Depleted uranium: the description, characteristics and application

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2018-04-01 12:32:14

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Referred to as Depleted uranium, consisting primarily of the isotope U-238. It was first manufactured in 1940 in the United States. This is a material by-product of enrichment of natural uranium in the manufacture of nuclear fuel and ammunition.

How is

How to make depleted uranium? For specialized enterprises is not a problem. In nuclear reactors and plants use natural U-235. Such enriched uranium by isotopic separation by mass. The bulk of U-235 and U-234 material is removed. The result is Oh, the radioactivity of which is not too high. On this indicator it concedes even the uranium ore, which Soviet geologists once wore in backpacks.

depleted uranium

Depleted uranium: application

OU can be Used in peaceful purposes and for the production of ammunition. The popularity he deserved in the first place because of the high density (19,1 g/cm3). Very often it is used, for example, as opposed to missiles and aircraft. Another area in which this material has found wide applications is medicine. In this case, OU is mainly used for the production of devices of radiation therapy. Use this material as radiation protection, for example, in radiography equipment.

In the military industry is uranium mostly used for the manufacture of armor plates. Also it is used in the production of munitions and even nuclear warheads. In this capacity it was first used by the U.S. military. U.S. engineers have guessed to replace at the manufacture of cores BPS this expensive metal tungsten. The fact that the density of depleted uranium to last very close. The cores are made from it cost three times cheaper than tungsten.

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armor of depleted uranium

Features of the use of ammunition with a dining uranium

One of the advantages of OU as the core of the munition is that it is able to spontaneously ignite upon impact. Small shards of light in air and ignite combustible materials inside armored vehicles or cause the explosion of ammunition.

In Addition, depleted uranium munitions tend to samozashchita. Therefore, in the respective shot extreme conditions such shells can spontaneously acquire a form that allows them to move through any obstacles with minimal energy losses.

Which used such ammunition

Depleted uranium Shells used by the U.S. armed forces in several wars. For the first time they were used in Iraq in 1991. At that time the US army had spent about 14 thousand tank shells of this pattern. In General, the United States used at the time of the order of 300 tons of OU.

In the early 21st century, NATO has used shells of depleted uranium in the war against Yugoslavia. Then it led to a major international scandal. The public became aware that many soldiers developed cancers.

The Lawsuits in regard to diseases caused by weapons of this kind, the U.S. Government supplied soldiers even after Iraq. However, neither one of them then has not been satisfied. The government referred to the fact that direct evidence of the harmful effects of Oh on the human body are not available.

a core of depleted uranium

Also In January 2001 a special UN Commission has examined 11 objects, which strikes ammunition with such rods. 8 of them were infected. Moreover, according to some experts, water in Kosovo, was absolutely unfit for consumption. Decontamination surveyed area could cost several billion dollars.

In Iraq, similar studies, unfortunately, were not carried out. But information about the cases after the attacks on the citizens of this country are also available. For example, before the conflict in the city of Basra died of cancer just 34 people, after it 644.

depleted uranium

Sections

For the manufacture of tank armor OU can also be used, and all thanks to its high density. Most often it is made an intermediate layer between two steel sheets. Armor, depleted uranium is used, for example, tanks M1A2 and M1A1HA Abrams. The latter has been upgraded since 1998. This technique contains the ear of depleted uranium at the front of the hull and turret.

Characteristics. The possible impact on the human body

Despite the fact that the ratio of the radioactivity of depleted uranium is still considered not too dangerous (because, among other things, a very long half-life), apparently, the harmful effects on the human body it have may still. The UN study speak about it more eloquently.

Why, after shelling these shells vozrastaet the number of cancer patients, found out the Russian scientist Yablokov. This researcher initially it was clear that the case will likely not radiation. In the end he was able to learn that depleted uranium shells are able to leave behind the so-called ceramic spray. Getting into your lungs, this substance penetrates into other tissues andorgans gradually begins to accumulate in the liver and kidneys, which leads to the development of cancer.

shells of depleted uranium

In mid-January 2001, following the Kosovo research, the Secretariat of the UN in all offices were sent warnings about the dangers of depleted uranium on the human body. However, the Pentagon still continues to insist on the safety of the substances, citing data from the world health organization. And, of course, continues to use weapons based on it.

The exposure

Uranium is present in the environment always. Even in the human body there is a certain amount of it (about 90 µg). Upon contact with ammunition containing OU, despite their relative safety in this plan, a person can still get a little exposure. This usually occurs in the following cases:

  • By direct contact or proximity to OU. The irradiation may, for example, occur during work on the ammunition depot, for finding them in one machine, in contact with the debris, formed after the explosion, etc. a Core of depleted uranium is in the body. Sometimes, however, the integrity of the latter may be violated. In this case, the risk exposure increases significantly.

  • When ingested, can result from the ingestion or inhalation of particles of OU.

  • Directly through the blood. This usually occurs in wounds in contact with shells or armor made from OU.

Currently, the who developed standards in relation to uranium. Most of them can be applied to OU. So, the acceptable daily dose of contact with uranium in your mouth is considered to be 0.6 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. Limits for ionizing radiation are 1 м3в per year for ordinary citizens and 20 м3в for five years for persons working in radiation environment (on average).

depleted uranium use

Disposal Problem

The moment the world has accumulated huge stocks of OU. Thus, industrial technology, its full utilization has not been developed so far. European companies in such circumstances it is preferable to operate on a very simple scheme. Technically they just send Oh to Russia for reprocessing. Meanwhile, a similar operation is even more expensive than the costs of disposal of that substance and its storage. The benefit to companies in this case is that after doobogashchenija comeback in Europe only 10% of imported to Russia raw materials. 90% is on the territory of our country.

Under the law, to keep OU from other countries in Russia it is impossible. In order to work around it, foreign depleted uranium just transferred to Federal property. At the moment, Russia has accumulated about 800 thousand tons of such waste. While 125 thousand tons imported from Europe.

how to make depleted uranium

In the USA OU is considered as radioactive waste. In Russia depleted uranium is defined as a valuable energy raw material, perfectly suitable for reactors on fast neurons.

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