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Physical Constants of Uranium




Trade/Material Name:     DEPLETED URANIUM

Description:                     Metal

Other Designations:        DU, U


A byproduct of the gaseous diffusion enrichment cycle, DU is artificially depleted in the lighter isotopes (233U, 234U and 235U).  This depletion process effectively eliminates nuclear criticality concerns.  Used in research and in applications where its high density and/or high atomic number is advantageous.  Uses as counterweights, radiation shields or collimators, armor piercing munitions, and armor are common.


NOTE:  Depleted Uranium (DU) is regulated by the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), or Agreement State, which should be consulted for specific requirements on all aspects of the production and distribution of this radioactive material.                




Ingredient Name:            CAS Number:    Percent:       Exposure Limits:

Uranium                            7440‑61‑1            ca 100           * OSHA PEL: 0.05 mg/m3, 8‑hr TWA


*ACGIH: 0.2 mg/m3, TLV‑TWA

                                                                                         0.6 mg/m3, Ceiling


                                                                                          Toxicity Data: Not Listed


NRC inhalation DAC: 2E‑11 mCi/ml (occupational), 6E‑14 mCi/ml air (effluent), insoluble. Weekly intake limit: 10 mg soluble uranium (10 CFR 20 Appendix B)


*Defined for both soluble and insoluble natural uranium compounds.




Appearance & Odor:        A silver white, lustrous, heavy, mildly radioactive metal.  Appearance will

                                          change upon exposure to air or water, as oxidation occurs.  Color darkens

                                          through brass, brown, to charcoal gray.  Powders, fines, chips, or turnings

                                          oxidize rapidly yielding a dull or flat dark gray or brown color.  Some alloys

will oxidize more slowly, retaining the silver‑white and then brassy color. No odor found.



                               Boiling point:  3700 ‑ 4200°C                Specific Gravity (H2O=l):       18.95

                  Vapor Density (Air=1):  NA                                                 Vapor Pressure:      NA

                 Water Solubility (%):  Insoluble                                                Melting Point:        1132°C

                          Evaporation Rate:  NA                                          % Volatile By Volume:        NA

Melting point data provided for the pure metal only.




Flash Point (Method):  255 ‑ 320°C in air   Limits: LEL %:  None reported UEL %:  None reported                        

NFPA Fire Hazard Symbol Codes:  Flammability:  1 Health:  1 Reactivity:  0 Special:  --**


** Values determined by manufacturer, not found in NFPA guidebook references.


Extinguishing  Media:  Use dry chemical Class D or carbon dioxide to fight small uranium fires. Flood large fires with water per DOT P.5800.3


Unusual Fire or Explosion Hazards:  Finely divided turnings, shavings, or chips of uranium are more reactive than bulk form.  Freshly prepared powder or fines may react exothermically with air or water and may reach ignition temperature.  Do not disperse powders or fines into a dust cloud, which may be explosive.  Water reactions may generate hydrogen gas, which is flammable.


Special Fire‑Fighting Procedures:  Wear an approved self‑contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) with a full‑face piece operated in the pressure demand or positive‑pressure mode.




Chemical Incompatibilities:  Uranium metal can react dangerously with carbon tetrachloride, chlorine, fluorine, nitric acid, nitric oxide, selenium, sulfur, and water (in finely divided form).


Conditions to Avoid:  Prevent contact with incompatible chemicals.  Do not create dusty work conditions.  Do not expose to oxidizers.


Hazardous Decomposition Products:  Uranium metal fume and/or oxide can be produced during uranium fires.  Radioactive progeny (daughters) thorium‑234, protactinium‑234, and ‑234m (metastable) are produced by natural radioactive decay; they are the source of the majority of the penetrating radiation.  These isotopes can be concentrated in situations where the metal is melted, condensed, or dissolved, potentially elevating the observed external dose rate.


Stability/Polymerization:  Material is stable in closed containers at room temperature under normal storage and handling conditions.  Hazardous polymerization cannot occur.


In the presence of moisture or humidity, uranium metal may react to evolve flammable hydrogen gas.




Summary of Risk: Uranium and its salts are both toxic and radioactive.  Dermatitis, renal damage, acute necrotic arterial lesions, and possibly death may occur from extreme exposure.  Inhalation of fine uranium particles presents increased radiation hazards; isolated uranium particles in the lungs may be a long‑term cancer hazard.  The more soluble uranium compounds are considered most toxic to the kidneys; the lung is the critical organ for insoluble respirable dusts or fines such as oxide powders. Uranium dusts are respiratory irritants, with coughing, shortness of breath as possible outcomes. Prolonged skin contact can cause damage to the basal cells.  Radioactivity is the property of the spontaneous emissions of alpha or beta particles and gamma rays, by the disintegration of the nuclei of the atoms.


Medical Conditions Which May Be Aggravated by Contact:  None reported.


Target Organs:  Respiratory system; skin; eyes; kidneys; liver; blood; lymphatic system; and bone marrow.


Primary Entry Route(s):  In solid forms, ingestion, skin, or eye contact.  Inhalation of dusts or fines.


Acute Effects:  Nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and coughing.


Chronic Effect(s):  Primarily the effects of radiation from insoluble compounds.  Possibilities include pneumoconiosis, pulmonary fibrosis, lymphoma, osteosarcoma, and lung cancer.


Eye Contact:   Flush immediately, including under the eyelids, gently but thoroughly with flooding amounts of running water for at least 15 minutes.

