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rthmjohn

Uranium bullets

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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.

 

I would be a bit more concerned over the cesium-137 used to treat tumors than a few spent penetrators in Iraq. And let us not forget the americium in smoke detectors..... someone best get on the ball, lest they should fall into terrorist hands!!!!

 

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.

 

One that I know of, my daughter ;)

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Also, mutations caused by radiation damage generally will not show up until the following generation. I.E. your kids will be fine, but your grandchildren may start showing problems.

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D.U.A.P. rounds are still in use today. mostly buy tanks and large mobile level weapons ( i have no clue what i said, i just mean non artillery weapons) as armos pierceing. the rounds are surrounded bya lead cover like normal civilian rounds. but instead over being hollow they are filled with D.U. and the lead mushrooms on impact and send the core sliding in like a hypodermic punch. only a direct hit will actually release the uranium core... i least thats what ive heard.. the depleted uranium rounds have changed a lot over the years

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If mutations generally don't show up until the following generation and they are showing up now, we have a problem.

 

Jdurg, have you checked the number of fast neutrons that the shavings you keep are emitting now? Did you check it when you got them? Have you ever actually run the numbers for different configurations of DU? I know you're not afraid of being called a nutcase for doing that, or for assaying samples of DU that were manufactured six months ago or a few years ago. There's no reason not to do it, is there?

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Depleted uranium does not emit fast neutrons, hell, it doesn't even emit neutrons. DU is composed of over 99.6% U-238, and spontaneous fission only makes up about 0.000054% of all decays. Therefore, there are more neutrons moving around because of natural radiation in the air as opposed to my few grams of uranium. The only way I would have to be worried about any neutrons is if my uranium was in close proximity to beryllium or aluminum. However, my uranium is in a glass vial which blocks all alpha radiation, and the glass vial is inside a lead sarcophogus type thing which is inside a lead lined box. So I'm not worried in the slightest about radiation. :D

 

(I have had numerous different types of detectors try and detect any leaking radiation, and there is no increase above background level. With the vial out of the lead, there is a noticeable increase due to gamma rays, but nothing all too spectacular. Now if the vial is opened, then you see some nice levels. hehe).

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I will believe actual tests over any theory. Aluminum there is much more common than beryllium and that can be the start of trouble. How carelessly do you think the counterweights of a forklift might be handled? How carelessly might people handle depleted uranium that they have been told is safe? Just what is the fission rate of DU at .2 percent U-235 when it is a few inches away from concrete? What if a chunk of it is underwater? What if it is left in some kind of container under fairly optimum circumstances for increasing its radioactivity and no one looks at it for 20 years?

 

As a matter of fact, your vial contains silicon and oxygen. Oxygen is not much heavier than carbon, which works to moderate neutrons. Hopefully it is borosilicate, which means that at least some of the neutrons might be absorbed. Again, whatever neutrons are emitted, can you detect them? Whether I am somewhat ignorant or not, I would look for things that can't possibly be there because this is a subject that is too important to keep a cavalier attitude about anything.

 

The small samples aren't that important anyway. What kind of assays do you have that you can release that show the complete isotopic composition of a slug of depleted uranium, brand new, at the age of six months, and at the age of a few years to ten years? It would be especially interesting if you could get some out of the center of a stockpile of several thousand. I read some of the reports. Some of this stuff is stacked so tight that the inspectors can't get at it.

 

Also, since it is insane to think that any significant radioactivity comes from a tank that is shielded with DU, or from sand that is contaminated with DU, or that there is any significant radiation danger from DU to veterans, there is no reason not to thoroughly test these ideas and prove them wrong, is there?

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As a matter of fact' date=' your vial contains silicon and oxygen. Oxygen is not much heavier than carbon, which works to moderate neutrons. Hopefully it is borosilicate, which means that at least some of the neutrons might be absorbed. Again, whatever neutrons are emitted, can you detect them? Whether I am somewhat ignorant or not, I would look for things that can't possibly be there because this is a subject that is too important to keep a cavalier attitude about anything.

[/quote']

 

Oxygen is in fact 33% heavier than Carbon.

 

And what neutrons? You haven't presented a reasonable mechanism for significant neutron formation from a material that has an activity of about 0.3 mCi/kg.

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Uranium metal does not emit neutrons!!!!!!!!!!! Take a look at the forms of decay of uranium. How much of a % does spontaneous fission (The only type of decay that will result in neutron emission) make up? We're talking maybe one or two neutrons per close to a million atoms. Walking outside you are exposed to far more neutrons from cosmic radiation and other sources.

