Homeland security at its finest


"For a second year, U.S. government screeners have failed to detect a shipment of depleted uranium in a container sent by ABCNEWS from overseas as part of a test of security at American ports.

The ABCNEWS test was criticized by officials at the Department of Homeland Security, who assigned agents in at least four cities to investigate ABC personnel and news sources involved."

Oh, so now they are going to investigate the press for telling us how fucked we are?

Criticizing the US government helps terrorists!

I think the important question here is:

How the fuck did a news organization get their hands on depleted uranium? Let’s look to closing THAT gaping hole in security.

Here you go:

Alfa Aesar; Johnson Matthey Catalog Company; 30 Bond St.; Ward Hill, MA 01835-8099 (the price is $115.00 for 25 g or $4.18 million per ton). They also sell Pt metal for $162.50 per gram or 147 million per ton) in 2" x 0.4" slugs.

Often used in sailboat keels.

Google is your depleted uranium friend!

Yes, the question of course is, will they sell it to anyone, and if not, why did they sell it to ABC News?

They may be a legitimate news organization, but if DU IS a restricted item that can only be sold to licensed manufacturers and whatnot, wouldn’t the company who sold it be in a boatload of shit?

And my knowledge is fuzzy on this sort of thing, but isn’t DU useless in creation of dirty bombs? As far as I was aware, DU’s only use is in things which need extreme density, IE, slugs, armor-piercing rounds, etc.

Cochran said the highly enriched uranium used for nuclear weapons would, with slightly thicker shielding, give off a signature similar to depleted uranium in the screening devices currently being used by homeland security officials at American ports.

Some other sources: Eastern Europe, ex-Soviet republics.

Q. What is depleted uranium?

A. Depleted uranium is what is left over when most of the highly radioactive types (isotopes) of uranium are removed for use as nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons. The depleted uranium used in armor-piercing munitions and in enhanced armor protection for some Abrams tanks is also used in civilian industry, primarily for stabilizers in airplanes and boats.

Also left lying around from tank shells in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan…

Ah, so they’re shipping depleted uranium on the theory that shielded enriched uranium or plutonium would give off a similar signal.

Crystal clear now. Thanks for the clarification.

Tip. Depleted uranium is less radioactive than sand.

Put it in a lead suitcase, and I’d be suprised if anything could detect it.

The best way to detect it would be to look for the suitcase that’s WAAAAAY too heavy. If it’s that dense, it’s got to be something interesting.

That’s what I was getting at with the sarcasm in my previous post.


The uranium, in a steel pipe with a lead lining, was placed in a suitcase for the shipment.

Yeah, well, fill that same pipe up with coal and let me know if anyone detects it.

Jesus christ. This is news?

Huh? Less radioactive than sand taken from ground zero of a nuclear blast, maybe. Where are you getting this bullet point from? It’s hogwash.

If you were to wear a depleted uranium slug around your neck as a pendant, you’d accumulate 1800 rems a year. Exposure of 600 rems has a 50% to 100% fatality rate. The general public is not supposed to absorb more than 1 rem in an entire year.

See http://vzajic.tripod.com/ for some real info. Pay particular attention to the two chapters on Radiological Effects and Chemical Toxicity.

You shouldn’t trust Serbian sites on tripod.com; they’ve been running a “US exterminating Serbians with radiation” campaign of lies for a while.

This news story says its 40% less radioactive than natural uranium, sourced to the Pentagon; can’t find a solid source elsewhere.

You could wear a depleted uranium slug around your neck and never notice it.

Hell, they give out a few grams of non-depleted uranium in kids’ science kits; it’s harmless (if you don’t eat it).

I trust them more than DoD PR flacks. Some DoD PR guy said DU was less radiactive than lead. That’s BS. If you’re counting alpha particles, DU is 65,000x more radiactive than lead.

This news story says its 40% less radioactive than natural uranium, sourced to the Pentagon; can’t find a solid source elsewhere.

Something like that when you’re counting the emission of relatively harmless alpha particles (alpha particles cannot penetrate skin, but can cause damage when ingested or inhaled):

natural Uranium = 0.681 microCuries/kg
depleted Uranium = 0.389 mCi/kg
pure U235 isotype = 2.12 mCi/kg
Lead = 0.000006 mCi/kg

Where are those numbers from? I don’t have an opinion, but google gives me literally nothing but screechy conspiracy pages, so I can’t really say anything of use.

Misinformation, again. DU produces a dose rate of 0.2 rem/hour when it is located in contact with bare skin (source: http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/du/du_sec02.htm#1.%20Radiological%20Properties%20of%20DU)

I think the DU shipping experiment was a valid test.

I cribbed those from the serbian website, but verified them against the specific activity of DU and NU as given by the National Radiological Protection Board

“An activity of one becquerel (Bq) means on average one radioactive decay takes place per second.The specific activity of uranium in DU is about 15 Bq per mg (1 milligram, mg, is 0.001 g) compared with 25.4 Bq per mg for natural uranium. If the activity of the decay products is also included, then the value for specific activity is higher”

so, Serb guy:
DU = 39.3 Bq/mg
NU = 50.4 Bq/mg

NRPB guy:
DU = 15 Bq/mg
NU = 25.4 Bq/mg

So, the NRPB quotes specific activity figures that are about 50% lower, because the Serb guy’s numbers are total activity figures that include the decay products.

At any rate, if someone gives you a 10 lb depleted uranium penetrator as a souvenir, please don’t accept it.

(edit: forgot to close the /quote)

Heh, ok.

Now back to the fuckin’ point: Security hasn’t improved, we could all get blown up any minute and the sky is falling. Any questions?