A recent study has revealed that the fallout from the depleted uranium explosion in Ukraine reached England with a rise of approximately 600 ng/cubic meter in uranium levels in the air in southeast England due to particles released from the Khmelnitsky explosion.
On May 19th, an article was written about the Khmelnitsky explosion, analyzing gamma radiation data from detectors positioned to the North West of the attack site. The data indicated heightened radiation levels in areas of Poland near the Ukraine border and extending through Germany. The conclusion drawn suggested the possibility that a warehouse, purportedly storing Uranium weapons supplied by the UK, had been impacted. It was hypothesized that the Uranium exploded, generating a substantial fireball, and the resulting particles from the explosion dispersed with the prevailing wind across Europe at the time.
The article sparked significant debate on the internet, with numerous self-proclaimed fact-checkers and “experts” disputing the conclusions. This illustrates the current state of internet discourse. The article was dismissed as a “Russian Fake” (e.g., fakenews.pl).
However, it’s crucial to note that while Uranium emits weak gamma radiation, the daughter element Thorium-234 can contribute to increased gamma signals. Additionally, natural radioactive gas, radon, can elevate gamma signals during rainfall and low-pressure systems. A Polish laboratory attributed the heightened signal to radon, specifically reporting the presence of the radon daughter Bismuth 214, seemingly dismissing the claim of a Uranium cloud over Poland. Nevertheless, it was pointed out that there were no concurrent low-pressure systems that could explain the abrupt increase in gamma signals, leaving the matter unresolved.
Uranium levels in the air across Europe are generally not systematically monitored. Available data on Uranium in the air is derived from the High Volume Air Samplers (HVAS) at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston, Berkshire. These samplers were established in the early 1990s following a public inquiry into a child leukemia cluster near the site. Legal obligations mandate AWE to regularly measure Uranium, Plutonium, and Tritium at various locations, both near and far from the weapons factory. This data has been previously used to identify Depleted Uranium from the Iraq wars that had dispersed to England.
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In relation to the Khmelnitsky incident, recent Uranium data from AWE was obtained through a Freedom of Information request. The data, presented in an Excel file, was graphically represented using Excel’s functions. Figure 1 illustrates the filter levels for three offsite locations during the period from May 15th to June 15th, coinciding with the explosion. The results confirm an increase in Uranium levels during that timeframe. Data from onsite locations also reflects a similar rise.
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Challenges observed in the scientific peer-review process mirror those in media. Two journals, namely the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and Conflict and Health, either declined to consider or publish the paper on Uranium increases during the Ukraine war, despite the provision of raw data. The paper was subsequently shared on a preprints site where it gained attention.
Figure 1 depicts a rise of approximately 600ng/cubic meter in Uranium levels in the air in South East England due to particles released from the Khmelnitsky explosion. While seemingly inconspicuous, considering the mean size of a Uranium particle is below 1 micron, individual inhalation of about 24 cubic meters a day results in an average lung intake of 0.432mg over a month. This translates into 200 million particles per person in the area and along the plume’s trajectory in the UK. Considering findings in Fallujah, a 2010 study demonstrated a substantial increase in cancer and congenital malformations in babies, indicative of genetic damage, following the use of Uranium weapons in the second 2003 Iraq war.
Subsequent identification of excess Uranium in the mothers of birth defect children using hair samples and mass spectrometry further supports the long-term effects of Uranium exposure. This study, resembling a historic ice core examination, traced the increases back to the 2003 exposures. Research in Iraq underscores the significant genetic and cancer health effects of Uranium particles, potentially a primary cause of cancer in the Hiroshima victims exposed to Uranium particles in the “black rain.”
Figure 1: Four-weekly air filter results for Uranium from offsite samplers at Aldermaston, Tadley, and Reading. The Khmelnitsky Ukraine explosion occurred on May 14th, 2023 (1805-1506). The normal background is 200.