The Conflicted Responsibilities of Uranium Management and Use

In previous posts, I have shown the tension between the use of uranium and the mandated need to clean up contaminated sites and to control the substance.

I have posted the texts of publically released memos showing on the one hand the efforts to clean up sites such as the gunnery range at Fallon, USA, and the military “requirement” to fire DU shells at that and other ranges. I have shown the US CDC’s extensive health survey of Fallon which failed to find the cause of the protracted cancer cluster in that area.

I now post an extract from my booklet which relates the story of Prof. Shimizu of Kyoto University, his August 1945 radiological survey of Hiroshima and in particular that extract which deals with the military use of toxic and radiological substances in the modern world. While the US Governments (and other governments- the US being the only one open enough to allow awareness of the documents (as this is the case, the US is to be applauded, not condemned, for its relative openness).

In exchange for information relating to Japan’s biological and chemical warfare data held by Unit 731, Lt. Col. Ryoichi Naito of that Unit, was granted war crimes immunity by the United States. He was appointed head of Green Cross, one of Japan’s top pharmaceutical companies. Other Unit 731 leaders joined him there. (Source: “Japan’s Germ Warfare and the Korean War” Lee Wha Rang, July 27, 1996. See also Dick Russell’s book, “The Man Who Knew Too Much”.) China remains sensitive to the continued under reporting of such events.
Shimizu, a member of the defunct F-go naval atomic bomb project, though innocent of any crime, was vulnerable to the dictates of the Occupation Authorities. As previously noted, the US confiscated the Hiroshima survey notes and other evidence. No doubt Shimizu and others had to remain compliant to information control and political sensitivities between Japan and the US in order to be employable in their positions.
Professor Shimizu carried out a distinguished career. He achieved “Full Professor” in the Institute of Chemical Research, Kyoto University, and in 1952 he was appointed Director of the Laboratory of Nuclear Radiation (now, the Laboratory of Atomic and Nuclear Physics, Division of States and Structures). At the same time, beginning in 1953, he served as a Lecturer in Physics at the Konan University in Kobe, Japan.” (Source: OBITUARIES, Professor Dr Sakae Shimizu (July 18, 1915 to December 13, 2003)
(Adapted by John Hubbell from obituary provided by Professor Yasuhito Isozumi, Kyoto
University, also from a bio sketch by Professor Megumi Tashiro at the time of Professor. Shimizu’s retirement to emeritus status in 1979.”)
The National Interest of the US determined many outcomes in the Post War era. Many
documents relating to fallout and radiation remained classified until President Clinton’s
Executive Order of the 1990s. (The DOE Openness Project). Such considerations may
account for the lack of alpha data in Shimizu’s paper.
In November 10th 1999 the US Senate debated the “Japanese Imperial Army Disclosure
Act of 1999”. In the course of debate Mrs. Feinstein stated in part : “This legislation will require the disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act classified records and
documents in the possession of the U.S. Government regarding chemical and biological experiments carried out by Japan during the course of the Second World War……. This
legislation is needed because although the Second World War ended over fifty years ago–and
with it Japan’s chemical and biological weapons experimentation programs–many of the
records and documents regarding Japan’s wartime activities remain classified and hidden in
U.S. Government archives and repositories. Even worse, according to some scholars, some of
these records are now being inadvertently destroyed… The world is entitled to a full and
complete record of what did transpire…… Professor Sheldon’s letter goes on to discuss three
examples of the destruction of documents relating to chemical and biological warfare
experiments that he is aware of: At Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, at Fort Detrick in
Maryland, and at the Pentagon.” (Source: Congressional Record: November 10, 1999
The United States utilized the Japanese Biological and Chemical weapons data. It kept that
data secret. It developed and built its own arsenal of similar weapons. This arsenal
complimented the US nuclear arsenal.
Likewise, the 1945 Japanese Hiroshima survey data was confiscated, kept secret for many
years and was slowly disclosed and returned.
Those Japanese personnel involved the Biological and Chemical weapons programmes and
