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Mon, 14 Oct 2019
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Flashback! UK radiation jump blamed on Iraq Depleted Uranium shells

RADIATION detectors in Britain recorded a fourfold increase in uranium levels in the atmosphere after the "shock and awe" bombing campaign against Iraq, according to a report.

Environmental scientists who uncovered the figures through freedom of information laws say it is evidence that depleted uranium from the shells was carried by wind currents to Britain.

Cow Skull

Depleted uranium: How dangerous is it?

A former US military researcher tells Gay Alcorn of his crusade to expose the health risks of depleted-uranium weapons used in the Gulf wars.

Doug Rokke sits on the edge of his chair in a beige, could-be-anywhere hotel room in Carlton. He stares at you with an almost embarrassing intensity and is close to tears.

"It's lonely," he says slowly. "It's very lonely. I made a decision. I was given a job. I did my job. I learned something. I gave them an answer they didn't want. I became persona non grata. And the better parts of my life ended."

What remains is an obsession with proving he is right about the dangers of depleted uranium (DU) weapons. A waste produced from the uranium enrichment process, depleted uranium has become increasingly contentious since American and British militaries first used it in the 1991 Gulf War and, since then, in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Rokke, a health physicist who became the Pentagon's most senior DU expert during the first Gulf War, became convinced it had contaminated the battlefield and could be a factor in Gulf War Syndrome, the mysterious mix of illnesses that have afflicted returning soldiers. Rokke acknowledges DU's brilliance as a weapon - because it is an extremely dense metal that sharpens and burns as it hits its target, it is used on the ends of tank shells and missiles to penetrate steel and concrete much more easily than conventional weapons. But he also believes that he and the research team became contaminated. "Everybody is sick," he says. "We've all got rashes, respiratory and kidney problems. It's there; there are no two ways about it."

Rokke is a military veteran. He joined the US Air Force in 1967 and bombed Vietnam targets "before I could shave". Years later, with a master of science and expertise in environmental health, he was ordered to the Gulf to help protect American soldiers if chemical and biological weapons were used and, later, to oversee DU clean-up. He became convinced DU was causing illnesses such as cancer, and that the Pentagon was downplaying its dangers. When he went public with his views, he was sacked

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ATK bags $38 million tank ammo order for Depleted Uranium bombs

Based on a depleted-uranium penetrator, the West Virginia-produced round is billed as the most advanced armor-piercing kinetic-energy ordnance available.

"Its state-of-the-art composite sabot, propellant, and penetrator technologies give it outstanding accuracy and lethality," ATK said.

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How the US Learned to Love the Bomb (Again)

How do you feel about a nuclear weapon that could be launched from the back of a jeep?

The slightly bizarre idea of 'user-friendly' nuclear weapons. On the whole score of proliferation we're always hearing plenty about the dangers posed by the Irans and North Koreas of this world but, as we're about to see, while all that has been going on the US itself has been quietly beavering away on a program aimed at completely upgrading its nuclear arsenal, including the development of tactical weapons - mini-nukes that could be used on the battlefield.

(Click link above to view the interview. Click below to expand for Transcript)

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Global warming bubbles up from the ocean

Around 15 per cent of today's global warming is down to methane, but where does all this gas come from? Some at least could be bubbling up from an unlikely source - deep-sea volcanoes.

Until now, such volcanoes were thought to be a negligible source of atmospheric methane because everyone assumed the gas would oxidise long before it reached the surface. However, research on Håkon Mosby, a mud volcano 1250 metres down in the Norwegian Sea, has overturned this assumption.

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Pulse reveals beating heart of a supervolcano

"I DON'T think visitors appreciate that they're standing directly on top of the largest, most dynamic magmatic system on the planet," says geologist Daniel Dzurisin. While the supervolcano that is Yellowstone National Park won't be erupting any time soon, he and his colleagues have uncovered a surprising source of volcanic activity beneath tourists' feet, which was probably the reason trails had to be closed in 2003.

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'Curtain' Of 2 Million Bees Swarm Fla. House

A neighborhood in South Florida is asking for help after a swarm of more than 2 million bees was found at a nearby vacant house, according to a Local 6 News report.

An elderly man who lived inside the South Miami home died last year. And since his death, the house has deteriorated and become overrun with bees.

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Niger shuns 'bird flu' chickens

A day after deadly bird flu was confirmed in Niger, there are hardly any chickens on sale in the capital's markets.

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Southern Iran hit by strong quake

A powerful earthquake, registering 5.6, hits south-eastern Iran.

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World prepares for long battle with bird flu

PARIS (AFP) - France battled the first poultry outbreak of H5N1 bird flu in the European Union and Britain predicted it would soon be hit, as world experts gathered in Paris prepared for a long, hard battle against the deadly virus.