Traces of Uranium Found Near 1980 Ustica Crash Site


While testing for chemicals, Italian experts found traces of thorium-234 and metastable protactinium, elements produced during uranium-238 decay, on the remains of an Itavia DC-9 off the island of Ustica, Italy. The plane crashed under mysterious circumstances on 27 June 1980 en route to Palermo, killing all 81 passengers and crew. According to experts Rosario Nicoletti, Sergio Graziani, and Maria Annunziate, this finding suggests that the plane was carrying uranium in its hold, a conclusion that supports a theory that the aircraft was transporting uranium for eventual secret sale to Libya. Judge Rosario Priore, who ordered the tests, continues to investigate the incident.

Abstract Number:  19970160
Headline:  Traces Of Uranium Found Near 1980 Ustica Crash Site
Date:  1 April 1997
Bibliography:    FBIS-WEU-97-092, 2 April 1997
Orig. Src.:  Ansa (Rome)

April 1, 1997

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 2019.