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rthmjohn

Uranium bullets

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(This is a completely different topic from Edwards)

 

My friend once told me that during the Gulf war, US government issued uranium bullets to its soldiers. After the war, there was so much spent ammo in that soil in Iraq and Kuwait, that it was unsafe to inhabit, so our government just buried all of it in a layer of sand. This story sounded absurd to me, but is it even possible to make uranium bullets, and were they ever commisssioned for use in arms?

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Yes, they use depleted uranium because it is extremely dense (its used shielding for more radioactive elements). However, uranium is overrated as far as being radioactive goes. I doubt its going to effect anything under a few feet of sand.

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The problem is that they fragment to such a degree that you are left with lots of radioactive dust. Whilst the radioactivity is not high, the dust gets everywhere, skin pores, lungs etc. This is bad.

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Besides the radioactivity, uranium also is very toxic from a chemical point of view, both as an element in the form of very fine powder, and in its compounds. Uranium toxicity is comparable to lead and mercury toxicity.

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The U.S. military uses the DU(depleted uranium) round as a tank buster.

It's a saboted round that leaves the muzzle at 1500 m/sec. After leaving

the muzzle, the sabots fly off like a shot cup in a shotgun round. This

sends a dense, relatively "needle-like" projectile with a high ballistic

coefficient flying into the enemy tank. The kinetic energy damages the

enemy tank severly, often blowing off the turret. The DU ignites after impact

creating uranium oxide. IIRC, the poisoning from the fine metal dust and

and oxide was referred as "Gulf War Syndrome". I don't know of any rifle

bullets constructed of DU.

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there are indeed riffle rounds made of the same, even the clips have the Radiation danger symbol on them as do the shell casings in most instances (although some do not, quite deliberately).

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Unfortunately, our .50 cal and .308 ap still use a tungsten core. And the m855 ball round has a steel core.

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Besides the radioactivity, uranium also is very toxic from a chemical point of view, both as an element in the form of very fine powder, and in its compounds. Uranium toxicity is comparable to lead and mercury toxicity.

 

All heavy metal dusts are toxic.

Depleted uranium is considered pretty much non-radioactive, not much above the background level anyway.

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But bismuth is a heavy metal and it's not toxic at all. Then again, there always has to be an exception. ;)

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But bismuth is a heavy metal and it's not toxic at all. Then again, there always has to be an exception. ;)

 

This says "Bismuth is a heavy metal that is relatively non-toxic to humans in comparison to the metals and metalloids surrounding it in the periodic table " (emphasis added)

 

Which isn't quite the same as "not toxic at all"

 

The article goes on to mention that "bismuth is toxic to many prokaryotes, and bismuth compounds have been used for more than 200 years to treat ailments such as syphilis, diarrhea resulting from bacterial infections (bismuth subsalicylate is the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol)"

 

So any prokaryotes on these froums should be sure to know that your advice certainly doesn't apply to them. ;)

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This says "Bismuth is a heavy metal that is relatively non-toxic to humans in comparison to the metals and metalloids surrounding it in the periodic table " (emphasis added)

 

Which isn't quite the same as "not toxic at all"

 

The article goes on to mention that "bismuth is toxic to many prokaryotes' date=' and bismuth compounds have been used for more than 200 years to treat ailments such as syphilis, diarrhea resulting from bacterial infections (bismuth subsalicylate is the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol)"

 

So any prokaryotes on these froums should be sure to know that your advice certainly doesn't apply to them. ;)[/quote']

 

Sodium chloride is usually regarded as non toxic. But the LD50 (oral, rat) for NaCl is about 3g/kg of body weight. So it is not as "non toxic" as it seems. The corresponding LD50 for metallic bismuth is 5g/kg, consequently less toxic tham NaCl.

 

Actually, it is not at all easy to get poisoned by bismuth. The metal is not absorbed through skin, it is insoluble in body fluids, it is non volatile.

 

Even a rusty iron nail is more toxic than a piece of bismuth!

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Well, I've been told that depleted uranium is used for shielding in modern tanks. I've also been told that when you put people in those tanks, the water and carbon in their flesh does not moderate the fast neutrons emitted by the uranium, and this does not encourage chain reactions that make the sheathing more and more radioactive. Soldiers who inhale the dust from burning munitions do not experience burning when they ejaculate semen. They do not have mutated children from radioactive material that accumulates in their testicles. Depleted uranium does not still contain about 60 percent of the radioactivity of the original. Even though uranium rounds actually burn, people have not inhaled significant amounts of radionucleides because of this, and there are not poisonous quantities of uranium scattered around Iraq. The government is not hiding things from us, it is not soft-peddling the damages that have been done to our troops, all is right with the world.

