Affordable Access

Assessing depleted uranium (DU) contamination of soil, plants and earthworms at UK weapons testing sites

Royal Society of Chemistry
Publication Date
  • Qd Chemistry
  • Qh Natural History
  • U Military Science (General)
  • Ecology
  • Geography


Depleted uranium (DU) weapons testing programmes have been conducted at two locations within the UK. An investigation was therefore carried out to assess the extent of any environmental contamination arising from these test programmes using both alpha spectrometry and mass spectrometry techniques. Uranium isotopic signatures indicative of DU contamination were observed in soil, plant and earthworm samples collected in the immediate vicinity of test firing points and targets, but contamination was found to be localised to these areas. The paper demonstrates the superiority of the 235U:238U ratio over the 234U:238U ratio for identifying and quantifying DU contamination in environmental samples and also describes the respective circumstances under which alpha spectrometry or mass spectrometry may be the more appropriate analytical tool.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.