HL Deb 08 March 2001 vol 623 c45WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What calculations are made within NATO of the implications for the health and well-being of civilian populations whenever depleted uranium is deployed in military action. [HL755]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)

When NATO is engaged in an international armed conflict, it is for individual nations whose forces are asked by NATO military authorities to conduct operations to scutinise the targets concerned to ensure that they are consistent with their obligations under international law. These obligations include the obligation to take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event minimising, civilian casualties and damage to civilian objects. The UK has never used depleted uranium during NATO military operations, but our assessments indicate that the health risks from exposure to DU are minimal.