who complied with US terms were rewarded with careers and in cash. The cash amounted to
40 million yen in current value. A US document states “data on human experiments may
prove invaluable” and said the information was “only obtainable through the skilful,
psychological approach to top-flight pathologists” involved in Unit 731 experiments.”
(Source: Australian Broadcasting Commission media report : “US paid for Japanese
human germ warfare data” Monday, August 15, 2005. Report cites the findings of
researcher Keiichi Tsuneishi, Professor at Kanagawa University).
The silence of the Japanese early surveys was easier to assure. Confiscation of data, and
censorship of Japanese reporting.
This may explain the nature and contents of Professor Shimizu’s Paper: its lack of reporting
of findings of fission product and uranium by the team he was a part of, and the vastly
different result obtained by modern Japanese researchers studying samples returned by the
US since the 1970s.
The Australian Department of Veterans Affairs states:
15.21 The main body of Australian troops arrived in Japan on 21 February 1946,
some six months after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. DVA’s
long-standing position is that the level of radiation had fallen to acceptable
levels by the time the Australian BCOF contingent arrived in Japan. This
stance is based on advice from the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear
Safety Agency and its predecessors.” (Source: Report of the Review of
Veterans’ Entitlements, Chapter 15 British Commonwealth Occupation Forces
In Japan” , Department of Veterans Affairs, Australia.
The salient question this policy stance raises is: “What is an “acceptable level” of radiation exposure? In terms of internalised radionuclides of high activity but of minute size (that is, Hot Particles), many consider even level equivalent to “background” external levels unacceptable.
From the 1970s to the current era, the identification and measurement of Cesium 137 and other fission products, as well as the unfissioned fuel debris of Plutonium (Nagasaki) and Uranium (Hiroshima) have been made by Japanese scientists using returned 1945 soil samples.
Cesium 137 has a half life of 30.17 years, Uranium has a half life of millions of years,
Plutonium has a half life of 24,000 years. (Source: CDC Radiation Emergencies Radioisotope Brief Emergency Preparedness & Response).
The list of fission products present in the radiation affected of Japan in which Australian troops were stationed from February 1946 include many more long lived fission products.
Governments continue to dismiss the claims of service personnel suffering illnesses
recognised as having radiogenic origins. The dismissals are conducted on the basis that no
one who served in the affected areas of Japan internalised sufficient alpha and beta emitting particles to affect their health. That is a convenient value judgement in my view.
Gamma radiation is in the popular mind the type of radiation to be most feared.
In fact, it is the short range alpha and beta radiation which, if internalised into the body, cause the greatest damage to tissue. “If alpha emitting elements are taken into the body by inhalation or ingestion or from open wounds, serious problems such as cancer may develop.”
(Source: “Medical Response to Terrorism Preparedness and Clinical Practice,” Editor in
Chief Daniel C Keyes Editors Johnathan L Burstein Richard B Schwarz Raymond E.
Swienton, Chapter 13 Types of Radiation Explained for the Nonphysicist by Greene
Shepherd Page 138).
As for particles which emit Beta radiation: “This radiation becomes dangerous if the radioactive material is ingested or inhaled. Some of the isotopes are retained in the body for a long period in the body – sometimes permanently – when the alpha or beta radiations can be extremely dangerous, since vital organs are exposed and a cancer hazard set up.” (Source:
Alexander, Peter, “Atomic Radiation and Life”, Pelican Books, A399, 1957 Page 27)
As this hazard is based upon chance inhalation of very small radioactive particles, external monitoring of surfaces may be an inadequate guide as to safety. For example : “…the
problem that highly active particles may be present in the air although the external dose rate is below the recommended operative action level is not only theoretical.” (Source: Pollanen,
R. “Nuclear Fuel Particles in the Environment – Characteristics, Atmospheric
Transport and Skin Doses”, STUK – Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, University of Helsinki, Department of Physics, Academic Dissertation, presented May 28, 2002.
ISBN 951-712-528-3).

