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Prevention of mail terrorism


Development of Multi-Purpose Technology for Detection of Toxic, Explosive and Radioactive Chemical Compounds and Inactivation of Organisms

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-SPC/Solid Waste Pollution and Control/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Genisaretskaya S V

Leading Institute
Khlopin Radium Institute, Russia, St Petersburg

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Russia, Moscow\nMining and Chemical Complex, Russia, Krasnoyarsk reg., Zheleznogorsk


  • Westinghouse Electric Company UK, UK, Preston\nUniversité Louis Pasteur / Faculte de Chimie, France, Strasbourg\nSEPAREX Supercritical Fluid Technology, France, Champigneulles

Project summary

Extraction by supercritical and liquid CO2 is an intensively developing area of science. The method has proved its efficiency as applied to separation of toxic compounds (for example, polychloroaromatic hydrocarbons) from solid matrices, to disinfection of paper and disposable medical equipment. The advantages of this method are the high treatment rate, minimal secondary waste and high penetrability of carbon dioxide. In 1997-2003 at RPA "Radium Institute", GEOChI RAS and MCC the decontamination technologies were developed and the demonstration setups for decontamination in supercritical and liquid CO2 media were designed.

Thus, the conditions have been established for developing and demonstrating the technology of combined detection and removal of toxic chemical compounds of radionuclides, pathogenic organisms and spores.

At present the elaboration of such technology is also urgent in view of international terrorism threat. Terrorists have already used anthrax spores and explosives in mail correspondence delivery and constantly menace with "dirty" bomb to induce public tensity. The proposed technology will prevent terroristic acts and diminish damage caused by them. So, mail correspondence may be fully treated in whole or in part in supercritical and liquid CO2 media in the presence of disinfectants, complexones and oxidants. Disinfection will be completely conducted, while radionuclides and toxic chemical compounds may be also removed completely or, to shorten treatment time only in part (for analysis). As the vast majority of mail correspondence contain no hazardous enclosures, the treatment process can be ceased, if in the course of analysis no radionuclides, toxic and explosive substances are detected.

The results obtained previously have shown that the carbon dioxide exerts no harmful effect upon visual appearance and mechanical properties of materials like carton, paper and fabrics.

The Project's execution results will be as follows:

· Experimental data will be obtained on some kinetic regularities of extraction processes of organic compounds and their complexes with methylamine in liquid and supercritical carbon dioxide.

· Experimental data will be obtained on penetrability of porous materials for solutions of organic compounds and their complexes with methylamine in supercritical CO2.
· Experimental data on destruction of pathogenic microbes and their spores will be obtained.
· An integrated technology for disinfection and extraction of toxic chemical compounds and radionuclides from solid surfaces will be elaborated and regulations of process for determination and destruction of toxic, explosive and radioactive substances and pathogenic organisms will be established.
· A pilot setup will be created (modernized and mounted) to demonstrate efficiency of the process for combined treatment in CO2.
· Initial data on designing of a commercial facility prototype will be obtained.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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