Manuel Antonio Spa, in Costa Rica’s Tico Times blog, reports that on April 27th the government of Costa Rica passed a law prohibiting Uranium Weapons making Costa Rica the second country to pass a national ban. Belgium was the first.
Uranium weapons, often called ‘depleted’ uranium (DU) weapons, are manufactured from radioactive waste materials produced during the nuclear fuel chain and the production of nuclear weapons. They cause widespread and long lasting contamination of the environment. These weapon systems are radiologically and chemically toxic.
DU weapons contaminate land, cause ill-health and cancers among the soldiers using the weapons, the armies they target and civilians, leading to birth defects in children . . .
[M]ilitary uses include defensive armor plating and armor-piercing projectiles. Its density can penetrate just about any armor. During a three week period of conflict in 2003 in Iraq, 1,000 to 2,000 tons of DU munitions were used. Between 300 and 800 tons of DU particles and dust have been scattered over the ground and the water in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. There are around 20 countries that are thought to have DU weapon systems in their arsenals.
Costa Rica’s banning of Uranium Weapons concurs with the anniversary of the First Latin American Conference on Uranium Weapons organized by the San Jose Quaker Peace Center (CAP), the International Depleted Uranium Study Team (IDUST) and the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW). Efforts to ban Uranium Weapons began in Costa Rica at the beginning of 2009.
The country’s peace policies are extended to commerce and manufacturing.
Costa Rica has also passed amendments to Costa Rica’s Free Trade Treaty to prevent companies from producing or selling uranium weapons in Costa Rica’s Free Trade Zone.