No amount of 2 dimensional monitoring can prevent the internalisation of small highly
dangerous particles which invisibly infect the 3 dimensional biosphere.
And so the innocent continue to suffer, though the terminology has changed from “fallout” to“Hot Particle”.
The first implication is the severing of radiological safety knowledge. For example: “In
1943, when the first reasonable large-scale fission yields were examined by us in Berkeley,(Seaborg and MacMillan), and it was clear that fission products would be a very greathazard if we ever succeeded in obtaining chain reactions of military significance, the reportwas labeled with the reddest of classifications. I was so horrified by the biologicalconclusions (radiation hazard) of John Lawrence and Dr Stone…. In the end, if we peg away, truth will out. Let’s not jump to the lions but gird up our loins! “.(Source: – Sir Mark Oliphant, writing to Hedley Marston, 12.9.56 (AAS – Marston; 21), cited by Dr Roger Cross,
“Fallout – HedleyMarston and the British Bomb Tests in Australia,” R. Cross,
Wakefield Press Copyright Roger Cross, 2001, ISBN 1 86254 523 5.
Also severed was prewar research into nuclear medicine. If the research involved radioactivesubstances which were identified by the Manhattan Project as relevant to either atomic fallout
or neutron induced beta emitters, the research was suppressed. (Source: Brucer, Marshall, “A Chronology of Nuclear Medicine”. Heritage Publishers, St. Louis, 1990. Esp: “Chronologyfrom 1940 to 1953 – Vignettes on Manhattan District Days and Atomic Medicine.” p 259,
“The initial declassification of MED reports (Manhattan Engineering District DeclassifiedDocuments)”.
A third implication was the necessity to avoid international condemnation for the dropping ofthe atomic bomb. Such a consequence for the United States of America should the facts of
the weapon effects become fully appreciated by the world at the time were explained toSecretary of War Stimson of the USA on 11 June 1945 in a report authored by an expertgroup comprised of 3 physicists, 3 chemists and a biologist. The report was entitled “Socialand Political Implications of Atomic Energy” by Drs James Franck, Donald Hughes, Leo Szilard, Thorfin Hogness, Glenn Seaborg, Eugene Rabinowitch and J.J. Nickson
A fourth implication has been the denial of the chemical nature of nuclear and radiological weapons. This consists of 1. Direct insult to DNA 2. THE FORMATION OF ABNORMAL CHEMICALS AND CHEMICAL REACTIONS WITHIN HUMAN CELLS. Ie Ionisingradiation causes water in cells to produce hydrogen peroxide and free radicals of oxygen and hydrogen. THESE CHEMICAL PROCESSES ARE A PRIMARY CAUSE OF RADIATION SICKNESS, A CONDITION ORIGINALLY CALLED RADIATION POISONING.
(Source: Alexander, Peter, “Atomic Radiation and Life”, Pelican Books, A399, 1957,
Chapter 8 “Enter the Chemist”, pp179 – 193, in particular, page 188, “The Oxygen Effect”. Alexander’s work cites sources such as Gray, 1946, Lea, 1947, Evans, 1952, and Pollard 1954.)
A fifth implication is the downplaying of alpha and beta emitting particles in the environment as internal hazards. For example the United States and other countries maintain that Depleted Uranium ammunition is safe after use, that its dust poses no threat.

However: “Since the Department of Interior will retain the ultimate land management for all of the public lands encompassing the Range, they, as well as the Air Force should be consulted concerning the proposal to potentially disperse more than 1.5 tons of Depleted Uranium (DU) and up to 100 pounds of Beryllium on the public lands encompassing the Range.” (Source: Paul J. Liebendorfer, P.E. Bureau of Federal Facilities, State of Nevada,
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Division of Environmental Protection 333 W. Nye Lane, Room 138 Carson City, Nevada 89706-0851, Letter dated July 12 1999 to Mr. George Laskar Assistant Area Manager Department of Energy, Albuquerque Operations office P. O. Box 5400 Albuquerque, NM 87185
“Soils Project
Soils Project analyzes contaminated surface and shallow subsurface soils on the Nevada Test Site and the Nellis Test and Training Range, including the Tonopah Test Range.
Contamination at these sites is the result of historic nuclear detonations, weapons safety experiments, rocket engine development, and hydronuclear tests.
The contaminants of concern are primarily americium, plutonium, depleted uranium, and other man-made radioactive materials. In addition, there are sites where metals may be present above regulatory limits. The U.S. Department of Energy Nevada Site Office is working closely with the U.S. Air Force and the State of Nevada to determine what corrective actions may be necessary.” (Source: US Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. DOE/NNSA – Nevada Site Office Environment Management
The nature of the atomic bomb and its fallout products were well known to the Manhattan Project by 1943.
These hazards included radioactive isotopes that while posing either no or lesser harms when outside of the body, presented grave threats to the health and safety of individuals when internalised.
Internal hazards were minimized.

