BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Monday, 8 January, 2001, 14:24 GMT
Uranium row tests Nato
A Portuguese soldier measures radiation in the Kosovo town of Klina
A Portuguese soldier measures radiation in the Kosovo town of Klina
By Defence Correspondent Jonathan Marcus

The row over the use of depleted uranium munitions threatens to open up a significant rift within the Atlantic Alliance.

A number of countries claim that some of their peace-keepers serving in either Kosovo or Bosnia have died because of conditions prompted by exposure to depleted uranium, used in Nato munitions in the Balkans.

The Italian and German governments appear eager to ban the use of the munitions altogether - certainly until they can be proved safe.

Belgrade scientist displays DU bullets
The weaponry at the centre of the controversy
Nato must try to reconcile the very strong concerns of some of its member governments with the equally strong assertion by some of its major military players - notably Britain and the United States - that depleted uranium rounds pose no significant health hazards and that any hazards that do exist are far outweighed by the rounds' usefulness as a tank-killer.

Nato's own role in all of this is hard to determine.

It must act on behalf of all of its member governments and it is likely that it will try to be a sort of clearing house for the exchange of information on depleted uranium and its possible risks.

Britain and the United States are likely to resist strongly any attempt for these weapons to be withdrawn from service as demanded by the Italian and German governments.

There may also be some attempt to coordinate the various screening programmes that different countries are establishing for Balkans veterans.

Other scientific studies are already under way, but there are going to be no rapid answers.

Some careful crisis mangement is needed to avoid this issue exacerbating tensions between the United States and at least some of its European allies.


Key stories

Eyewitness

TALKING POINT

FORUM

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Should Nato's uranium weapons be banned?Nato's uranium weapons
Should they be banned?
See also:

07 Jan 01 | Europe
06 Jan 01 | Science/Nature
22 Mar 00 | Science/Nature
Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes