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September 14, 2003

DenBeste Debunks DU

This one is for the archives, just in case I find myself surrounded by a bunch of loony environmentalists or people otherwise hysterical about DU.

While it's reasonable to not want to be around any amount of battlefield debris, DU is no worse than any other.

The radon being emitted today from uranium in the soil comes from ex-uranium atoms which emitted their first alpha particles thousands of years ago. Before U-238 can reach radon, it has to pass through U-234 (half life 240 kiloyears) and Thorium 230 (77 kiloyears). U-235, which is vastly reduced in DU compared to naturally occurring uranium (it's the U-235 that's "depleted"), passes through protactinium 231 (33 kiloyears) before reaching radon. Therefore, refined DU does not emit radon in detectable quantities and will not do so during my lifetime (or a hundred times my lifetime).

It doesn't get much more clear than that.

Posted by mbowen at September 14, 2003 05:33 PM

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I appreciate the link, but I think you got the wrong one. Was it supposed to be this one?


Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 14, 2003 11:55 PM