The control of Japanese information regarding biological, chemical and nuclear weapons was enforced by the United States for many years. This control enabled the progress of the US biological, chemical and nuclear weapon development in secret, while in fact the program owed much to the information gained by the US from the Japanese biological and chemical weapon programmes.
This secrecy has delayed independent research and possibly forced compliance on Japanese research up until the time Professor Shimizu wrote his Paper.

In 1999 the Japanese Imperial Army Disclosure Act may have fostered more openness in researching these inter wined topics.
Hiroshima may have been a chosen target for atomic attack in part because a Head Quarters Unit of the Japanese Biological and Chemical Weapons programme was sited there, along with a factory which manufactured these munitions.

The use of Depleted Uranium weaponry continues. The intensely dangerous inhalant sized fine particles of pure uranium produced by these weapons upon firing pose a threat to health.
This threat and the need to clean up DU affected areas of the USA continues to be a matter of debate between levels and sections of the US Government. For example correspondence cited reveals Depleted Uranium and other man made radioactive substances may be above regulatory limits but that “the U.S. Department of Energy Nevada Site Office is working closely with the U.S. Air Force and the State of Nevada to determine what corrective actions may be necessary.”

The desire to continue Depleted Uranium use as a weapon is presently being balanced against regulations in US Law which recognise alpha emitters as a hazard. However modern battle tactics determine that DU weapons are fired. There is little basis for public confidence in the United States Air Force negotiating with civil safety authorities in regard to how much DU munitions debris it is able to deposit on test ranges.
Within this conflicted scenario, the victims of nuclear and radiological warfare are denied recognition, and radioactive ammunition is still fired in foreign fields of combat with no such official debate about clean up .
Professor Shimizu’s statement that “No acceptable Alpha was found”, written in 1982 about Hiroshima in August 1945, is prescient. The secret weapons programmes of both Japan and the United States have congealed into a moral dilemma. The denial of lingering harms from alpha emitting refined Uranium dust directly links to the original denial of similar harms of internalised alpha radiation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The vector for affliction suffered by the pre war dial painters – procedures for the
internalisation of alpha emitters – has in effect been weaponised in various forms.
The solution was identified by Professor Shimizu in 1982. It is up to us to gain a new sense of ourselves and of the place of humanity within a higher context. There is light and dark in all nations.
Paul Langley
9 April 2008

The conficted scenario has since given rise to the mandate apparently given to Bobby Scott of Lovelace Institute New Mexico, a contractor for US DOE and DOD, who, a cursory search reveals, has travelled the world in concert with the awarding of DOE research contracts to places such as Pam Sykes, Flinders University South Australia, and other places in an attempt to over ride the mandate to control and clean up contaminated sites. In my opinion the experiments and flood of publications are an attempt to justify the use of DU weapons by magically redining uranium as a safe and beneficial by describing low level radiaiton as a public health benefit.

Alpha is high LET and an internal hazard. I have shown genetic variation produces variations in health effects. The experiments DOE funds and Scott promlugates do not hold.

Happy New Year

One Response to “The Conflicted Responsibilities of Uranium Management and Use”

  1. bbc history of world war ii | history of world war ii | history of world war | nuclear explosion | political gamble | test explosion | atomic attack | world war ii | Hiroshima | History | World Says:

    […] Related Nuclear Bomb Effects Products Additionally on this topic you can read:… […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: