9 Identical Strontium-90 Radioactive Sources Found in Metal Scrap from Armenia
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
On 6 August 2002, Jewometaal alarmed the Inspectorate, that they had a radiation alarm of their portal detector. Using handheld survey equipment they measured a dose rate at the surface of a 40" container of 8 microSieverts per hour. Two officers of the Inspectorate went to the scrapyard to investigate the container. With a portabale gamma spectrometer they concluded that the radation source in the container was no gamma source but presumably a bèta source. They expected it to be a strontium-90 source. Three days later the container was unloaded by a firm specialised in tracing radioactive sources in scrap, supervised by an officer of the Inspectorate. In the container the firm found 9 identical stainless steel source holders with in each source holder a strontium-90 source. The sources were taken to a radiological facility and examined there. The source holders beared no identification marks. Each source holder weighs approximately 1.4 kgs and measures 12 cm long and 9 cm wide (see figures 1 - 4 in related documents). The doserate at the surface of the source holders varies from 16 to 31 microSieverts per hour. Inside every source holder a source capsule was present. Such a capsule is cylindrical in shape and attached to a 12 mm hexagonal metal piece with a threaded end (see figure 5 in related documents). The capsules bear no identification marks. The activities of the 9 sources vary from 71 to 138 MBq. The scrapload was shipped by Inna Grikis, Yerevan, Armenia. The container was shipped in Poti, Georgia and transported by MS Philipp. The container arrived in Rotterdam by MS Sofia. Since the source holders were all but one found in one metal drum (see figure 6), it seemed that these source holders were put there on purpose.