From: Associated Press
Published December 13, 2005 12:00 AM

Serbia Removes Depleted Uranium Left Over from NATO Bombing

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro — Serbia's authorities are completing the clean-up of depleted uranium left over from NATO's bombing campaign in 1999, the Environment Ministry said Monday.

More than six years after the alliance used depleted uranium shells in its air war against government troops fighting Kosovo Albanian separatists, the clean-up of the radioactive pollutants has been completed at a major site in southern Serbia, the Environment Ministry said.

Nuclear experts and clean-up teams removed 3,468 cubic (122,457 cubic feet) of contaminated soil from the Borovac site, 280 kilometers (175 miles) south of Belgrade, where 44 depleted uranium shells exploded.

Depleted uranium, a byproduct of radioactive enriched uranium, is used by U.S. and British air forces in armor-piercing weapons. It was heavily used in the Gulf and, to a smaller extent, in the Balkans.

Although less radioactive than enriched uranium, depleted uranium is a heavy metal suspected of causing birth defects and cancer if inhaled or ingested, particularly if it enters the food chain or contaminates water.


Serbia's authorities have previously cleaned up two similar locations in southern Serbia following recommendations by United Nations experts who had analyzed samples of water and soil from the targeted areas.

Two other sites in the area were previously decontaminated, the statement said, adding that one more remains to be cleaned up next year.

Source: Associated Press

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