Italy: Co-60 Source Detected Inside Container Arriving from Saudi Arabia


On 20 July 2010, a high level of radiation was detected on a container in the Voltri Terminal Europa of the Italian port of Genoa. The container loaded with metal scrap was transported from Saudi Arabia via the port of Jeddah to the town of Pozzolo Formigaro in Italy. Experts who arrived at the scene determined the source of radiation to be a high activity Co-60 source in a 20-cm long cylindrical container, which might have been either part of a medical device or a food-sterilizing machine. For over a year, the container remained in the port because Italian authorities could not decide who was responsible for the disposal of the radioactive material. On 18 July 2011, the operation to recover the source began and on 26 July, the source was retrieved and placed in a specially constructed lead container. The recovered source is supposed to be transferred to Germany for recycling.

Abstract Number: 20111022
Headline: Italy: Co-60 Source Detected Inside Container Arriving from Saudi Arabia
Date: 20 July 2010
Bibliography: "Mystery Box: The curious case of cargo container 307703," Wired magazine, December 2011,
Material: Co-60

April 26, 2012

This article is part of a collection examining reported incidents of nuclear or radioactive materials trafficking in or originating from the Newly Independent States.

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2018.