[ RadSafe ] container with cobalt 60 source in Genoa - Italy

BRISSON Nicolas nicolas.brisson at irsn.fr
Fri Jan 14 08:50:30 CST 2011

Hi all,


I'm looking for information about a news article published in French journal "Le Monde" on the 10Th of January. 

You'll find a quick translation of the article below.


On 14 July the customs officers of the port of Genoa, Italy, discovered a container that showed an abnormally high radioactivity during 
the  unloading process of a cargo , arriving from Ajman, United Arab Emirates.

The container must contain the copper waste which destination was a reprocessing plant.

Six days later, an expert detected the presence of Cobalt-60 and measured radioactivity of 600 mSv. 

The container was then confined on a pier of the harbour, and placed under the protection of an armour of six containers 
filled with water. 

On 15 January, it will be moved to a concrete bunker built for the occasion, and in February, its contents will be inspected by a robot. 

According to Le Monde, the investigators, who found a shipment of T4 
a month after the one containing cobalt 60, think these shipments are designed  for "dirty bombs" processing. 

Indeed, for investigators, "there is something wrong in this case. In general, wastes tend to follow the opposite path: from 
Europe to Asia or Africa, where they can be quietly buried, or thrown into sea "


The value of "600 mSv" shows that the journalist who wrote the article has no real clue about what he writes, from a scientific point of view. But the fact that they used full containers of water to shield the one containing the cobalt 60 is enough to think that the dose rate near this container is quite huge.

I happened to do measurement on containers with parts contaminated by cobalt 60 but the dose rate was only several µSv/h in contact with the radioactive parts. So I'm really curious about this.


I couldn't find information about this "discovery" in French papers and have only an Italian newspaper article that doesn't say more than this one.


Anyone heard about this story?


Nicolas Brisson


route du Panorama


Tel : +33 1-58-35-87-24

por :  +33 6-08-76-55-32

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