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Okinawa-deployed U.S. helicopters use depleted uranium parts

Akahata has learned that depleted uranium is used in parts of CH-46 Sea Knight transportation helicopters that are deployed to the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City, Okinawa.

This information was found in the Aircraft Radioactivity Material Database located at a website of the 88th ABW Environmental Management of the U.S. Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

According to the database, depleted uranium is used in rotor blades of this type of helicopter as a counterweight.

Akahata made an inquiry at the U.S.M.C. headquarters in Okinawa and the headquarters of U.S. forces in Japan and requested confirmation. The U.S.M.C. headquarters in Okinawa declined to answer saying that various information can be obtained on websites. There has been no reply from the headquarters of U.S. forces in Japan.

When a U.S.M.C. CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter that had taken off from the Futenma Air Station crashed on the campus of Okinawa International University on August 13, 2004, U.S. soldiers wearing protective clothing came in and examined the site with a Geiger counter. This shocked Japanese firefighters and local residents.

The database does not mention use of depleted uranium for the CH-53. Instead, it mentions that radioactive Sr-90 is used in the rotor monitoring system of this type of helicopter.
- Akahata, November 7, 2006

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