Skin Contact:    Immediately wash with soap and water.  Decontaminate body surfaces following

                        radiation standards (procedures).  Be careful not to abrade skin, in order to avoid

                        systemic uptake.

Inhalation:      Remove exposed person to fresh air and support breathing as needed.

Ingestion:       Never give anything by mouth to someone who is unconscious or convulsing.  Seek professional medical assistance.


GET MEDICAL HELP (INPLANT OR COMMUNITY) FOR ALL EXPOSURES.  Seek prompt medical assistance for further treatment, observation, and support after first aid.  Follow established procedures including radiation monitoring programs.  NOTE TO PHYSICIAN:  Following significant ingestion, gastric lavage, with 2% bicarbonate solution, is recommended.  A 5% bicarbonate solution has been used by some poison control specialists in radiation treatment. Depending on the solubility of the material, follow-­up bioassay (urine) sampling can be used to assess the severity of a potential assimilation.


Carcinogenicity: The NTP, IARC, and OSHA do not specifically list uranium and its compounds as

carcinogens; because of its radioactivity it is considered a carcinogen if inhaled, ingested, or injected. The ACGIH lists uranium and its compounds as an A1 (Confirmed Human) carcinogen.  NIOSH also lists uranium and its compounds as a confirmed carcinogen.




Spill/Leak Procedures:  Accidental leaks or spills of uranium and its compounds must be planned for well in advance of starting any work procedure.  Special radiation procedures are required and professional assistance may be needed.  Notify safety or health physics personnel, evacuate all non‑essential personnel, and provide adequate ventilation.  Clean‑up personnel need protection against contact with and inhalation of dust or oxides.


Waste Management/Disposal:  Follow all applicable federal, state, and/or local regulations governing the disposal of radioactive waste and contaminated materials.


OSHA Designations:

     Listed as Air Contaminant (29 CFR 1910.1000)

EPA Designations:

     RCRA Hazardous Waste (40 CFR 261.33):  Exempted from RCRA regulation as Source Material.

     SARA Extremely Hazardous Substance (40 CFR 355):  Not listed.

     SARA Section 313 Toxic Chemical (40 CFR 372.65):  Not listed.

     Reported in EPA TSCA Inventory:  Yes

Transportation Data (49 CFR 172.101‑2):

     Proper Shipping Name:   Radioactive Material, Low Specific Activity, n.o.s.

     Identification Number:     UN 2912

     DOT Hazard Class:        Radioactive Material, Class 7         UN Register: UN 2912




Personal Protective Equipment:


Goggles:   Wear safety glasses with side shields.  In dusty environments, wear chemical safety goggles and a face shield, per OSHA eye‑ and face‑protection regulations.


Respirator:   For emergency operations, entry into unknown atmospheres, or atmospheres immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH), wear a SCBA with a full‑face piece operated in the pressure demand (positive pressure) mode.  If significant oxide or powder formation has become airborne or the concentrations exceed OSHA, and/or NRC limits, wear a properly fitted NIOSH-approved air‑purifying respirator equipped with HEPA cartridges.  Because each type of respirator has an assigned protection factor, respirator selection should be done by an industrial hygienist, health physicist, or other qualified individual.


Other:    Wear impervious gloves, boots, aprons, etc., as appropriate, to prevent prolonged or

                           repeated skin contact.


Workplace Considerations


Ventilation:       Provide local ventilation as required to maintain exposure below the USNRC DAC (Derived Air Concentration) and OSHA PELs specified in Section 2.


Safety Stations: Where powders, fines, dusts, or fumes of the metal are likely to be present, make emergency eye wash stations, safety/quick‑drench showers, and washing facilities available in the work area.  At a minimum, emergency eyewashes and showers should meet the design and performance requirements of the current ANSI Z358.1 Emergency Eyewash and Shower Standard.




Storage Segregation:   Store uranium in closed containers; prevent access by unauthorized personnel. Depending on quantity stored, containers and area may require special placarding or postings based on RQ and dose rate.  Deliberate breaching of a container seal or gasket to prevent buildup of hydrogen gas, which may evolve from residual oxidation reactions with moisture, can minimize the potential for explosive situations.


Contamination:           Practice good personal hygiene.  Always wash thoroughly after using this material.           Avoid transferring it from your hands to your mouth while eating, drinking, or

                                     smoking. Do not eat, drink, or smoke in work areas.  Do not allow exposure of

                                     personnel with open wounds or cuts.  Use radiation monitoring equipment, if

                                     available, responsive to alpha and beta emissions.


Handling/Storage:       Do not allow moisture contamination of storage facilities or containers.  Moisture contact may complete the oxidation of any residual metal and evolve potentially

                                     explosive concentrations of hydrogen gas.  Follow established federal and state

                                     regulations for the use and storage of radioactive materials.


Prepared By:               IBI Labs

                                     Health & Safety Department

                                     3595 N. Dixie Hwy. Unit # 5

                                     Boca Raton, FL 33431


Revised:                      December 1, 1999


The information provided herein is based on data considered to be accurate at the time the MSDS was prepared.  However, no warranty or representation, express of implied, is made to the accuracy or completeness of the data and safety information provided.  IBI Labs is not responsible for any damage or injury resulting from abnormal use, from any failure to adhere to recommended practices, or from any hazards inherent in the nature of the product.


                                                             End of MSDS PES989007



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