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Officials Unsure If Radioactive Shells Left at Fort Carson

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) ¬タヤ Officials are unsure if there are radioactive shells at Fort Carson left over from small nuclear weapons training in the 1960s. An application was filed by the Army for a Nuclear Regulatory Commission permit to leave uranium buried on the post but no evidence of the shells has been found.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports (http://tinyurl.com/qbyx9qx ) the nuclear-tipped bazookas called the Davy Crockett were never fired in combat, but training rounds using depleted uranium were heavily used at bases ranging from California to North Carolina, including Fort Carson.

Fort Carson says no depleted uranium was found during post inspections, which included use of radiation detectors, but record-keeping was haphazard.

The Army says cleaning up the waste at Fort Carson and other installations is too expensive, so it is asking the federal nuclear watchdog agency for permission to leave the waste where it may have been for 50 years in the soil in Colorado and 11 other states.

Fort Carson radiation safety boss Ben Hutchinson said there is no risk to the public or soldiers.

"You can handle it with your bare hands and it's not going to hurt you," he said.

Some university studies of depleted uranium indicate it can cause health problems, including cancer, birth defects and kidney failure. Some studies have linked depleted uranium ammunition used during the 1991 Persian Gulf War to Gulf War Syndrome and a number of maladies.

A 1961 report on the Davy Crockett program shows that about 7 ounces of depleted uranium were used in each training round. The Army estimates that more than 1,400 of the training rounds could have been fired at Fort Carson, but none have been found.

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Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com

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