Californium is considered “highly hazardous and is used in nuclear reactors as well as in gold, silver, and oil mining operations,” writes Daily Sabah.
By World Israel News Staff
Seventy-two million dollars’ worth of radioactive Californium, an element used in nuclear weapons and reactors, has been seized by police in Turkey, according to authorities, as cited by Daily Sabah, a Turkish daily newspaper.
Over 18 grams of the element were found in a car in the northern province of Bolu, reported the pro-government newspaper, citing a statement issued by local authorities which added that five suspects were being questioned.
The “seized substance was sent to the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority,” according to the statement.
“However, a material reported as 1.4 kilograms of Californium seized in a similar bust” in the Turkish capital city of Ankara in March 2018 “had turned out to be an organic substance with no nuclear or radioactive properties,” says Daily Sabah.
Californium is a radioactive chemical element first synthesized in 1950 at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
It is considered “highly hazardous and is used in nuclear reactors as well as in gold, silver, and oil mining operations to determine water or oil layers underground,” Daily Sabah explains, noting that the U.S. and Russia are the only producers of Californium.
The newspaper says that “Turkey is an important route for trade as well as smuggling” because of its location at the “crossroads” of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
“Some items seized in raids, however, often turn out to be fake or professional replicas or their features such as age or authenticity [are] greatly exaggerated or misidentified,” says Daily Sabah.