UN vows answers on whether Israel used uranium munitions during summer war
Samples from 2 bomb craters in south show high radioactivity
Monday, October 30, 2006
BEIRUT: The United Nations, which has been studying ecological damage in Lebanon caused by Israel’s summer offensive, said Saturday that it would soon be able to say whether uranium-based munitions were used, as reported by a British newspaper. The Independent newspaper said scientists studying samples of soil after Israeli bombing in Lebanon have shown high radiation levels, suggesting that uranium-based munitions were used.
It said samples taken from two bomb craters in Khiam and Al-Tiri have been sent for further analysis to the Harwell laboratory in Oxfordshire, southern England, for mass spectrometry.
“If there is uranium we will find it,” said Boutros Harb, director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) for Asia and the Middle East, based in Bahrain.
The samples thrown up by Israeli bombs showed “elevated radiation signatures,” Chris Busby, the British scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, was quoted as saying.
Britain’s Defense Ministry has confirmed the concentration of uranium isotopes in the samples, the report added.
In his initial report, Busby said there were two possible reasons for the contamination.
“The first is that the weapon was some novel small experimental nuclear fission device or experimental weapon based on the high temperature of a uranium oxidation flash,” it said.
“The second is that the weapon was a bunker-busting conventional uranium penetrator weapon employing enriched uranium rather than depleted uranium,” Busby was quoted as saying.