On 14th March 2015 Italian border control detected increased radiation levels at an Austrian railcar at the Austrian border station. The railcar transported scrap metal. Austrian radiation experts found a Cs-137 category 4 source with 2.5 GBq activity. The shutter of the source container was partly open. The radiation source was secured and transported to the Central Austrian Waste Management Facility at Seibersdorf.
The owner of the Cs-137 source was identified by the responsible Austrian authority. The source was part of a device for level measurement installed in 1999 at an Austrian mining company. After test operation the device was put out of service and was forgotten. During winter revision work at the mining place in the year 2014 the radiation source was transferred as scrap metal to a scrap metal facility, which shipped it some time later to Italy. During these activities the shutter of the source container has been partly opened.
The sealing of the source itself is intact and therefore no contamination occurred. Due to the relatively low dose rate of the partly unshielded source, there is no evidence that any person has been exposed above the dose limit for the public of 1 mSv/year effective dose.
As a consequence of the event, measures have been taken in order to assure a better control of the responsible authorities over radiation sources and to raise awareness of scrap metal facilities.
The INES level 1 rating is based on the defence in-depth criterion.
Event date: Sat, 14-03-2015