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Millions of dangerous sources of radiation
The IAEA reports that every year the world produces over 10,000 medical devices for radiotherapy and up to 12,000 industrial radiographic sources of radiation. It is indeed surprising that they are not under tough control of some international infrastructure.
Sources of radiation which are stolen, lost, or left behind by careless owners are creating huge problems. In its report on the safety of sources of radiation at its international conference in Vienna in March 2003, the IAEA acknowledged that a hundred countries had no effective control over sources of radiation for lack of relevant infrastructures. The IAEA has officially registered up to 300 cases of illegal trafficking in radionuclides since 1993. This situation is fraught with danger for the world community.
About 30 percent of radioactive sources are used inappropriately even in the most advanced countries, for instance, at 500,000 out of the two million nuclear facilities in the United States. The European Union countries are not doing much better. In the last 15 years, they produced 500,000 radioactive sources, out of which 110,000 are in use today. However, a quarter of these are being used wrongly, and their storage is not properly controlled.