Radioactive element valued at $72 million seized by Turkish anti-smuggling police

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AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

Police in Turkey’s Black Sea region have seized radioactive californium worth $72 million, an element used in nuclear weapons and reactors, authorities said Saturday, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Some 18.1 grams (0.63 ounces) of radioactive californium was seized in a car by anti-smuggling and organized crime police, the province’s governor’s office said in a statement.

According to the statement the seized substance was sent to the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK).

Five suspects are being investigated over the incident, it added.

Californium is a radioactive chemical element first synthesized at what is now the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California in 1950. It is considered highly dangerous.

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