In a scientific report currently under peer review, Professor Chris Busby presents findings indicating that depleted uranium may already be in use on the battlefields of Ukraine and has been so since the very start of the war—and that this poses a significant risk to public health in the UK and Europe:
Data covering the period November 2017 to November 2022 was obtained from the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston to find if there was an increase in uranium associated with the Ukraine war. Results from 9 High Volume Air Samplers deployed onsite and offsite by AWE showed that there were significantly increased levels of uranium in all 9 HVAS samplers[,] beginning in February 2022 when the war began. The result has significant public health implications for the UK and Europe.
The chart below, with outliers removed as per best practice, presents how atmospheric radiation levels have soared in the UK since the war began.
The military policy claim in the West is that since depleted uranium is heavy, radioactive dust resulting from its use settles on the ground at a maximum radius of just ten metres (thirty feet) from the point of impact.
Civilian researchers have pointed to a different possibility: that the heat and burning created by the impact of depleted uranium ammunition gives rise to clouds of minuscule radioactive particles, suspended in air and capable of travelling long distances and injuring and killing people far removed from the battlefield.
This is how the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology explains the dual risk posed by depleted uranium:
DU can affect human health in two main ways: through its chemical toxicity, and through its radiological effects (uranium emits ionising radiation that can cause cancer).
The conflict of narratives, whether depleted uranium is harmless or poses a serious health risk, was highlighted by the BBC in 2006 when it reported that a senior UN scientist had claimed that research confirming that depleted uranium causes cancer was suppressed.
In 2003, the British Army seemed to have taken notice of the warnings when it announced a phasing-out of the then-current type of uranium-laced tank ammunition. The announcement came on the heels of reports of leukaemia, kidney damage and lung cancer among soldiers from France, Spain and Italy after the United States' liberal use of depleted uranium in the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo in the late 1990s.
This looming reality, also evidenced by birth defects of epidemic proportions and soaring cancer cases in Iraq in 1991 and 2003–2011, raises the question of the legality of depleted uranium as a weapon. Busby's above-referenced paper observes (with emphasis added):
The question of the dispersion of uranium aerosols from battlefields is of significant legal interest, since if a radioactive weapon resulted in the general contamination of the public in the country of deployment or elsewhere, the weapon would be classifiable as one of indiscriminate effect.
Professor Busby has stated:
If the public really understand what is going on in the environment, as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, the war would stop today.
Which side in the conflict in Ukraine might be responsible for using radioactive munitions, such as depleted uranium?
In a recent interview, former US Marine and UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter explains that since 2000, only the West has been using depleted uranium and other radioactive material in munitions:
Around 2000, the Russians looked around and said, "You see what happens when NATO use thirty thousand rounds of depleted uranium rounds in Kosovo? High levels of leukaemia. People are starting to get cancer because they have been exposed to depleted uranium. You see what happened in Iraq where kids are deformed; thousands of kids are deformed?"
The Russians banned depleted uranium ...
Birth defects caused by depleted uranium in the war in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 have been documented in highly distressing photographs, including in investigative journalism articles, foreign policy journals, documentaries and research papers. The radiation damages caused by NATO's bombing of 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 were decried in 2022 by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesmen Zhao Lijian (misattributed in this video as the Foreign Minister) and Wang Wenbin.