Italian authorities are looking for a way of disposing of a container containing radioactive material that has been sitting on the dock at the port of Genoa for more than six months.
According to news reports, the container arrived from Saudi Arabia on July 20, 2010, but later yard workers discovered it was radioactive. One report said the container held radioactive cobalt.
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Italian security officials have approached the problem warily because it is unknown whether or not the container is a terrorist weapon. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., security officials have warned about a “nuke in the box,” a nuclear or radiological weapon delivered through the supply chain.
Officials were considering opening the box by remote-controlled robot, or taking it out of the port by barge. Disposal costs may exceed $1 million.
The container landed about the time Italy joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Megaports program. Under the program, the U.S. supplies foreign ports with radiation detection equipment, but detectors had not been deployed at Genoa.
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