A review of the environmental corrosion, fate and bioavailability of munitions grade depleted uranium

Sci Total Environ. 2010 Nov 1;408(23):5690-700. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.08.028. Epub 2010 Sep 21.


Depleted uranium (DU) is a by-product of nuclear fuel enrichment and is used in antitank penetrators due to its high density, self-sharpening, and pyrophoric properties. Military activities have left a legacy of DU waste in terrestrial and marine environments, and there have been only limited attempts to clean up affected environments. Ten years ago, very little information was available on the dispersion of DU as penetrators hit their targets or the fate of DU penetrators left behind in environmental systems. However, the marked increase in research since then has improved our knowledge of the environmental impact of firing DU and the factors that control the corrosion of DU and its subsequent migration through the environment. In this paper, the literature is reviewed and consolidated to provide a detailed overview of the current understanding of the environmental behaviour of DU and to highlight areas that need further consideration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Corrosion
  • Fungi / metabolism
  • Oligochaeta / metabolism
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Radiation Monitoring*
  • Radioactive Pollutants / analysis*
  • Radioactive Pollutants / chemistry
  • Radioactive Pollutants / metabolism
  • Soil Microbiology
  • Uranium / analysis*
  • Uranium / chemistry
  • Uranium / metabolism
  • Weapons*


  • Radioactive Pollutants
  • Uranium