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. Fourfold Increase In British Radiation Levels After Iraq Invasion

Depleted uranium is found in so-called "tank-busting" munitions because of its ability to pierce armour but is controversial because of its potential effect on human health.
by Staff Writers
London, UK (AFP) Feb 19, 2006
Radiation levels in Britain increased fourfold around the time of the start of the "shock and awe" bombing campaign in Iraq in March 2003, according to a study cited by the Sunday Times.

The results were taken from testing stations at the government-linked Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston, 51 miles (82 kilometres) west of London, and four others nearby.

Chris Busby, from Liverpool University, northwest England, and a founder of environmental consultancy Green Audit, told the newspaper he believed "uranium aerosols" from Iraq were released into the atmosphere and blown across Europe.

"This research shows that rather than remaining near the target as claimed by the military, depleted uranium weapons contaminate both locals and whole populations hundreds to thousands of miles away," he said.

The Ministry of Defence in London dismissed the claims as "unfeasible", instead insisting that the results were a coincidence and probably came from other, local sources.

Experts from Britain's leading science body, the Royal Academy, disputed the claims that depleted uranium could be the reason behind the temporary increase in radiation levels, according to the newspaper.

Instead, they reportedly said it could have come from natural uranium in the soil.

Depleted uranium is found in so-called "tank-busting" munitions because of its ability to pierce armour but is controversial because of its potential effect on human health.

It has been the subject of a number of studies and cited by some as being one of the possible causes of "Gulf War Syndrome", an umbrella term for a number of illnesses suffered by veterans of the first Iraq war in 1991.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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