 

Also, no uranium gets into tobacco from the phosphate mines in Florida. Even if any were left after processing, it does not stick to the leaves of tobacco, does not have all sorts of decay products, and does not cause lung cancer.

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just cause there are no mutant children does not mean they have not breathed in uranium dust(anyway radiation poisoning usually leads to sterility rather than mutation of potential offspring)

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Well, I've been told that depleted uranium is used for shielding in modern tanks. I've also been told that when you put people in those tanks, the water and carbon in their flesh does not moderate the fast neutrons emitted by the uranium, and this does not encourage chain reactions that make the sheathing more and more radioactive.

 

And what are the spontaneous and induced fission rates in depleted uranium, that we may count these neutrons. Or rather, what aren't the rates, so we may not count the neutrons?

 

(are you trying out for a part in this chapter of Catch-22?)

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I'm having a great deal of trouble understanding if his post is complete and utter sarcasm, his believed facts, or a combination of the two?

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Sodium chloride is usually regarded as non toxic. But the LD50 (oral' date=' rat) for NaCl is about 3g/kg of body weight. So it is not as "non toxic" as it seems. The corresponding LD50 for metallic bismuth is 5g/kg, consequently less toxic tham NaCl.

 

Actually, it is not at all easy to get poisoned by bismuth. The metal is not absorbed through skin, it is insoluble in body fluids, it is non volatile.

 

Even a rusty iron nail is more toxic than a piece of bismuth![/quote']

 

Ah! Thanks for quantifying it. Of course Bi has almost 3x the mass of NaCl, so from the standpoint of numbers of atoms, Bi is slightly more toxic. Potato, potahto. But "about as toxic as table salt" gives the proper scale to the whole issue.

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do hell with american government

I've seen the light! Where do I go to rescind my citizenship?

 

FYI, these semi demonic government officials who appear to be Hell beant on destroying the enviornment have instituted a so called, "Green Ammo" program.

Small arms program.

There have also been talks of replacing DU penetrators with less effective tungsten.

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I'm having a great deal of trouble understanding if his post is complete and utter sarcasm, his believed facts, or a combination of the two?

 

Don't sweat it. I have a hard time telling the difference myself sometimes. If I repeat what I have been "told" literally as I think I heard it, it does sound totally goofball, doesn't it?

 

Someone may be telling the truth when they say that Uranium-238 is a low level hazard. What they haven't said is that even depleted uranium contains a lot of U-235 and other radionucleides. If they wanted to be as precise as they could, and as open and honest as I would want them to be, they would give us a list of complete analyses of the actual metals used in the tanks and the rounds, and for the tanks they would do this before and after they have been in service.

 

Maybe I shouldn't believe the testimonies of people who have taken Geiger counters to those tanks. What do you think? Whatever the case may be, there is no good reason not to allow an international team of nuclear weapons inspectors total access to the contaminated areas and the tanks. A good President would beg them to do it. Even one who can acheive mediocrity would practically force them to do it. He would know how not to appear as if the government has decided to dodge the question. It doesn't take a genius like me.

 

Every time I read about someone actually measuring the radioactivity of DU, someone else dismisses that person as a nutcase. OK, then, how about references to people who have made reliable measurements and published them and have not been dismissed as nutcases? As I said, there is no good reason not to do this.

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I've seen reports that among the veterans that a certain author has visited, he has found no healthy offspring born after Gulf War I. He probably should have asked Jeff Rense not to put his name up on his site, for rather obvious reasons. Most people around here might ban a user for providing a link to that site.

 

U.S. gov tells us not to believe such reports. OK then, they have a lot of people who don't do anything important. Send them out to take surveys and tell us how many healthy children were born to veterans who were exposed to DU.

 

just cause there are no mutant children does not mean they have not breathed in uranium dust(anyway radiation poisoning usually leads to sterility rather than mutation of potential offspring)

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Someone may be telling the truth when they say that Uranium-238 is a low level hazard. What they haven't said is that even depleted uranium contains a lot of U-235...

 

 

No. By definition, it doesn't. It can't contain more than ~0.7% anyway, since that's the natural abundance of U-235. If it contains that much it's not depleted uranium.

