Uranium Released During Canadian Plane Crash
Little-Known Use of DU in Commercial Jets Exposed
The recent crash of a
Boeing 747 in Halifax, Canada, raises a number of
questions about the use of depleted uranium (DU) in
airplanes, public health concerns and the 9-11 attacks.
When a Boeing 747 crashed and burned on takeoff at
Halifax International Airport in Nova Scotia, Canada, on
Oct. 14, an official accident investigator said the
aircraft probably contained radioactive depleted
Bill Fowler, an
investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of
Canada, said the plane was likely equipped with DU as
counterweights in its wings and rudder.
“A 747 may contain as
much as 1,500 kilograms [3,300 lbs.] of the material,”
the Canadian Press reported. It took 60 firefighters and
20 trucks about three hours to control the fire.
Fowler said: “there is
no threat or concern” about DU exposure to those
working on the wreckage.
Marion Fulk, a retired staff scientist from Lawrence
Livermore National Lab, told American Free Press.
Fulk, 83, is currently researching how low-level
ionizing radiation causes cancer, birth defects and a
host of other health problems. Burning depleted uranium
creates a “whole mess of oxides,” Fulk said,
“which is what makes it so wicked biologically.”
In 1988, American
physicist Robert L. Parker wrote that in the worst-case
scenario, the crash of a Boeing 747 could affect the
health of 250,000 people through exposure to uranium
oxide particles. “Extended tests by the Navy and NASA
showed that the temperature of the fireball in a plane
crash can reach 1,200 degrees Celsius. Such temperatures
are high enough to cause very rapid oxidation of
depleted uranium,” he wrote.
“Large pieces of uranium
will oxidize rapidly and will sustain slow combustion
when heated in air to temperatures of about 500 degrees
Celsius,” Paul Lowenstein, technical director and
vice-president of Nuclear Metals Inc., the company that
has supplied DU to Boeing, wrote in a 1993 article.
Now, some researchers are
turning to the large number of sick firefighters and
workers from the World Trade Center site and reports of
elevated radiation levels around the Pentagon after
9-11. They contend that the Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft
involved in the attacks may have also contained depleted
PENTAGON RADIATION LEVELS
Around the Pentagon there
were reports of high radiation levels after 9-11. American
Free Press has documentation that radiation levels
in Alexandria and Leesburg, Va., were much higher than
usual on 9-11 and persisted for at least one week
In Alexandria, seven miles
south of the burning Pentagon, a doctor with years of
experience working with radiation issues found elevated
radiation levels on 9-11 of 35 to 52 counts per minute (cpm)
using a “Radalert 50” Geiger counter.
One week after 9-11, in
Leesburg, 33 miles northwest of the Pentagon, soil
readings taken in a residential neighborhood showed even
higher readings of 75 to 83 cpm.
high,” Cindy Folkers of the Washing ton-based Nuclear
Information and Resource Service (NIRS) told AFP.
Folkers said 7 to 12 cpm is normal background radiation
inside the NIRS building, and that outdoor readings of
between 12 to 20 cpm are normal in Chevy Chase, Md.,
The Radalert 50, Folkers
said, is primarily a gamma ray detector and “detects
only 7 percent of the beta radiation and even less of
the alpha.” This suggests that actual radiation levels
may have been significantly higher than those detected
by the doctor’s Geiger counter.
“The question is,
why?” Folkers said.
If the radiation came from
the explosion and fire at the Pentagon, it most likely
did not come from a Boeing 757, which is the type of
aircraft that allegedly hit the building.
“Boeing has never used
DU on either the 757 or the 767, and we no longer use it
on the 747,” Leslie M. Nichols, product spokesperson
for Boeing’s 767, told AFP. “Sometime ago, we
switched to tungsten, because it is heavier, more
readily available and more cost effective.”
The cost effectiveness
argument is debatable. A waste product of U.S. nuclear
weapons and energy facilities, DU is reportedly provided
by the Department of Energy to national and foreign
armament companies free of charge.