 

U-238 has a half-life that is approximately the age of the earth. (Around 4.5 billion years). So a sample that is 'brand new' and a sample that is ten years old, hell even a sample that is a thousand years old, is not appreciably different. Uranium ores, which the earth is littered with, are far more dangerous than uranium metal? Whay is that? It's because the ores have existed since the creation of the earth and the uranium atoms have had the chance to decay into an equillibrium with their daughter products. Therefore, you get more intense radiation from the radium, protactinium, actinium, polonium, radon, etc. which have built up over time in the ore. I had mentioned somewhere that a one pound sample of pure uranium ore and a one pound brick of refined uranium differ greatly in their radioactivity. The ore is far, far, far more radioactive than the metal because of the daughter products.

 

Also, remember how radioactive atoms decay. There are basically five different methods of decay:

 

1): Alpha decay where the atom spits out a bare helium nucleus. Easily blocked by a sheet of paper.

 

2): Beta decay where a neutron splits into a proton and an electron and the electron is fired out of the nucleus. More powerful than alpha decay, but generally blocked by a piece of glass.

 

3): Gamma rays. This is where a nucleus readjusts itself into a lower energy state. The atom doesn't really decay, per-se, but a metastable isotope will reform into a stable isotope by spitting out a gamma ray. Virtually all forms of radioactive decay result in the emission of a gamma ray due to the adjustment of the nucleus after the initial decay. Quite powerful rays that can penetrate concrete walls.

 

4): Electron capture where a nucleus absorbs an inner shell electron and combines it with a proton to form a neutron. Many of the lower atomic massed elements do this.

 

5): Spontaneous fission. This is where a heavy element just splits into two lighter elements and releases a neutron or two. This is very common in the short lived actinides and post actinide elements. For elements like uranium and plutonium, this makes up a very, very, very, very, very fleetingly small percentage of all decay processes. I.E. only one or two atoms out of a few million will decay in this manner.

 

Also, in order to produce neutrons, the alpha particles have to be successfully captured by the Be or Al. This doesn't always happen. There's a lot of 'waste' where the alpha particle just bounces right off of the Be or Al atom. The two items need to be very intimately mixed in order to produce any real quantity of neutrons. For some reason, people seem to think that putting a piece of aluminum within twenty feet of a piece of uranium will result in massive neutron production.

 

Now some people might be wondering why I keep saying that Uranium doesn't produce neutrons even though it's used in an atomic bomb. The Uranium in an atomic bomb is nearly pure U-235. U-235 is more radioactive than U-238 in that its half-life is much shorter. U-235 is also able to be coaxed into breaking apart via fission. If you fire some neutrons into U-235 the atoms will break apart releasing more neutrons and resulting in a chain reaction. Nearly all atomic bombs have a 'triggering' device in the center in which an alpha emitter and beryllium are intimately mixed in order to create a stream of neutrons for the soon to be critical mass of U-235. Even then, however, you still need a large mass of the uranium as the neutron absorption isn't very efficient.

 

To sum up what I've been saying, depleted uranium poses little to no radiation hazard unless you are around unshielded, exposed DU 24/7. Really, the metal is more of a toxicological hazard than a radiation hazard as uranium is a fairly toxic heavy metal. Having piles of the stuff hanging around isn't going to lead to any increase in radioactivity over any timeframe observable to us humans due to the exceedingly long half-life. Your interest/fear about the neutrons is really puzzling to me. It's like being afraid of the arsenic content in a piece of aluminum foil you accidentally swallowed. :D

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Then there is no reason not to produce assay results and the results of radiological tests, is there? Even if one in a million nuclei divided by four and a half billion years produces a neutron each year, that is cause for concern about transmutation. That's dividing 6.022*10^23 by 4.5*10^10^15. Yes, you only get about 1.3 * 10^-8 per gram atomic weight, but that's still a start on accumulating Pu-239 and all the other associated goodies. I'd rather measure it. It's not predictable enough to do anything but actually measure it. And I'm not real impressed with a "depletion" that leaves behind about a fourth of the active material.

 

If someone claims to have actually measured high levels of radioactivity around tanks that were shielded with or shot with uranium, then I don't want to read someone calling them crazy (and meaning it). I want to read of careful measurements of the same or similar tanks. No reason not to do that, is there?

 

And what about inhaling the smoke of rounds of DU that do what they do best, burn on contact with air? One of the things that makes uranium work so well as a penetrator is that it catches fire when it hits a tank. Both the chemical and radiological properties of uranium make it dangerous to inhale. The uranium incorporates itself with a man's semen for obvious reasons, because there is some urine in semen, so all of his little sperm cells are bathed in it.

