Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Several Tonnes Of Uranium And A Town Called Colonie

27.06.2007
Investigating the fate of depleted uranium particulate in the environment

Recent research by the Department of Geology at University of Leicester, and at the British Geological Survey aims to improve understanding of how depleted uranium particulate behaves in the environment. PhD research student Nicholas Lloyd has identified uranium oxide particulate that has survived more than 25 years in the environment, and depleted uranium contamination nearly 6 km from point of release.

The use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions by US and British forces has been highly controversial; on impact with armoured targets they shed uranium particulate that can be inhaled into the lungs. DU is both weakly radioactive and chemically toxic. Concerns raised by campaign groups have been the subject of numerous newspaper headlines, and it is frequently cited as a possible cause of Gulf War syndrome.

However, under the scrutiny of peer-review, scientific studies have so far failed to demonstrate a significant connection between inhalation exposure and human ill-health. One of the problems is that no studied non-occupational populations have been shown to have significant inhalation exposure to DU.

During the 1960s and ‘70s an estimated 5 tonnes of uranium was emitted into the environment, in a residential area of Colonie, NY, USA. Local residents are concerned that they were exposed to airborne particulate, and have campaigned for a health study. The current research could provide valuable baseline data for such a study.

The researchers led by Professor Randall Parrish collected hundreds of soil and dust samples last July, with the help of local residents and Dr John Arnason of SUNY at Albany. Soils and dusts have been examined using scanning electron microscopy, and reveal micrometer diameter uranium-rich particulate (invisible to the naked eye). These particles may be resuspended and inhaled. The samples have also been analysed by mass spectrometry, revealing contamination several hundreds of times greater than background near source, and trace contamination 35 cm below surface and as far afield as 5.8 km.

Nicholas said that the study by University of Leicester and the British Geological Survey aims to improve understanding of how depleted uranium particulate behaves in the environment. The study shows that uranium oxide particulate is both mobile and durable in the environment.

The research is being presented to the public at the University of Leicester on June 29. The Festival of Postgraduate Research introduces employers and the public to the next generation of innovators and cutting-edge researchers, and gives postgraduate researchers the opportunity to explain the real world implications of their research to a wide ranging audience.

More information on the Festival of Postgraduate Research at: www.le.ac.uk/gradschool/festival

Ather Mirza | University of Leicester
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk/gradschool/festival

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>