Capstone depleted uranium aerosol biokinetics, concentrations, and doses

Health Phys. 2009 Mar;96(3):328-42. doi: 10.1097/01.HP.0000338296.54391.1c.


One of the principal goals of the Capstone Depleted Uranium (DU) Aerosol Study was to quantify and characterize DU aerosols generated inside armored vehicles by perforation with a DU penetrator. This study consequently produced a database in which the DU aerosol source terms were specified both physically and chemically for a variety of penetrator-impact geometries and conditions. These source terms were used to calculate radiation doses and uranium concentrations for various scenarios as part of the Capstone Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA). This paper describes the scenario-related biokinetics of uranium, and summarizes intakes, chemical concentrations to the organs, and E(50) and HT(50) for organs and tissues based on exposure scenarios for personnel in vehicles at the time of perforation as well as for first responders. For a given exposure scenario (duration time and breathing rates), the range of DU intakes among the target vehicles and shots was not large, about a factor of 10, with the lowest being for a ventilated operational Abrams tank and the highest being for an unventilated Abrams with DU penetrator perforating DU armor. The ranges of committed effective doses were more scenario-dependent than were intakes. For example, the largest range, a factor of 20, was shown for scenario A, a 1 min exposure, whereas, the range was only a factor of two for the first-responder scenario (E). In general, the committed effective doses were found to be in the tens of mSv. The risks ascribed to these doses are discussed separately.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / pharmacokinetics*
  • Air Pollutants, Radioactive / pharmacokinetics*
  • Algorithms
  • Beta Particles
  • Computer Simulation
  • Firearms*
  • Gulf War
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Military Personnel
  • Models, Biological*
  • Motor Vehicles
  • New Mexico
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Radiation Monitoring / methods*
  • Radioactive Waste / analysis
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Uranium / pharmacokinetics*


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants, Radioactive
  • Radioactive Waste
  • Uranium