The element uranium is the basis of and parent of almost all releases of radioactivity to the environment, yet curiously, until it began to be employed as a weapon, it had been quite neglected as a hazardous component of radioactive releases to the environment. It is not measured routinely near nuclear power stations or reprocessing sites. It is treated as if it were natural: which of course it is, but its concentration in these places, and the form it is released in is not.
REPORT On the use of radioactive weapons in the Gaza Strip during « Operation Cast Lead » (27 December 2008 - 18 January 2009)
Could the mystery over how depleted uranium might cause genetic damage be closer to being solved? It may be, if a controversial claim by two researchers is right. They say that minute quantities of the material lodged in the body may kick out energetic electrons that mimic the effect of beta radiation. This, they argue, could explain how residues of depleted uranium scattered across former war zones could be increasing the risk of cancers and other problems among soldiers and local people.
UN, Report of the Secretary-General
The report contains views of Member States and relevant international organizations on the effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium. The Secretary-General has, to date, received 17 reports from Governments and from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organization.
Read the full text (french): UN_DU_Review24jul2008_63-170.pdf