 

Even if untampered DU were proven safe, we have the problem of deliberate tampering. I definitely think that someone will come upon the idea of using aluminum as a neutron source, excited by the uranium's own radiation. That same someone will latch on to the fact that there are all sorts of neutron sources that he can get or even build, that will produce gigas of neutrons with relatively simple equipment. He may even latch on to the idea of accelerating alpha particles or deuterons. The very least that someone like this could do would be to cause a nuclear terrorism scare.

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If someone claims to have actually measured high levels of radioactivity around tanks that were shielded with or shot with uranium' date=' then I don't want to read someone calling them crazy (and meaning it). I want to read of careful measurements of the same or similar tanks. No reason not to do that, is there?

[/quote']

 

Perhaps I missed it, but where was that claim made?

 

The reason not to do it is that there's no reason to do it. And if they did, and reported "no problem," you wouldn't believe them anyway, because you've already decided on your answer, and no facts or amount of evidence is going to convince you otherwise.

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I have a lot easier time believing actual measurements than a theoretical reason why those measurements don't have to be done.

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From some Gulf War veterans I've ben told that it was the Agent Orange that messed with the people from Gulf War and gave them Cancer like effects.

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From some Gulf War veterans I've ben told that it was the Agent Orange that messed with the people from Gulf War and gave them Cancer like effects.

 

Agent Orange was a defoliant used in Vietnam.

 

But I guess they must have used it extensively, because there are no jungles left in the gulf...

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1 kg u238 produces 5 spontaneous fissions per second releasing about 12 neutrons per second. This is 15 times more than U235.

The 1500 kg of U in a 747 therefore releases 567,648,000,000 Neutrons per year by sp + at least the same amount from alpha interaction with the surrounding Al structure + induced fission events . All commercial airliners are now used in this fashion as nuclear waste storage / slow Pu breeder reactors (including the 911 4).

Iraqs inhabited area now contains average of around 5g per square meter uranium from US munitions (enough to kill 50 people). At least 20% of this is aerosol sized ceramicised oxide from high temp combustion that when inhaled has a bio half life of 10 years plus. 0.1g of this stuff is almost definate to cause severe symptoms such as fatal cancer. (Burnt DU has therefore simular toxicity to VX or Sarin nerve gas, but never goes away)

Note that 150,000 gw1 troops have such severe symptoms theyve been declared invalids from a 90 day exposure to 100 times less U than used in gw2.

Cancer rates Iraq wide are now 15X and SEVERE birth defects 25x 2years ago and will not peak for at least 10yrs. There are I million new Cancer cases diagnosed in the last year alone in Iraq, despite almost no access to medical facilities for most of their population.

"The Doctor, The DU and The Dying Children" is an excellent and up to date doco on this situation that I do not hesitate to call the worst atrocity ever commited by humans against each other.

oh- DU is 75% as radioactive as natural uranium metal 1 year after manufacture, and both are 10x more radioactive than when refined. :eek:

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1 kg u238 produces 5 spontaneous fissions per second releasing about 12 neutrons per second. This is 15 times more than U235.

The 1500 kg of U in a 747 therefore releases 567' date='648,000,000 Neutrons per year by sp + at least the same amount from alpha interaction with the surrounding Al structure + induced fission events . All commercial airliners are now used in this fashion as nuclear waste storage / slow Pu breeder reactors (including the 911 4).

Iraqs inhabited area now contains average of around 5g per square meter uranium from US munitions (enough to kill 50 people). At least 20% of this is aerosol sized ceramicised oxide from high temp combustion that when inhaled has a bio half life of 10 years plus. 0.1g of this stuff is almost definate to cause severe symptoms such as fatal cancer. (Burnt DU has therefore simular toxicity to VX or Sarin nerve gas, but never goes away)

Note that 150,000 gw1 troops have such severe symptoms theyve been declared invalids from a 90 day exposure to 100 times less U than used in gw2.

Cancer rates Iraq wide are now 15X and SEVERE birth defects 25x 2years ago and will not peak for at least 10yrs. There are I million new Cancer cases diagnosed in the last year alone in Iraq, despite almost no access to medical facilities for most of their population.

