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Updated: 2004-09-27 10:22
New test will monitor ailing British Gulf veterans for uranium

“海湾战争综合症”困扰英国老兵 新型检查试图破解玄机

New test will monitor ailing British Gulf veterans for uranium

Depleted uranium is used in armour-piercing shells (BBC)

Britain is to test thousands of veterans of the 1991 Gulf War who have suffered a range of unexplained ailments for the possible presence of depleted uranium in their bodies, a report said.

Four clinics will undertake the tests in a attempt to explain so-called Gulf War Syndrome.

Both British and US forces in the conflict used armour-piercing shells tipped with depleted uranium, and veterans' groups have long argued that radioactive dust from the shells could have caused illnesses.

However previous British tests have failed to establish a link, although some of the research has been condemned as unreliable.

Britain's Ministry of Defence is set to announce the establishment of four specialist screening centres where Gulf veterans, as well as soldiers who served in the 1999 Kosovo war, where the uranium shells were also used, can be properly tested.

David Coggan, the scientist overseeing the programme, told reporters that the new tests would be able to detect any amounts of depleted uranium in veterans' urine sufficient to cause ill-health.

The tests would be sufficiently "sensitive and accurate" to uncover even "tiny traces" of uranium, he said.

Around 5,000 British troops have complained of experiencing a range of mysterious maladies after taking part in the Gulf War, in which British troops joined a US-led campaign to liberate Kuwait, invaded the previous August by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Common symptoms -- also reported by many American veterans -- include neurological problems, headaches, depression, weakness, joint and muscle pain, rashes and shortness of breath.

Veterans' groups have slammed the British government's response to the situation as insufficient and demanded a public inquiry.













: no longer sufficient(不足的,贫乏的)

depleted uranium (DU): uranium which has had most of the fissile isotope U-235 and the highly radioactive but rare isotope U-234 removed, and consists of mostly U-238. The U-235 is concentrated into enriched uranium through the process of isotope separation for use in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. The remaining U-238 is 60% as radioactive as natural uranium. It is waste material from this enrichment process. During the Manhattan Project depleted uranium had the codename tuballoy, a term that is still occasionally used. Uranium is mined mainly for its U-235 content, so the excess U-238 can be obtained cheaply and is used for its extremely high density, only slightly less than that of tungsten. (贫铀)

oversee: to watch over and direct; supervise(看管、指导、监督)

neurological: of or relating to or used in or practicing neurology(神经病学的)

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