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.2 to .3 percent is a lot when you are talking about using it in ton quantities. That's 2 to 3 kilograms of U-235 per metric ton. I presume you've already read my longer post about that.

 

What gets dangerous here is when the natural emissions of U-238 and U-235 gain opportunities to transmute other atoms into more radioactive substances that emit more neutrons and alpha particles. "Alpha" doesn't mean "safe" either. Alpha particles also cause transmutation. The absorption of alpha particles by U-238 nuclei is the beginning one of the routes that I remember to Pu-239, the long way around.

 

I think that the fact is that any concentrated uranium, whether it contains any U-235 or not, is going to react with itself and produce fission products like a fuel rod does, only much more slowly. Put it near a moderator, it speeds up that process. Put it near some beryllium, and, well, you probably just better not put it near beryllium. There's just nothing like a hunk of uranium next to a substance that soaks up alpha particles and spits back neutrons. Throw in some carbon and you have something that will probably get me put in jail for just mentioning it. How many years in Marion can I get for saying, "please don't take two sheets of DU, put a sheet of carbon in between them, and whatever you do, don't enclose this sandwich in two sheets of beryllium, not even to prove a point? Please do not remember that a sheet of wood will do for the carbon."

 

Here is a tutorial that seems to explain it pretty well. They make the claim that seems to me to be obviously true, that concentrated uranium reacts with itself. It's the same thing that Richard Feynman said in his biography. They had no ends of problems with that during the Manhattan Project times.

 

Make note here that the numbers used by the writer of the tutorial are for much lower levels of U-235 than we can expect to encounter, at least according to several other sources on the net. It's in a chart a ways down the page. (Ok, that was a mistake on my part. That chart is of alpha emissions.)

 

As if it weren't already stupid enough to try to say that DU is suitable for weapons the way we are using it, we probably won't be able to get it banned even because its potential use by terrorists is so painfully obvious.

 

No. By definition, it doesn't. It can't contain more than ~0.7% anyway, since that's the natural abundance of U-235. If it contains that much it's not depleted uranium.

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.2 to .3 percent is a lot when you are talking about using it in ton quantities. That's 2 to 3 kilograms of U-235 per metric ton. I presume you've already read my longer post about that.

 

You didn't actually say you were talking about ton quantities. If you have that much it's a stacking hazard, too - it can fall over and crush you. You shouldn't forget to mention that.

 

What gets dangerous here is when the natural emissions of U-238 and U-235 gain opportunities to transmute other atoms into more radioactive substances that emit more neutrons and alpha particles. "Alpha" doesn't mean "safe" either. Alpha particles also cause transmutation. The absorption of alpha particles by U-238 nuclei is the beginning one of the routes that I remember to Pu-239' date=' the long way around.

 

I think that the fact is that any concentrated uranium, whether it contains any U-235 or not, is going to react with itself and produce fission products like a fuel rod does, only much more slowly. Put it near a moderator, it speeds up that process. Put it near some beryllium, and, well, you probably just better not put it near beryllium. There's just nothing like a hunk of uranium next to a substance that soaks up alpha particles and spits back neutrons. Throw in some carbon and you have something that will probably get me put in jail for just mentioning it. How many years in Marion can I get for saying, "please don't take two sheets of DU, put a sheet of carbon in between them, and whatever you do, don't enclose this sandwich in two sheets of beryllium, not even to prove a point? Please do not remember that a sheet of wood will do for the carbon."

[/quote']

 

And we all have sheets of Beryllium just lying around, too, to go with the DU that we all have.

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U-238 does not absorb alpha particles. U-238 can absorb neutrons if they are slowed down enough to form Np-239 which decays into Pu-239. The thing is, if you have a billion atoms of U-238 and a billion slow moving neutrons, you'll still only get a small percentage that absorb and eventually turn into plutonium. I have a few grams of depleted uranium right next to me, and the level of activity of these little shavings is as constant as it will ever be.

 

In addition, depleted uranium is refined uranium. The dangerous daughter products of radium, protactinium, polonium, etc. simply don't exist because they were removed during the purification of the pure metal. A one pound lump of pure uranium ore is far more radioactive than a one pound lump of pure uranium metal. Again, this is because the ore has all of the daughter products which have built up over time. Since U-238, and christ even U-235, have such a long half-life, purified uranium metal just simply will not contain a large amount of the far more radioactive daughter products.

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