"The Doctor, The DU and The Dying Children" is an excellent and up to date doco on this situation that I do not hesitate to call the worst atrocity ever commited by humans against each other.

oh- DU is 75% as radioactive as natural uranium metal 1 year after manufacture, and both are 10x more radioactive than when refined. :eek:[/quote']

 

When pulling up data such as this, PLEASE provide links to verified documents as your sources. 'So I heard and read someplace' is not a valid source. The number of neutrons you indicated there, which is produced by 1500 KILOGRAMS of U-238 in one year, is equal to 9.4 x 10^-13 moles of neutrons. Tell me again how an amount that miniscule can result in such fatal damage as you seemed to have outlined? (Keep in mind that the particular mass of that many number of moles of neutrons is equal to less than a picogram of neutrons given out over the course of an entire YEAR). This is also provided that all of the neutrons are given off the uranium at the same time, in the same place, and from the same source.

 

As I have pointed out many times before, if you are afraid of the neutron(s) emitted by a miniscule amount of depleted uranium, then you should surround yourself in a lead case and NEVER leave your house because the number of neutrons that are outside in the clean environment put those nuetrons to shame.

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Yes. Because DU does not emit neutrons at an elevated level which can be appreciably detected. Anything containing potassium in it can spontaneous emit neutrons. So you should stay away from bananas too. My saying that DU does not emit neutrons is like my saying that walking outside on a sunny day does not kill you. (The reality is, there is a small percentage of the time where walking outside on a sunny day can kill you, but the percentage is so small that you can just ignore those odds and say that walking outside on a sunny day won't kill you). If you want me to be 100% literal with everything I say, then trust me, you'll never have enough time to read through everything I post and you'll be frightened half to death when I explain how going outside will result in your exposure to deadly amounts of radiation and how the water you ingest can kill you.

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Talking down to me isn't going to impress me. It also isn't going to reassure me that the hazards of U-238 metal in large quantities have been thoroughly checked out.

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Thomas, I have worked directly with DU most of my working life, in aviation. I have machined it, fired it, and handled it with bare hands, and I have felt no ill effects. I have healthy children (now adults) as have many of my colleagues, and I just had a major screening and was found free of cancer. Nor has my union, the IAM found any evidence that working with this material has health implications. It has been use for trim weights in commercial aircraft for over thirty years.

 

As far as the people suffering from the health effects of being in combat, it would seem to me that it would be very, very hard to isolate exposure to any one material from the hazmat background in an active theater; such places are not exactly OSHA compliant to begin with.

 

There are many environmental hazards caused by modern munitions, singling out DU is a bit of a red herring that is leveraging peoples fear of all things nuclear.

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Thomas' date=' I have worked directly with DU most of my working life, in aviation. I have machined it, fired it, and handled it with bare hands, and I have felt no ill effects. I have healthy children (now adults) as have many of my colleagues, and I just had a major screening and was found free of cancer. Nor has my union, the IAM found any evidence that working with this material has health implications. It has been use for trim weights in commercial aircraft for over thirty years.

 

As far as the people suffering from the health effects of being in combat, it would seem to me that it would be very, very hard to isolate exposure to any one material from the hazmat background in an active theater; such places are not exactly OSHA compliant to begin with.

 

There are many environmental hazards caused by modern munitions, singling out DU is a bit of a red herring that is leveraging peoples fear of all things nuclear.[/quote']

 

Good Point.

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Either that, or some of the obvious gaps in the protestor's information makes it difficult to state their case. Just how many millirems per hour of gamma radiation does get from several tons of uranium sheathing through the steel cladding and zing through the bodies of the people who are inside? Just how many of the neutrons naturally generated inside of these tons of uranium actually crack atoms and cause short chain reactions? How is it that if fast neutrons won't react so well, the fission-fusion-fission bomb even works? Has anyone, just for the sheer fun of it, analyzed large pieces of DU that have been stockpiled among other large pieces of DU?

 

Another thing that I personally have trouble is, how can anyone trust anything nuclear that is not thoroughly weighed, measured, analyzed, and otherwise tested? How does anyone even get that idea?

 

Am I to be unconcerned when I am told first that U-238 produces no neutrons, then the same person tells me that it does but the so many thousands per second aren't a problem? When someone says that the fast neutrons naturally emitted that way do not cause further fission very well, then a Google search shows me that there are numerous chain reactions involving U-238 and other isotopes that actually favor the use of fast neutrons? Especially when it is painfully obvious that for an atom bomb to work at all, fast neutrons must work pretty well as the mechanism of fission. There is no way to moderate those neutrons to make them absorbable instead of being atom splitters, doing that typical breaking of U-235 in uneven halves, producing about 2.5 neutrons per fission. This is, just incidentally, information that has been public for more than forty years. The fact that an atom bomb works at all also tells you that fast neutrons can do their work within just a few inches of U-235. The critical mass of U-235 is 33 pounds give or take.

