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Saturday morning, April 15, 2006, I was listening to a favourite radio station, Malaspina College radio CHLY-FM, from Nanaimo. They were interviewing Leuren Moret, a geophysicist from Berkeley CA, who had worked at US nuclear labs.
She went on for 40 minutes about the horrors of depleted uranium (DU) in munitions, which releases radiation into the atmosphere and its medical effects on, for instance, the first Gulf War veterans, where it was first used in quantity. Over 500,000 out of 700,000 vets are now on disability for something called “Gulf War Syndrome,” a ‘disease’ with many symptoms identical to radiation sickness. Or the test range off Vieques, Puerto Rica, where the residents are suing the US Navy for all the cancer, etc. That test range was finally moved to Rockhampton, Australia, where birth defects are starting to show up. Part way through the interview, she said, “The US navy used to test fire these munitions in Puget Sound until the local residents complained. They then moved north across the border to Nanoose Bay and now test in Canadian waters!”
Nanoose Bay means the Whiskey Gulf test range which is only 30 miles southeast of where I was sitting.
I had just been told I was 30 miles downwind of a nuclear test zone!
DEPLETED URANIUM HAZARD
The Pentagon has sent mixed signals about the effects of depleted uranium, saying there have been no known health problems associated with the munition. At the same time, the military acknowledges the hazards in an Army training manual, which requires that anyone who comes within 25 meters of any DU-contaminated equipment or terrain wear respiratory and skin protection, and says that "contamination will make food and water unsafe for consumption."
But Milner says, "It just makes sense that if DU can contaminate land and get into the food chain, then it would do the same thing in the sea."