Depleted uranium found at Miami-area airport

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Originally published on July 26, 2013

A 55-gallon drum containing depleted uranium was found at an airport in Miami on July 26. The drum was found in an area reserved for dismantling planes at Opa-Locka Executive Airport, 16 kilometres away from downtown Miami.

Aluminum plane parts with depleted uranium 238 were found inside the drum. It was reported that depleted uranium was once a common material used on older model planes as counterbalance weights and to assist in navigation. Officials cordoned off a 150-foot perimeter around the drum as a precaution which was later reduced to five feet after it was declared not to be a risk.

Depleted uranium is usually the byproduct of the production of enriched uranium, commonly used in nuclear weapons and reactors. It has significantly less radiation than natural uranium.

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