Ottawa, Ontario, December 5, 2011 – The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced the interception and detention of 19 marine containers testing positive for low levels of man made radiation. The CBSA identified the source of the radiation as Cobalt-60. Since early October, marine containers contaminated with Cobalt-60 have been intercepted and detained at both the Port of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.
Cobalt-60 is a man-made radioactive material that has many industrial applications and is commonly used for medical treatments. The first container containing commodities contaminated with Cobalt-60 was identified at the Port of Vancouver on October 3, 2011.
"Our Government continues to work to ensure that Canadians are safe, secure and protected from external threats", said the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety. "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."
CBSA personnel, including its Radiation Safety Officers, work closely with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to ensure containers are intercepted, detained and handled according to Canadian regulations. Working together the two agencies take appropriate safety precautions to maintain the safety of all personnel at the ports. In addition, it is the CNSC that determines the admissibility of these shipments into Canada along with the appropriate handling and transportation requirements.
Radiation detection equipment adds another layer of security at marine ports helping prevent contraband and dangerous goods from entering Canada. The CBSA uses radiation detection portals and carborne units. These tools each have specific functions that complement one another to detect radiation.
By placing radiation detection portals at the earliest point of entry, the CBSA can screen all incoming containers to Canadian ports, helping to enhance the security of marine terminals and protect the health and safety of the public.
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