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Radioactive Warfare: Depleted Uranium Weapons, the Environment, and International Law

June 2006

Citation: 36 ELR 10474

Issue: 6

Author: Robert Thompson

Editor's Summary: No one can deny the terrible toll that a nuclear bomb has on humans and our environment. But what about the impacts of weapons containing depleted uranium (DU), a low-level radioactive waste product? A number of countries, including the United States, have used DU munitions during times of war. In this Article, Prof. Robert Thompson discusses the health and environmental impacts of DU munitions. He also examines international laws and guiding principles, including the Hague and Geneva Conventions, which may be helpful in addressing DU contamination. Although more questions than answers remain about the use of DU, Professor Thompson argues that given its inherently dangerous and toxic nature, nations wishing to use DU must first prove that it can be used without harming future generations.

Robert Thompson is an Assistant Professor of Law at the Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando, Florida, where he teaches courses in patent law, intellectual property, contracts, business organizations, and law, science, and medicine. Professor Thompson is a Registered Patent Attorney, chemist, and chemical engineer with over 15 years of laboratory and aerospace experience.

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