A byproduct of the enrichment of uranium, depleted uranium is a low level radioactive substance, which can cause adverse health effects in people when they are exposed to it. Used widely for military purposes and some industrial ones as well, this harmful substance must not only be used with care, but must also be disposed of in keeping with the U.S. government laws and regulations.
Many companies like EnergySolutions.com now have depleted uranium services specialized in the safe and effective processing, recycling and disposal of such hazardous wastes. Here are some useful tidbits of information about depleted uranium that you probably did not know:
- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) manages most of the depleted uranium produced in the country. A necessary byproduct, the substance is essential for military (in the production of munitions) and industrial purposes (like aircraft counterweights, etc.).
- When properly and carefully stored, depleted uranium poses few or no adverse health effects. However, it is still not considered as ideal to be stored for long periods of time. Storing the low-level depleted uranium can be expensive; the economical option is to dispose of or use the stored depleted uranium. The DOE runs R&D programs to identify how depleted uranium can be safely used.
- Depleted uranium causes adverse health effects primarily from internal exposure – i.e. when it enters the human system. Prolonged exposure or exposure to high doses of the substance requires immediate treatment.
- Government organizations, like the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy regulate the safe management of radioactive and potentially harmful substances, like depleted uranium.
Nuclear service companies offer recycling, processing and disposal of depleted uranium. Such depleted uranium services ensure that the environment is protected and preserved, and that the substances are not exposed to people.