depleted uranium

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depleted uranium

The metal remaining after the most active radioisotope (235U) has been extracted from uranium. It is a heavy metal, used in munitions, e.g., in armor-piercing weapons.

It is estimated that, worldwide, more than 1 million tons of depleted uranium are stored. About 95% of the depleted uranium produced until now is stored as uranium hexafluoride, (D)UF6. The long-term storage of (D)UF6 presents environmental, health, and safety risks because of its chemical instability. When UF6 is exposed to moist air, it reacts with the water in the air to produce UO2F2 (uranyl fluoride) and HF (hydrogen fluoride), which are both highly soluble and toxic.

See: enriched uranium
See also: uranium
References in periodicals archive ?
Italy and Portugal have already launched their own inquiries into the safety of depleted uranium ammunition following the emergence of so-called Balkan War Syndrome.
A Baltimore County judge exceeded sentencing guidelines and gave Philip Berrigan 30 months in prison for damaging an A-10 Warthog aircraft, such as those used to fire depleted uranium ammunition in Iraq and Kosovo.
Even more startling has been the recent disclosure that the US military had tested depleted uranium ammunition in Vieques.
It asks the US and other countries, who were part of the Iraq wars of 1991 and 2003, which used depleted uranium ammunitions, to share the responsibility of today's health and environmental disasters in Iraq.
Dozens of fragments of depleted uranium ammunitions were found in the ground at these three sites, Pekka Haavisto, head of the UNEP mission in Bosnia, told the press when unveiling the report.
Depleted uranium ammunitions used by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces in Kosovo, Yugoslavia, pose ''no significant risks'' to health and the environment but may contaminate ground water in the future, a U.