Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Radioactive Goods Found at 2 Canadian Ports

The Canada Border Services Agency says it has intercepted more than a dozen marine containers from Asia that have tested positive for low levels of man-made radiation at two Canadian ports over the past two months.

The first container contaminated with Cobalt-60 was identified at the Port of Vancouver on Oct. 3 according to the CBSA. Since then, 19 marine containers contaminated with Cobalt-60 have been intercepted and detained at the Port of Vancouver and Port of Prince Rupert.

“Through the use of radiation detection equipment and the efforts of CBSA officers, the presence of goods contaminated with the radioactive isotope Cobalt-60 were identified and detained,” Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews said in a statement.

Cobalt-60 is a synthetic radioactive isotope used to sterilize medical equipment and also has various uses in laboratories. Cobalt-60 is known to cause cancer in people exposed to it for a lengthy period of time.

Radiation detectors were first installed at the Port of Vancouver by the federal government in 2007, and can scan up to 100 percent of incoming and outgoing containers.
The government increased radiation monitoring at the port in early 2010 over fears that terrorists could try to sneak a nuclear device into the country to detonate during that year’s Winter Olympics.