posted on Apr, 16 2003 @ 06:55 PM
For the first time, I have to agree with Moku, this is a rather bad idea.
Dangerous Brian, I have been in the environmental field for the last 4 years, and have a bit of knowledge in this field: DU is extremely toxic if it
enters the bloodstream.
Like all heavy metals, DU is completely cumulative inside the human body, meaning that it goes in and becomes resident in your bodily tissue cells.
Some of the more common symptoms include sterility/sexual dysfunction, blood clotting/circulatory problems, blood anemia, loss of bone density, loss
of teeth, and severe mental problems.
The average DU weapon does in fact spall and release a cloud of micron sized DU particles on impact with an armored target. This certainly poses a
hazard for any workers who will be constructing anything in the immediate area, or will be otherwise stirring up the ground and making this dust
airborn (once airborn it does pose an inhalation hazard, and if inhaled will readily cause serious lung problems.)
I was interviewed by Halliburton for a position where I would be managing environmental problems associated with the oil fields in Iraq. Although it
was very lucrative, I declined for several reasons, not least of which was my concern for health and safety related to heavy metal contamination in
the fields, due to use of DU weapons.
If an armored conflict occurred in an area, and DU weapons were used, the likely way any kind of cleanup would go would be something like this:
First, widespread sampling of the soils to find and delineate where such contamination was located. If it was a large conflict, especially a large
tank battle, I can see hundreds of square km impacted.
Once you know where the contamination is, and how bad it is, you have to do something about it. If it is low enough level, you could simply cordon it
off and prohibit any excavation/construction, or any other activity that would stir the soil up (DU is very heavy and it takes a bit of activity to
make it airborn).
If construction or other activity is planned in the affected area, you only really have 2 choices: remove it (could easily reach hundreds of thousands
of cubic yards of material excavated, and where do you put it? Bury it all? And where do you find clean fill to replace it?) or simply overlay it and
seal it in place with asphalt/concrete or other material. But again, you could be talking hundreds of squard km.
I can easily see testing and remediation for battle fields running into the multiple billions, if not hundreds of billions of dollars.