating air, water,
soil and all life forms.

Australians are at risk at home. The Senate Hansard reveals that we
have imported from the United States 34,000 depleted uranium
weapons. The Australian Navy has used these weapons in training off
the Australian coast. There are no records available to the public
to identify `when or where' these weapons were expended. Wind
patterns at the time of the training exercises would reveal
communities at risk of contamination.

In 2003 the Australian Government opened up all of our defence
training areas to the United States. There is ship to shore and air
to ground bombing near Perth in Western Australia at the Lancelin
Defence Training Area. In January 2006 the United States began
flying in from Guam for regular bombing of the Northern Territory.
This occurs just west of Katherine at the Delemere bombing range.
The Shoalwater Bay defence training area in Queensland includes a
section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It will host the
largest joint Australian US military training exercise in June,
Talisman Sabre 2007.

The Australian Government is adamant that no uranium weapons are
being used, however no testing of water and soil is being done to
reassure the public that uranium weapons have not and will not be
used. The Australian Defence Force has purchased the M1A1 tank that
is shielded in depleted uranium. The patent of the Hellfire 11
missile reveals a "dense metal" warhead of tungsten or uranium
alloy. It is being imported from the United States for use with the
Australian Tiger Helicopter, currently being manufactured in

As a result of the uranium contamination of Australian Army and
Navy personnel, it is time for Australia to rethink the export of
uranium. Government safeguards assuring us that Australian uranium
is only used for `peaceful' purposes are simply an illusion of
protection. Once our uranium is exported, it can be mixed with
uranium from other countries. In the gaseous diffusion that
separates enriched and depleted uranium, it is not possible to
isolate Australia's uranium. We export uranium to
the United States, the world's largest manufacturer and exporter of

Estimates reveal that up to 800 tons of radioactive waste (depleted
uranium) was dumped on Iraq during Gulf War 1. There is an estimate
of about 1,100 tons used in Gulf War 2 and the bombing continues.

How many Australian service personnel are contaminated?
How will this affect the Australian civilian population?
It is time to take seriously the undiagnosed illnesses of
Australian Gulf War veterans who have been deployed to a
radioactive theatre of war.It is time to address the sickness of
their partners and their children.It is time to look carefully at
what is happening on Australia's defence training areas. From
uranium mines to uranium weapons: Has Australia's uranium
unleashed a public health catastrophe?

Pauline Rigby

DUSK/ UMRC project to test Australian veterans for uranium
DUSK (Depleted Uranium Silent Killer) Australia www.dusk-qld. info


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