Robo-Sub Searches For Illegal Nuclear Waste in Mafia Shipwreck

Is the Mafia dumping radioactive waste in the ocean? One robot aims to find out

To scope out a suspected Mafia shipwreck that may hold nuclear material, Italian authorities sent in the robot.

A remote-controlled sub began filming a sunken vessel off Italy’s southern coast over the weekend. That shipwreck may represent just one of 30 ships deliberately sunk in a rather sociopathic act of nuclear waste dumping.

Authorities found the ship after following a lead from a Mafia informant. The turncoat confessed to blowing up at least two other ships on behalf of the Calabrian Mafia, and also said that this particular shipwreck may hold radioactive material.

Italy’s robotic camera first returned images of yellow barrels marked with toxic labels from the shipwreck. Officials plan to test the contents for radioactivity.

Underwater robots have already been exploring shipwrecks for years, and both the U.S. Navy and oil companies seem eager to deploy ever greater fleets of robotic submersibles. But this radioactive scenario may give new meaning to Agent Smith’s maxim, “Never send a human to do a machine’s job.”

[via BBC]