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

alstonchris at netscape.net alstonchris at netscape.net
Fri Jan 14 17:09:23 CST 2011


Out of curiosity, why do you feel that a value like 600 mSv (60,000 mrem or 60 rem, for The Americans) is indicative that the journalist is clueless?  It is a perfectly reasonable figure, if there are teletherapy sources, or the equivalent, in the container.


-----Original Message-----
From: BRISSON Nicolas <nicolas.brisson at irsn.fr>
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) MailingList <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Fri, Jan 14, 2011 9:51 am
Subject: [ RadSafe ] container with cobalt 60 source in Genoa - Italy

Hi all,
I'm looking for information about a news article published in French journal "Le 
onde" 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 
ontainer that showed an abnormally high radioactivity during 
he  unloading process of a cargo , arriving from Ajman, United Arab Emirates.
The container must contain the copper waste which destination was a reprocessing 
Six days later, an expert detected the presence of Cobalt-60 and measured 
adioactivity of 600 mSv. 
The container was then confined on a pier of the harbour, and placed under the 
rotection of an armour of six containers 
illed with water. 
On 15 January, it will be moved to a concrete bunker built for the occasion, and 
n February, its contents will be inspected by a robot. 
According to Le Monde, the investigators, who found a shipment of T4 
 month after the one containing cobalt 60, think these shipments are designed  
or "dirty bombs" processing. 
Indeed, for investigators, "there is something wrong in this case. In general, 
astes tend to follow the opposite path: from 
urope 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 
eal clue about what he writes, from a scientific point of view. But the fact 
hat they used full containers of water to shield the one containing the cobalt 
0 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 
ut the dose rate was only several µSv/h in contact with the radioactive parts. 
o I'm really curious about this.
I couldn't find information about this "discovery" in French papers and have 
nly 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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