I checked the Navy Document from their own training material manual; and YES
for anyone who wants documentation, (or would continue to tell me I'm fear mongering)
they will be dropping DU in our skies and ocean and jet stream beginning tomorrow and
pretty much whenever they damn well want.
you gotta love how they can make Depleted Uranium sound virtually harmless.
I mean, that's some serious fictional literary talent
for anyone who doesn't know, DU has a half life of oh, maybe a million years, and it damages all living dna in unspeakable ways.
google DU and iraqi birth defects if you care to have your heartbroken.
Here you go!
Table 3.3-4: Hazardous Material Components of Training Materials
Oxidizers Lead oxide
Propellants Ammonium perchlorate
Fuses Potassium perchlorate
Fulminate of mercury
Primers Lead azide
Close-in weapons systems (CIWS) use 20 mm cannon shells composed of both depleted uranium (DU)
and tungsten. DU is “depleted” in that is has one-third less of the isotopes of U-234 and U-235, making it
nearly 60 percent less radioactive than natural uranium. Each 20mm round weighs 9 ounces (253 grams)
of which 2.5 ounces (70 grams) is depleted uranium. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
approved the Navy's license application which clearly stated that CIWS DU rounds would be fired at sea
and not recovered. Consultations with the NRC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
determined that this practice was acceptable because of the absence of environmental risk. The Navy is
currently phasing out use of DU rounds because of the superior flight characteristics of tungsten and its
performance against missile casings. The Navy’s transition to tungsten began in 1989 and most rounds
with depleted uranium have been replaced.
Uranium is a naturally occurring, slightly radioactive heavy metal found in many parts of the world.
Normal uranium concentration in seawater is three parts per billion. According to Hanson (1974),
uranium is soluble in oxygen-rich water, such as those found in the surface of the ocean. However, after
firing, DU rounds and fragments would fall into to the ocean bottom. Where DU rounds remain at the
seawater-bottom interface, the metal alloy would dissolve slowly over many years. Between mixing
through water movement and natural background levels, impacts would not be detectable. Where DU
rounds lodge in bottom sediments, the electro-chemical conditions common in such layers tends to
change uranium to a form that “has a high affinity for organic material.” Although saltwater would
corrode DU rounds, Hanson (1974) indicated that the resulting impacts would not be noticeable from
normal uranium levels in seawater. Whether at the sediment surface or lodged more deeply, exposure of
DU to marine life would be low.
Hanson (1974) indicated that bioaccumulation of uranium up through the food chain did not appear to
occur. A recent report investigated the presence of depleted uranium in marine waters off the southern
coast of England in an area used for test firing of DU rounds (Toque 2006). Approximately 68,340
pounds (31 metric tonnes) of DU was fired off the southern coast of England between 1982 and 2003.
NORTHWEST TRAINING RANGE COMPLEX DRAFT EIS/OEIS DECEMBER 2008
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS 3.3-10
Sampling was done of intertidal and ocean bottom sediments, as well as seaweed, mussels, and locallycaught
lobster and scallops. Results did not indicate the presence of depleted uranium.
Fate of Hazardous Materials
Three things generally happen to materials that come to rest on the ocean floor: 1) they lodge in sediments
where there is little or no oxygen (below four inches [10 cm]); 2) they remain on the ocean floor and
begin to react with seawater; or 3) they remain on the ocean floor and become encrusted by marine
organisms. Rates of deterioration depend on the material and conditions in the immediate marine and
benthic environment. Buried deep in ocean sediments, materials tend to decompose at much lower rates
than when exposed to seawater (Ankley 1996). With the exception of torpedo guide wires and sonobuoy
parts, sediment burial appears to be the fate of most ordnance used in marine warfare (CFMETR 2005).
Metals. When exposed to seawater, metals begin to corrode. This process creates a layer of corroded
material around the object. This removes the material from direct exposure to the corrosiveness of
seawater, a process that further slows movement of the metals into the adjacent sediments and water
column. This is particularly true of aluminum. In a similar fashion, as materials become covered by
marine creatures, the direct exposure of the material to seawater decreases and the rate of corrosion
decreases. Dispersal of these materials in the water column is controlled by physical mixing and
diffusion, both of which tend to vary with time and location. A recent study of similar Canadian military
activities in the Strait of Georgia found few chemical or biological impacts as a result of debris released
during activities (CFMETR 2005).
Explosives. TNT degrades to dinitrotoluene (DNT) and subsequent degradation products from exposure
to sunlight (photolysis) or bacteria (biodegradation). RDX is also subject to photolysis and biodegradation
once exposed to the environment. When exposed on the ocean floor, RDX breaks down within a few
hours (DoN 2001). Military-grade explosives have low water solubility, meaning that they do not readily
dissolve in water and are, therefore, relatively immobile in water (Table 3.3-5). The degradation and
dissolution of these materials may be further slowed by the physical structure and composition of blended
explosives, which contain multiple chemical compounds and binding agents. Because of these factors,
explosives in the marine environment appear to pose little risk to the environment.
Based on the preceding discussion and the location of military activities under the various alternatives, the
following habitats may be impacted by hazardous materials: 1) open ocean habitat – surface and
subsurface (pelagic) areas; 2) open ocean habitat – bottom dwelling (benthic) communities; and 3)
nearshore habitat, including bottom-dwelling algaes (e.g., kelp forests) and seagrass beds Specific
impacts to specific resources are detailed in other sections: geology and soils – Section 3.1; water
resources – Section 3.4; and marine invertebrates and plants