‘Dangerous’ radioactive material stolen in Mexico truck,says IAEA

Thieves have made off with a truck in Mexico carrying a dangerous radioactive material.

Written by Reuters | Vienna | Published: December 5, 2013 12:52 am

Thieves have made off with a truck in Mexico carrying a dangerous radioactive material used in medical treatments,the United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency,the Vienna-based UN nuclear body,did not give details on how much of the radioactive source,cobalt-60,was in the truck at the time.

Cobalt-60 can potentially also be used to make a so-called “dirty bomb”,where conventional explosives are used to disperse radiation from a radioactive source. But the IAEA made no mention of this in its statement.

The IAEA said it had been informed by Mexican authorities that the truck,which was taking cobalt-60 from a hospital in the northern city of Tijuana to a radioactive waste storage centre,was stolen in Tepojaco near Mexico City on Monday.

“At the time the truck was stolen,the (radioactive) source was properly shielded. However,the source could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding,or if it was damaged,” the IAEA statement said.

The IAEA has offered to assist Mexican authorities,who it said were searching for the material and had alerted the public.

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