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08-50661

Bosnia and Herzegovina 2002-2003

10. Finally, depleted uranium was used in Bosnia and Herzegovina during bombings in the mid-1990s, and UNEP undertook an assessment of the impacts in September 2002. The final report, Depleted Uranium in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Post-conflict Environmental Assessment, was released in March 2003.3

11. This report contained four significant findings. First, detailed laboratory analyses of surface soil samples revealed low levels of localized ground contamination. While local ground contamination could be detected up to 200 metres from the impact zone, it was typically detected within a 100-metre radius.

12.

Second, penetrators buried near the ground surface and recovered by UNEP

had decreased in of this finding,

mass by approximately 25 per cent over seven and correlated with penetrators examined in

years. On the basis the earlier UNEP

studies, it was fully oxidized

possible to determine that a depleted uranium penetrator could be to corrosion products, including uranium oxides and carbonates,

within 25 to 35 depleted uranium

years of impact. Following that time from penetrators would be found buried

period, no more metallic in the soil of the Balkans.

13. first

Third, depleted uranium contamination of drinking water was found for time at one of the surveyed sites. The concentrations were very low and

the the

corresponding radiation doses insignificant for any health because the mechanism that governs the contamination of environment is not known in detail, it was recommended that

risk. Nevertheless, water in a given water sampling and

measurements should continue for several years, and that an alternative should be used when depleted uranium was found in drinking water.

water

source

14. Finally, depleted uranium contamination of air was found at two sites, including air and surface contamination inside two buildings at two different sites. Resuspension of depleted uranium particles due to wind or human activities was the most likely cause. The concentrations were very low and resulting radiation doses insignificant. However, precautionary decontamination and clean-up steps were recommended for the buildings on site, as they were being used by the military and civilian population.

15.

Overall, the findings

earlier UNEP

assessment

contamination

were not a

respect to products.

future

potential

of this study were consistent with the findings of the work in the region: the levels of depleted uranium cause for alarm, but some uncertainty remained with groundwater contamination from penetrator corrosion

16.

In

the

work

mentioned

above,

UNEP

maintained

close

cooperation

with

the

International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organization in this field

of work, respecting the specific mandate of each organization.

3 __________________ A v a i l a b l e a t h t t p : / / p o s t c o n f l i c t . u n e p . c h / p u b l i c a t i o n s / B i H _ D U _ r e p o r t . p d f .

A/63/170/Add.1

7

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