Friday, January 15, 2010


Army, Nuclear Regulatory Commission willing to shove 299 pounds of depleted uranium down Hawaii throats and lungs

by Larry Geller

The Army on Nov. 6, 2008, applied before the NRC for a license to possess and manage depleted uranium at nine -military installations, including Pohakuloa and Oahu's Schofield Barracks.

Jim Albertini, Cory Harden, Isaac Harp and Luwella Leonardi are opposing the license. They contend that the weak radioactive material left over after enriched uranium is removed is toxic and harmful to humans when vaporized and inhaled. [Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Testimony heard on DU request, 1/14/2010)]

Although the videoconference hearing did not seem to go the way Big Island and Oahu advocates may have hoped, according to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald report, it did set down some scary facts.

The hearing was in Maryland with videoconference link to UH Hilo. The complete story is in the article, but I found this portion particularly of concern:

The judges also asked tough questions of Lt. Col. Kent Herring of the Army Environmental Litigation Division. Herring said the 714 rounds [shipped to Hawaii] represented 299 pounds of depleted uranium, assuming 6.7 ounces per round.

Judge Anthony J. Baratta, who holds a doctorate in nuclear physics, told Herring that the 714 rounds "is probably the minimum amount you can substantiate" and said the upper limit was likely 2,120 rounds.

So there is someplace between 299 and 888 pounds of depleted uranium on the Big Island, lying loose in the environment.

That stuff needs to be taken away.

Snipped from the Wikipedia:

Multiple studies using cultured cells and laboratory rodents suggest the possibility of leukemogenic, genetic, reproductive, and neurological effects from chronic exposure. A 2005 epidemiology review concluded: "In aggregate the human epidemiological evidence is consistent with increased risk of birth defects in offspring of persons exposed to DU." The World Health Organization states that no consistent risk of reproductive, developmental, or carcinogenic effects have been reported in humans. However, the objectivity of this report has been called into question.

More (you can read the entire article for a complete rundown):

Normal functioning of the kidney, brain, liver, heart, and numerous other systems can be affected by uranium exposure, because in addition to being weakly radioactive, uranium is a toxic metal. The chemical toxicity of depleted uranium is about a million times greater in vivo than its radiological hazard. Health effects of DU are determined by factors such as the extent of exposure and whether it was internal or external. Three main pathways exist by which internalization of uranium may occur: inhalation, ingestion, and embedded fragments or shrapnel contamination. Properties such as phase (e.g. particulate or gaseous), oxidation state (e.g. metallic or ceramic), and the solubility of uranium and its compounds influence their absorption, distribution, translocation, elimination and the resulting toxicity. For example, metallic uranium is relatively non-toxic compared to hexavalent uranium(VI) uranyl compounds such as uranium trioxide.

The Wikipedia article also described studies that claimed to show no toxic effects. I say “claimed to show” because the studies were conducted by defense-connected agencies. Do I trust them? Not for a minute. Again, it is best to refer to the complete article.

In any case, why should anyone in Hawaii want to tolerate the dispersal of 299 or 888 pounds of DU in the environment? Let’s see what decision is handed down next month.



Why does the Army lie about this deadly poison, Larry. They even sucked you in. They started off with the word "weakly". The Army said "weak radioactive material left over after enriched uranium is removed." Not true. The removal process for bomb making Uranium 235 can only get about half of it. It makes no difference how many times the ore is processed.

A milligram of is smaller than the periods at the ends of these sentences. Inside our bodies each milligram fires 1.251 Million molecular "bullets" a day with a range of about 20 cells. That starts your cancer. Nasty stuff. That is why the Army lies. Watch them, Larry.

Bob Nichols
Project Censored Award Winner
Correspondent, San Francisco Bay View newspaper

It's certainly worse than I wrote about. I'm also concerned that if they begin removing the stuff they'll stir it up into the air and we'll breath those "bullets" that you wrote about.

Thanks for your comment.

I cited the 1979 Downwinders Utah St.George case as much as I could during my two 4 min time period. We were located in a room that seemed like a cockpit the whole time. The stress level was horrendous. Not only am I downwind within the three mile limit, I have a 19 acre waste dump in back of my house. It is a stock pile of three different type of radioactive material.

Here is my address 1845 Halapoe Place., google map and zoom in. Waianae has about a 1,000 young women that will have a child within the next five years. Should the army resume bombing in Makua we should see a high rate of birth defects. I am already experiencing the Squid Sucking babies in Waianae and the early deaths of young adults and mid 40s.

I did not do as good a job that I wanted to do, but we only had a few minutes. Kilauea eruptions fan's across Hawaii's achipelago and that's as visible as I could get.

I am not for License to posses DU, nor am I for permit to cleanup. In additions to, I am not for the NRC to use an enforcment on the idea of removing the contaminates.

Makua is not a federal reserve and the jurisdiction belongs to families that still wants there land back.

Back to the issue of radiation, Mike Kahikina had a stupid idea of being able to shred radioactive material, so the dummies are stock piling for a future disaster. This totally insane. I begged everyone that I knew before I left for Big Island. If I seemed unprepare, it's true. I could not find counsel before going to big island. I also spent three months reading during every spare minute of the day. The contents from the NRC at times were degrading, lesson learn.

Another problem-- I had to work and try to keep up with my bills. Research, plane tickets, etc was all out of pocket. My time with DU started in 2001 at a community meeting with the military. Knowlege about the where abouts for DU is still in question because of the many possibility does it exist.

Luwella Leonardi

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