Depleted Uranium Penetrators : Hazards and Safety

  • S. S. Rao Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad
  • T. Balakrishna Bhat Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad
Keywords: Kinetic energy, Superior ballistic, Open air firing, Airborne particles, Inhalation, Contaminated environment, Toxicity, Urinary excretion


The depleted uranium (DU) alloy is a state-of-the-art material for kinetic energy penetrators due to its superior ballistic performance. Several countries use DU penetrators in their main battle tanks. There is no gamma radiation hazard to the crew members from stowage of DO rounds. Open air firing can result in environmental contamination and associated hazards due to airborne particles containing essentially U/sub 3/0/sub 8/ and UO/sub 2/. Inhalation of polluted air only through respirators or nose masks and refraining form ingestion of water or food materials from contaminated environment are safety measures for avoiding exposure to uranium and its toxicity. Infusion of sodium bicarbonate helps in urinary excretion of uranium that may have entered the body.

Author Biographies

S. S. Rao, Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad
Dr S.S. Rao, Sci. 'E' is working at Defence Mctallurgic Research Laboratory, IIyderabad from 1992 ant.l his currc;nt intcrcst is in armour malcrials. While working a.t Defence Research & Developtnent Establishment, Gwalior and Defence Research Laboratory, Tezpur, he published about 30papers. His major contribution'had bcen in sllfetr evalulltion IInd analytical aspects. He is
the founder-life member of Society of Toxicology (India).
T. Balakrishna Bhat, Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad
Dr T. Balakrishna Bhat is the Head of Kanchan Armour Development Division at Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad. He receiyed his PhD in Metallurgy from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He is the recipient of several awards, including VASVIK Award. National Metallurgtst Award and NASA Award. He has more than 40 papers and a patent to his credit. Dr Bhat had been a visiting scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, USA, for three years.

How to Cite
Rao, S., & Bhat, T. (2013). Depleted Uranium Penetrators : Hazards and Safety. Defence Science Journal, 47(1), 97-105.