Database of radiological incidents and related events--Johnston's Archive

Istanbul orphaned sources, 1998-1999

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 15 September 2006

Date: 10 December 1998-8 January 1999

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Type of event: lost radiotherapy sources


Two cobalt-60 radiotherapy sources were stored in a warehouse in Istanbul which transferred ownership. The sources were not recognized for what they were and sold for scrap to purchasers who broke open the shielded containers in a residential area on 10 December. On 13 December, 10 individuals fell ill (including some children) with 6 vomiting. They sought medical treatment, but the cause of the illness was not recognized (they were released from a clinic on 14 December). One source (of 88 curies) had been transferred to a scrapyard on 28 December where it was recovered. On 8 January 1999 two individuals sought treatment at a private hospital. Suspicion of radiation injury was reported to authorities, and within hours recovery efforts began at the scrapyard. The second source was not recovered; records indicate it was a 636 curie source. Estimated doses to those injured were, in rem: 310, 250, 250, 230, 220, 180, 90, 80, 60, and 60. Five individuals exhibited acute radiation injury, and one person had radiation injuries to the skin on fingers of one hand.

Consequences: 10 injuries.


© 2004, 2006 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 15 September 2006.
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