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Title
The effects of depleted Uranium weapons on humans and the relevant environment / von Thomas Tiller
AuthorTiller, Thomas
CensorChitumbo, Kaluba
PublishedWien, 2017
Descriptionviii, 77 Blätter : Illustrationen
Institutional NoteTechnische Universität Wien, Master Thesis, 2017
Institutional NoteDiplomatische Akademie Wien, Master Thesis, 2017
LanguageEnglish
Document typeMaster Thesis
Keywords (EN)Depleted Uranium / DU-weapon / congenital malformations / cancer / international law / types of uranium
URNurn:nbn:at:at-ubtuw:1-99920 Persistent Identifier (URN)
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 The work is publicly available
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The effects of depleted Uranium weapons on humans and the relevant environment [1.71 mb]
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Abstract (English)

Ammunition containing depleted uranium (DU) has been used in armed conflicts since the First Gulf War in 1991. This type of ammunition is used in certain weapons, such as tank rounds, 30mm guns and cruise missiles. Depleted uranium munition has such a high density that it can pierce armor. Consequently, it is used to penetrate hard targets, such as armored vehicles and tanks. Depleted uranium is a byproduct of the enrichment process in nuclear power production and thus radioactive. It is abundantly available and very cheap. There are more than a dozen states who have DU-munition and it has been mainly used by the USA. There are major concerns about its long-term effects. DU-munition is said to cause various types of cancer and severe reproductivity problems for both men and women. The most discussed and controversial adverse effect is the cause of congenital malformations on newborns. ^Numerous studies by miscellaneous groups and scholars have been conducted on the alleged health effects. The results differ considerably until today. The major reasons are that studies are either conducted too early after exposure (i.e. during the incubation periods of illnesses) or they only scrutinize the radiological toxicity and disregard the neurological effects. Today it is known that the main problem is not the DU-munition per se but the aerosols containing DU which are created after a DU-round has hit a hard target. DU has a high chemical toxicity and it is mutagenic. This master thesis reviews the studies about the health effects of DU-weapons on humans and the relevant environment and analyzes why the outcomes differ frequently. Additionally, it compares the hazards of DU-munition to other types of uranium like nuclear energy, uranium mining, the natural exposure to uranium and nuclear weapons. ^The outcome is displayed in a Severity Impact Assessment Scale which provides an overview about the health consequences of the various uranium types. Eventually, the legal situation of DU-weapons is examined. It is described how the problem has been addressed so far in the international community and what needs to be done to curb the use of DU-weapons in the future.

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