The Turkish police found a substance that is believed to be the extremely rare nuclear chemical Californium during an operation in the northwestern province of Bolu, Sabah daily said on Saturday.
According to Sabah, the police seized in a parked car 18.01 grams of Californium, a rare and dangerous non-natural element which is being used in nuclear warheads and nuclear energy plants.
The police said the substance was sent to Turkey’s Atomic Energy Authority for analysis, while five people were taken into custody for interrogation. The seized Californium has an estimated market value of $72 million, the police said.
This is not the first time Turkey is baffled by the seizure of Californium during a police operation. Last year 1.4 kg of Californium had been found in the Ankara suburb of Pursaklar, with some pointing out that that amount would represent around 4,000 years of global production of the element at present rates.
But the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority later solved the nuclear mystery by confirming that the substance was not radioactive and that it was an organic variant of poly (sodium 4 -styrenesulfonate), a type of resin.