Depleted 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 uranium.
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.
“That’s baloney,” 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
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
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 uranium counterweights.
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 afterward.
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.
“That’s pretty 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
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
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 thick.
The object that hit the Pentagon on 9-11
penetrated several feet of reinforced concrete, leaving holes with diameters
between 11 and 16 feet.
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
“I was concerned about that,” Bellinger said. “I
didn’t disregard it at all.”
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
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
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 really dumb.
“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 ground.”
As many as 100,000 workers at Ground Zero and hundreds
of thousands more people in the area were exposed to airborne toxins, Worby
“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 of 9-11.”
AMEC Construction 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 States.