On the morning of October 28th, the day before our âOccupy Aerojetâ action, I spent a couple hours in the neighborhoods around Aerojet Ordnance, handing out fliers about the storytelling and soil and water sampling we were to do the following day. The varied reactions serve as a portrait of the differing interests and concerns within the Campaign to End Depleted Uranium Munition Production in rural Tennessee.
My first stop was Davy Crockett High School, about a mile from Aerojet Ordnance on State Route 34.
A few months ago Depleted Uranium (DU) was a sinister weapon of war to my ears, albeit intangible and nondescript. Confronting Aerojet Ordnance, a DU weapon manufacturer outside Jonesborough, TN on this CPT Delegation, is serving as an immersion course in DU munitions and the physics and chemistry behind this radioactive waste. The fog is slowly lifting for me.
JONESBOROUGH, TN: Depleted Uranium delegation collects samples to be examined for DU contamination, participates in press conference.October 25th, 2011
Now that I've been here in Jonesborough longer, I'm starting to feel less at a loss for where to start with the issue of DU. Two things in particular have helped that happen. First, on Saturday, our delegation helped Dr. Michael Ketterer of Northern Arizona University collect some more samples for his ongoing work in tracing the level and spread of DU contamination from Aerojet Ordnance. Then on Sunday, we had a press conference in Jonesborough, which connected us with a few people from the local community.
The more I learn about depleted uranium, the more I realize how little we know for certain about its effects on quality of life and health. While we can say for certain that war kills, the details about DU's impact in the whole picture are conflicted and under-researched.