Dispelling misinformation on DU
Dear Editor:I’m grateful for the responses to my U238 munitions letter (June 6, The Aspen Times). To reply, Rodger W. Helbig, are you saying that all the information in my letter is false? That U238 munition is not mutagenic, or just that you don’t think the army is using DU in the U.S., Afghanistan and Iraq? As for the need to use DU in Afghanistan and Iraq, it seems caves and cement structures are reason enough to call for penetrating, pyrophoric munitions. You disparage the characters of physicists Major Rokke and Leuren Moret, who have studied and testified on the effects of DU munitions, yet you have not critiqued their studies or testimonies, so I must think that you find their work to be solid enough and their conclusions on DU accurate. I’m still scouring the ncr.gov site and have not yet found the licensing procedures for the military or a list of licensees. Please help me find that information.Karen Linne of the Fort Carson Public Affairs Office replied also. Thank you, Karen, for dispelling my assumption that the army training at Piñon Canyon is using the same munitions it uses in our wars. Karen notes there is a firing range prohibition against the use of DU ammunition. The complete prohibition is: Department of the Army Regulation 385-63 RANGE SAFETY, Chapter 2-5 (Prohibitions). “a) Unless approved by the CSA or the CMC, the following activities are prohibited: (3) Firing depleted uranium ammunition.”Please note that CSA and CMC may override prohibitions when they feel it’s in the best interest. Regulations prohibiting DU use on firing ranges demonstrates our understanding that DU is dangerous. Karen Linne and I are both searching for toothier laws prohibiting its use. I’ll keep you apprised.Remember, thousands of tons of DU have been vaporized by the U.S. military in the Mideast, Kosovo, Isla Vieques, Puerto Rico, Okinawa and South Korea, among others. Our official line remains that it is benign. Dare I hope we are coming to our sense about this remarkably deadly munition and will outlaw DU use? At 99.9 pounds to 0.1 pounds of fuel, autopyrophoric DU is the best reason I can think of for not processing uranium for nuclear power.John HoffmannCarbondale
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