Analysis of Fired Depleted Uranium Dust: Physical, Chemical and Biological Properties


  1. Mitchel, R.E.J.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Ottawa, Ottawa ONT (CAN);Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, Chalk River ONT (CAN)
We have previously reported chemical and physical analyses of samples of dust resulting from munitions containing depleted uranium (DU) that had been fired and had impacted an armoured target. That analysis indicated that about 23 weight% of the resulting debris was uranium. About 47% of the total mass was particles with diameters <300 ìm, of which about 14% was <10 ìm. The uranium was present in the sample as uranium oxides - mainly U sub 3 0 sub 7 (47%), U sub 3 0 sub 8 (44%) and U0 sub 2 (9%). This report presents biological solubility studies of this material instilled in the lungs or implanted into the muscle of rats. The results are compared to the solubility of natural uranium in rat lungs. Depleted uranium dust contained a rapidly soluble component and a more slowly soluble component. At the lower lung burdens tested (<15 ìg DU/lung) about 12-14% of the uranium appeared in urine within 7 days. At the higher lung burdens tested (~80-200 ìg DU/lung) about 5-6% of the DU appeared in urine within 7 days. In both cases about 50% of that total appeared in urine within the first day. DU implanted in muscle similarly showed that about half of the total excreted within 7 days appeared in the first day. At the lower muscle burdens tested (<15 ìg DU/injection site) about 10-15% was solubilized within 7 days. At muscle burdens >35 ìg DU/ injection site about 2% appeared in urine within 7 days. Lung solubility of natural uranium (NU) followed a pattern similar to DU but with
Rat instillation model
Report Number
DRDC-OTTAWA-CR-2003-086 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Mar 2003
Number of Pages
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