 

The fact that U-238 does not perform well by itself in a fission reactor does not mean that it does not perform at all, nor that it is impossible to use it that way.

 

Certainly there can be no harm in actually running the tests.

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Sir, I believe that you have been sadly misinformed if you believe that this material can support fission. It is definably not fissile, it is however fertile, that is it can be made fissile in a breeder reactor by transmutation. And yes, this means it will not perform at all as a reactor fuel.

 

As for the radiation that one could be exposed to from DU the fact is that you are under constant bombardment by ionizing radiation from any number of sources. The amount of exposure that tank crews and those of us that work with this material get from DU is several orders of magnitude less than one gets from living near a coal-burning plant. See this link:

 

http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html

 

As for the dangers of radiation this link might put things in perspective for you:

 

http://www.sepp.org/NewSEPP/longevity.htm

 

In part it says: "Present radiation protection limits for workers and the public are based largely on cancer deaths of A-bomb survivors. The significant increase in deaths from non-cancer of the A-bomb survivors at high doses compared to the significant reduced deaths from non-cancer of the radiologists indicates that A-bomb survivor data are not appropriate for predicting longevity for radiation workers or the public."

 

Which brings me back to the point I was making above: confounding variables in war zones make it impossible to segregate the effects of any one biological insult to the effected population.

 

A good (non-government) treatment of DU issues can be found here:

 

http://www.argee.net/DefenseWatch/The Facts About Depleted Uranium.htm

 

 

 

 

 

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I should have said " it can yield fissile isotopes in a breeder reactor" not "made fissile" in the above post.

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The article that you linked to says that the coal-fired plants are radiation hazards because of the small amounts of natural uranium and thorium in coal. So you are telling me that these small amounts in coal are more hazardous than ton quantities of uranium that are scattered about the sands of Iraq, or pounds and tons of it at a time used in several places in industry.

 

U-238 most certainly can support fission. It is used to increase the explosive power of hydrogen bombs. It is used successfully in Candu and pebble-bed reactor designs. Some of it fissions the more or less normal way. Some of it absorbs a neutron and becomes Pu-239, which is more fissionable. Looking around, it seems to me that we are in more danger from transmutation by fast neutrons than by slow neutrons because even splitting U-238 releases an average of more than 2 neutrons per fission. All of this by the way has been public knowledge for more than thirty years.

 

It has never been the case that U-238 is not fissionable. It just takes too much unenriched U-238 to make power reactors of convenient size using sustained chain reactions. It doesn't take fine-tunable chain reactions for U-238 to acquire a lot of nasties.

 

Sir' date=' I believe that you have been sadly misinformed if you believe that this material can support fission. It is definably not fissile, it is however fertile, that is it can be made fissile in a breeder reactor by transmutation. And yes, this means it will not perform at all as a reactor fuel.

 

As for the radiation that one could be exposed to from DU the fact is that you are under constant bombardment by ionizing radiation from any number of sources. The amount of exposure that tank crews and those of us that work with this material get from DU is several orders of magnitude less than one gets from living near a coal-burning plant. See this link:

 

http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html

 

As for the dangers of radiation this link might put things in perspective for you:

 

http://www.sepp.org/NewSEPP/longevity.htm

 

In part it says: "Present radiation protection limits for workers and the public are based largely on cancer deaths of A-bomb survivors. The significant increase in deaths from non-cancer of the A-bomb survivors at high doses compared to the significant reduced deaths from non-cancer of the radiologists indicates that A-bomb survivor data are not appropriate for predicting longevity for radiation workers or the public."

 

Which brings me back to the point I was making above: confounding variables in war zones make it impossible to segregate the effects of any one biological insult to the effected population.

 

A good (non-government) treatment of DU issues can be found here:

 

http://www.argee.net/DefenseWatch/The Facts About Depleted Uranium.htm

 

 

 

 

 

[i']

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Thanks for biting :)

From the tone of your posts Jdurg I'm tempted to consider you a glib little holocaust denialist.

If in fact you are not then please educate yourself with the previously mentioned video, "The Doctor (german nuclear physics professors) the du and the dying children" US distributors:

Traprock Peace Center

103A Keets Road, Deerfield, MA 01342 (413) 773-7427 http://www.traprockpeace.org

Would your organization like to co-sponsor a public showing of this film in your area?

Traprock Peace Center has exclusive rights in the US for public, non-theatrical showings.

Contact Sunny Miller - 413-773-7427 - if you wish to show this film in the US.

This video is available for purchase (online or by mail) in the US for private, home use only in vhs (ntsc) format. $30 includes shipping cost

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