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After the Fukushima nuclear disaster that took place in Japan in 2011, any imports from there are checked for nuclear radiations using radiation detectors.

I recently ordered components from Digikey but it will be tested for radiations because at the customs they suspect that one of the ICs is made in japan! Since I don't know much about how these radiation detectors work, Can they cause any type of harm to the ICs (Processors, FPGAs, memories, optocouplers, opamps, ...etc) ?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are travellers from Japan are also checked when they enter your country? \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    May 12 '13 at 14:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Andyaka Well, good question xD \$\endgroup\$
    – Abdella
    May 14 '13 at 13:47
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They are looking for gamma radiation which is a result of certain decay chains. So it is a passive detection device, a gamma ray is very energetic photon.

That is what a rational person would use, but a rational person wouldn't be checking for radiation in electronics from Fukushima. Any radiation emission was extremely confined, there were no plants in the areas that possibly could have been exposed (The closest center of semiconductors to that locale is at Tskuba), even if there where production that was exposed they wouldn't be operational. Inputs into semiconductor plants are extremely pure. etc. etc.

Because you're dealing with an irrational actor, there is no possible way that we could know what type of detector they might decide is appropriate. And indeed they may take the shipment apart and ESD everything or they might be using some "special" machine that some charlatan has sold them, which might damage the chips.

It's best you ask them what they are using. It would be nice to know what country this is.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this issue is overrated here in Egypt. Even if there is an infected IC from japan, how did it enter Digikey stock in US without checking it first?! I will ask them about the detector they are using. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Abdella
    May 14 '13 at 13:45
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Radiation detectors are effectively listening devices : if there is radiation from your shipment they will detect it, but otherwise they will not interact with it in any way.

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