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Turkish Police Seize Radioactive Material, Arrest Four in Ankara

Turkish authorities have detained four men after they were found to have large quantities of a radioactive nuclear element in their car.

The element, known as Californium, was found when a car was searched in the Ankara suburb of Pursaklar on Monday during an anti-smuggling operation.

Police said the four were part of a criminal gang that intended to sell the rare material on the black market for more than $70 million.

The Turkish press reported that the identity of the buyer of the nuclear material remains unclear.

The seized material was taken to the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) for further examination. Neither the agency nor the police have revealed the origin of the highly radioactive material, which is now being safeguarded.

Californium is believed to be produced only in the U.S. and Russia. It is used in nuclear reactors, in portable metal detectors and also in medicine to treat some forms of cancer.