Made with nuclear industry waste: Depleted Uranium weapons

13. April 2024 Blog posts, Events and activities

Brussels 21th March 2024 – Counter actions to IAEA first ever summit

More than 400 global groups sign new anti-nuclear declaration

Brussels, 21 March 2024 – An international coalition of climate, environment and peace activists organised a protest demonstration in Brussels near the Nuclear Energy Summit which the Prime Minister of Belgium and the International Atomic Energy Agency were co-hosting. The summit brought political and nuclear industry leaders together and aims to attract public finance to advance the goal, announced by a group of countries at COP28 in Dubai, of tripling global nuclear capacity by 2050.

In the past 30 years, an average of 5 nuclear reactors have been added to global electricity grids each year. According to activist group Don’t Nuke the Climate, tripling nuclear capacity by 2050 would require countries to connect between 24 and 28 new reactors to the grid each year for the next 26 years, a completely unrealistic goal.

The protest intended to expose this goal as nothing more than a fantasy, and will feature representatives from groups like Greenpeace and the European Environmental Bureau, as well as Don’t Nuke the Climate, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and many more.

Activists with costumes were standing near the Atomium in Brussels, holding a banner reading “NUCLEAR FAIRY TALES = CLIMATE CRISIS” in front of an inflatable fairy tale castle. Activists delived short speeches on the many ways in which nuclear power has consistently failed to live up to the hype of its industry and political backers.

ICBUW and the Belgian Coalition Stop Uranium Weapons were also represented.

Ria Verjauw

Ria Verjauw: “The link between DU weapons and the nuclear industry is obvious, because DU weapons are made with nuclear industry waste. For 20 years now the Intern. Coalition to ban DU weapons aims to ban and contribute to the elimination of depleted uranium weapons worldwide. Uranium weapons are not classified as nuclear weapons, but as conventional weapons. They consist mainly of depleted uranium (DU). When tested and used they create a very fine dust (nano-size)  that is radioactive and chemically toxic. Depleted uranium is a waste or by-product of the nuclear industry*. This heavy metal has a half-life of about 4.5 billion years. Uranium munition causes disease and death among civilians for many generations and it contaminated the environment. Large quantities of DU were fired in Iraq and the Balkans. And today these weapons are used again in the Ukraine war. Through food and respiration, the toxic DU dust is absorbed by the body. Many diseases can be linked to their use: damage to the chromosomes, malformations of the unborn children, impaired fertility in men and women, cancer in almost all organs, kidney failure and mental problems. DU bullets that miss their target also corrode very slowly, releasing their toxicity to groundwater and soil, poisoning the environment and humans living in the contaminated areas. The use of DU creates a long-term health threat for civilians and the military alike, obstructs reconstruction through ravaged areas, spreads fear and is difficult and costly to remove. The use of DU ammunition with its consequences is contrary to applicable standards of international humanitarian law, human rights and environmental protection.

Global civil society speak out against nuclear fantasy

More than 400 global organisations have published a joint declaration this week, calling on governments not to waste time and money on nuclear fairy tales and to provide safe renewable energy instead. The organisations include climate and environment organisations, networks of peace activists, as well as youth groups, churches and other civil society representatives.

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