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.
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.
Third, depleted uranium contamination of drinking water was found for time at one of the surveyed sites. The concentrations were very low and
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.
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.
Overall, the findings
were not a
respect to products.
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
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 .