DU is used in a wide
variety of missiles in the U.S. arsenal as an armor
penetrator. It is also used in the bunker-buster bombs
and cruise missiles. Because no photographic evidence of
a Boeing 757 hitting the Pentagon is available to the
public, 9-11 skeptics and independent researchers claim
something else, such as a missile, struck the Pentagon.
A white flash, not unlike
those seen in videos of the planes as they struck the
twin towers, occurs when a DU penetrator hits a target.
Photographs from the
Pentagon reveal that large round holes were punched
through six walls in the three outer rings. The outside
wall is 24 inches thick with a six-inch limestone
exterior, eight inches of brick and 10 inches of steel
reinforced concrete; the other walls are 18 inches
The object that hit the
Pentagon on 9-11 penetrated several feet of reinforced
concrete, leaving holes with diameters between 11 and 16
Bill Bellinger, then head
of the EPA’s Radiation Program for Region III, which
includes Virginia, told AFP that he had received
information of elevated radiation levels and contacted
EPA officials at the Pentagon.
“I was concerned about
that,” Bellinger said. “I didn’t disregard it at
Bellinger told AFP that he
thought the radiation was from DU in the aircraft.
Bellinger, who was based
in Philadelphia, did not personally visit the Pentagon
site and said that EPA personnel at the site had not
reported high levels of radioactivity. However, the EPA
official who Bellinger said had worked at the Pentagon,
Craig Conklin, now at FEMA, told AFP that he had not
been involved at the site, “directly or indirectly.”
Workers and FEMA officials
at the Pentagon were seen wearing special protective
outfits and respirators. FEMA photos show the workers
going through decontamination procedures.
Bellinger told AFP that
the Department of Defense was responsible for on-site
safety procedures at the Pentagon.
In New York, however,
considerably less attention was paid to the health risks
the burning rubble posed to workers at the WTC site. A
recent screening done by Mount Sinai Hospital found that
nearly three-quarters of the 1,138 first responders had
experienced respiratory problems while working at Ground
Zero, and half had respiratory ailments that persisted
for an average of eight months afterward.
“We were dumfounded by
how many people were sick, and how sick they were, and
how sick they still are,” said Robin Herbert,
co-director of the program.
Thomas Cahill, professor
of physics and atmospheric sciences, analyzed the plumes
from a station one mile north of the burning WTC rubble.
“The small particles worried me the most,” Cahill
told AFP, referring to the sub-micron-size particles,
which can pass through the filters of respirators.
Cahill said the high
levels of silicon, vanadium, nickel and sulfuric acid
concerned him. The fine concrete dust, he said, acted
“like Drano” in the lungs of the workers, where it
irritated and burned the wet membranes.
Until Dec. 15, the pile
was so hot, a piece of paper would ignite on contact
with the rubble, Cahill said. “You had the workers
working on top of a huge incinerator in the rush to get
Wall Street going again,” Cahill said. “It was
“Only 30 percent of the
firefighters working at the site in October were wearing
any protection at all,” he said.
A class action lawsuit on
behalf of more than 800 people who suffer health effects
was filed against WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein and
the companies that supervised the cleanup: AMEC, Bovis
Lend Lease, Turner, and Tully Construction.
The suit was filed on
Sept. 10, the last day set by a federal three-year
statute of limitations for lawsuits related to 9-11.
“Under state labor law,
employers have a duty to provide a safe place to
work,” lead attorney David Worby said. “They
violated that duty. Everyone knew what was on the
As many as 100,000 workers
at Ground Zero and hundreds of thousands more people in
the area were exposed to airborne toxins, Worby said.
“If you expose a person
to this amount of lead, cadmium, benzene, asbestos and
glass shards, they are going to be sick,” he said.
“More people could die from this than died on the day
Management, a subsidiary of the British engineering firm
AMEC, renovated Wedge One of the Pentagon before 9-11
and cleaned it up afterward.
AMEC had also renovated
Silverstein’s WTC 7, which collapsed mysteriously on
9-11, and then headed the cleanup of the WTC site
afterward. The AMEC construction firm is currently in
the process of closing all its offices in the United