“Nuclear” mystery solved in Ankara

The mystery behind the seizure by Turkish police of a substance that had been believed to be the extremely rare nuclear chemical Californium in a poor area of Ankara has been solved after Turkey’s nuclear authority identified it instead as an organic resin, economy-focussed newspaper Dünya said.

Analysts were baffled when pro-government broadcaster NTV announced that 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 confirmed that the substance was not radioactive and that it was an organic variant of poly(sodium 4-styrenesulfonate), a type of resin.

The news may come as a disappointment to Turkish authorities, however: with Californium prices estimated at $27 million a gram, the 1.4 kg haul could have netted them $37.8 billion.


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