MOSCOW – Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev warned on Friday (19/5/2023) that a radioactive cloud was headed for Western Europe after the destruction of a Ukrainian warehouse holding British-supplied depleted uranium munitions. Sputnik News spoke with Dr Chris Busby, physical chemist and scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, about how the West’s decision to provide depleted uranium (DU) munitions to Ukraine has the potential to cause a continent-wide ecological disaster. Below is the full answer. “Recently, several media outlets showed a video of a huge explosion in the town of Khmelnitski, which is located west of Kiev, and about 200 km from the border with Poland. There were two huge explosions which produced huge rotating fireballs, like an atomic bomb, expands upwards and forms a mushroom cloud, which is black. I have represented veterans of nuclear atmosphere tests at the Royal Courts of Justice in London and have seen many films about nuclear explosions: this was not one of them. Nuclear explosions are characterized by an immediate intense white light that erases camera or detector film.So what was it?Some commentators have suggested the weapons depot that was hit by the attack contained Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons that Britain was shipping to Ukraine for use in Britain’s Challenger tanks as anti-tank penetrators.That the explosion involved one of them burning DU in a fireball. Since I am a scientific authority on Uranium and its health effects, but have also examined its distribution and behavior in the environment, I will comment on what I believe is happening, and why it matters. I was a member of the UK government’s Ministry of Defense Depleted Uranium Oversight Board (DUOB) 2000-2005, as well as the UK Government’s Committee Examining the Risk of Radiation from Internal Transmitters (CERRIE) 2000-2004.I am the Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on the Risks of Radiation (ECRR) which is an independent NGO advising on the risks from ionizing radiation. My main research interest in this area is Uranium and health, particularly DU particles, which are so small that they act as a gas and travel great distances after being generated by the combustion of DU. I found them in England in 2003 after they came from Iraq. I found them in 2023 in England after they had come from the Ukrainian war. So that’s a first: materials are capable of traveling great distances. Therefore, if the Khmelnitsky explosion was a DU explosion, the material would be downwind and should be detectable at the downwind monitor locations. First we need to say DU has a gamma sign, it gives off gamma rays. The UK and US governments are lying about this. They pointed to the fact that U-238, which remained after the fissile U-235 was removed from the centrifuges (and sent for the nuclear weapons and reactors), was a weak alpha emitter. They say alpha radiation cannot penetrate the skin so DU itself is harmless. It cannot be detected by the Geiger Counter and the alpha particles do not make it through the window. Of course there are health problems if post-impact particles are inhaled and enter the body through the lungs to the lymphatic system or directly to the digestive system, but basically DU is not dangerous. What you need to know is that Uranium 238, when it decays with its alpha emissions, turns into Thorium-234 and Protoactinium-234m which then turns into Uranium 234. Thorium 234 is a beta and gamma emitter giving off 6% of its decay energy as gamma rays. Thus, large clouds of DU particulate aerosols will be detectable by the gamma detector.